Guilford sending tablets back [News & Record, Greensboro, N.C.]
(News & Record (Greensboro, NC) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Nov. 02--GREENSBORO -- Guilford County Schools officials have begun shipping thousands of Amplify tablet computers back to the vendor, almost a month after locking the devices away for safety reasons.
It could take two to three weeks, said Nora Carr, the district's chief of staff. Officials are shipping back the tablets from two schools at a time, she said.
The district leased more than 15,000 tablets from Brooklyn-based Amplify, an education technology company.
Amplify is "bearing the burden" of the return shipping costs, said company spokesman Justin Hamilton, but he would not specify the amount.
And there still is no timeline for getting replacements for the devices and accessories, many of which have broken screens or other damage.
Superintendent Maurice "Mo" Green suspended the tablet program on Oct. 4 because of safety concerns, including a report of a partially melted charger. Since then, students have turned in at least nine partially melted chargers.
Students have not yet returned 126 tablets and 1,486 tablet chargers, said Jake Henry, who oversees the district's personalized learning initiative that involves the tablets. Officials said they have remotely disabled the devices.
The district is leasing tablets from Amplify as part of a four-year program funded with $30 million in federal Race to the Top grants. The tablets make up about $16.4 million of the program cost.
Amplify CEO Joel Klein, former chancellor of New York City schools, has offered to pay to replace the entire fleet of tablets.
ASUS, the tablet manufacturer, has an independent investigator trying to determine why the chargers partially melted.
ASUS already had begun some testing on the chargers by Oct. 8, an Amplify executive said in an email obtained by the News & Record through a public records request. At that point, ASUS had not been able to replicate the problem that caused the chargers to overheat, Vanessa McBayne, Amplify's senior director of professional services, wrote in an email to Henry.
The company has asked its other district customers not to use the tablet. It's not yet clear if the company will replace the devices for those users.
Hamilton said the outcome of the charger investigation will give Amplify a better sense of how to proceed.
?Contact Marquita Brown at (336) 373-7002, and follow @mbrownk12 on Twitter.
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