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Guilford County Looks To Restart 1-to-1 Tablet Initiative

Guilford County Schools (GSC) in Greensboro, NC has reached a tentative agreement to restart its middle school tablet initiative next fall.

GSC originally entered a four-year agreement with Amplify, a developer of tablets designed for K-12 education, in May of 2013. The district paid the company nearly $3.2 million to provide Amplify tablets to the district's middle school students, beginning with 18 middle schools in the fall of 2013 and expanding to the six remaining middle schools the following year.

However, in October 2013, the district announced that it was suspending its use of the Amplify tablets because 10 percent of Guilford's 15,000 tablets had broken screens and 2,000 of the Amplify-supplied cases had problems.

Under the terms of this new agreement, "Amplify will provide GCS with new tablets from a different manufacturer, instructional and and classroom management software and consultant time and expertise for 19,240 students, teachers, administrators and parents involved in the program throughout the district's 24 middle schools," according to information released by GCS.

The new agreement also extends the partnership through the 2017-2018 school year to make up for the suspension of the program's first year. The money the district originally paid Amplify will be used to cover the additional year. To assist the district with the relaunch of the 1-to-1 initiative, Amplify will pay the district $856,750 to help cover "staff time, training and other items stemming from the suspension of the program in the 2013-14 school year," according to information from the district. The company will also provide each school with a technology consultant for the first 90 days of their tablet relaunch.

The new contract between GCS and Amplify should be finalized by March 17, and the district will announce which devices will replace the Amplify tablets later that month. GSC will implement the new tablets in a pilot program this spring and provide staff and teacher training this summer before beginning a staggered roll-out this fall.

About the Author

Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at leilameyer@gmail.com.

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