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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:

Tablets Return To Guilford County Schools In August, Students Now Face Fines

More than 2,000 tablets broke and about a dozen chargers partially melted earlier this school year.
Jeff Tiberii

Middle school students in Guilford County will face new punishments for broken tablet computers this fall.

Guilford County Schools rolled out a federally funded tablet program last August. But by October more than 15 percent of the devices had broken and a few chargers melted. The district stopped the program and found a new manufacturer.

After public feedback some new rules are in-place for the re-launch this fall:

  1. The first time a tablet breaks, students lose take-home privileges for a week
  2. The second students lose take-home privileges for two weeks
  3. The third time a tablet breaks a $35 fine will be implemented

"We looked at what would serve as a layer of accountability, also what would be reasonable in terms of what our families could afford. And after a lot of talking about more expensive fees, less expensive fees, no fees at all - that was the number that we just landed on as sort of a happy medium," said Jake Henry, executive director of instructional technology for the district.

Henry says students who aren't allowed to bring the devices home will be given alternative assignments when there is tablet-based homework. The re-launch of the tablet program will take place over the next three months. Henry hopes this will create a layer of accountability. Students who break a table three times will be assessed a thirty five dollar fine. This technology initiative is funded with a federal 30 million dollar "Race To The Top" grant. About 17-thousand middle school student are scheduled to receive tablets this fall.

Jeff Tiberii is the co-host of WUNC's "Due South." Jeff joined WUNC in 2011. During his 20 years in public radio, he was Morning Edition Host at WFDD and WUNC’s Greensboro Bureau Chief and later, the Capitol Bureau Chief. Jeff has covered state and federal politics, produced the radio documentary “Right Turn,” launched a podcast, and was named North Carolina Radio Reporter of the Year four times.
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