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)ne of the largest classroom technology initiatives in US history is underway in the Greensboro area. Starting in Fall 2013, 13,000 students in Guilford County will receive tablets computers when they begin the 6th grade. Last year the county was awarded a federal “Race to the Top” grant for 30 million dollars. Here are WUNC stories on this topic:

Tablet Program Suspended In Greensboro

Math teacher Melissa Tatum is one of 900 educators who has been trained on the tablet computers. She plans to use Brain Pop in her classroom this fall.
Jeff Tiberii

Leaders with Guilford County schools announced today they are suspending a tablet-computer initiative indefinitely.  The surprising news came at a hastily called press conference Friday.  Guilford County was in the process of implementing the largest tablet program in U.S. History. It is funded by a $30 million federal grant. Since the school system started handing out tablets to teachers in June, and students in August, about 10-percent have been cracked or broken.

“A tablet might be between two books in a book bag. And the student pulls it out and its cracked. High rates of those types of cracks concern us,” said Jake Henry, the director of instructional technology for Guilford County.

Broken tablets are sent back to Amplify, the company Guilford is paying to provide the devices and educational content. A spokesman for Amplify said the company is working to answer questions about the glass. Additional problems include broken inputs and an overheard charger that melted. All of the tablets were collected this morning and the program will stop until further notice. School officials also cannot speak to the Department of Education, until the government shutdown ends.   

Jeff Tiberii covers politics for WUNC. Before that, he served as the station's Greensboro Bureau Chief.
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