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NC School District Recalls Its Amplify Tablets After 10% Break In Under a Month 177

Posted by Soulskill
from the kids-break-things-film-at-11 dept.
Nate the greatest writes "Guilford County Schools' headline grabbing tablet program is back in the news again. The program came to an abrupt end last Friday when the school district announced that they were recalling all of the Amplify tablets. GCS had leased over 15 thousand of the tablets (at a cost of $200 a year) for its middle school students, but decided to recall the tablets just one month into the school year after some 1500 students reported a broken screen. Around two thousand complained of improperly fitting cases, and there were also 175 reports of malfunctioning power supplies. There's currently no explanation for the cases or power supplies, but GCS has stated that the tablets broke because they lacked a layer of Gorilla Glass. This was listed in the contract, but the school district did not confirm the condition of the tablets before accepting them. This program was the poster child for News Corp.'s entry into the educational market. It was the single largest program to use the Amplify tablet, and its failure represents a serious setback. The Amplify tablet now has a record for poor construction quality and a breakage rate that is 12 times higher than what Squaretrade reported in early 2012 for the iPad 2."
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NC School District Recalls Its Amplify Tablets After 10% Break In Under a Month

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  • Obvious Solution (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 08, 2013 @05:04PM (#45075235)

    Don't give them tablets.

    • by Sponge Bath (413667) on Tuesday October 08, 2013 @05:18PM (#45075395)
      Or give them stone tablets. Upper body strength and moral instruction in one inexpensive package.
      • by DarkOx (621550)

        This is North Carolina, when you say things like they don't you're kidding.

      • by onyxruby (118189)

        This idea has great merit! You will quickly learn to get your punctuation correct, your grammar will become textbook perfect and sloppy math errors will become a thing of the past. The dog will never again eat your homework, you don't have to worry about the computer crashing before you clicked save and it's going to be really hard for someone to copy your answers in class. Brilliant!

    • Re:Obvious Solution (Score:4, Interesting)

      by ackthpt (218170) on Tuesday October 08, 2013 @05:21PM (#45075413) Homepage Journal

      Don't give them tablets.

      Tell me about it. Some of these smartphone screens break at nearly the drop of a hat. Anything you're going to give to kids should be nearly indestructible, perfect testing for anything which could in the future be called Mil Spec.

      • by cusco (717999)

        Congratulations NewsCorp! Your tablets are actually higher quality and less defective than your news product.

      • Re:Obvious Solution (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Greyfox (87712) on Tuesday October 08, 2013 @08:43PM (#45077033) Homepage Journal
        Or at least the drop of a smartphone. Which is odd because pretty much everyone I know but me has cracks in their smartphone screens. I drop mine a couple times a week AND take it skydiving and it remains unbroken. So how the hell are people managing to break their smartphone screens so often?
      • by Darinbob (1142669)

        So, a book then. Sure it can be ruined but the breakage rate is so low in comparison. Even dropping on in a rain puddle leaves it in an ugly but usable state. But that approach won't make tech corporations rich, and it doesn't quiet down the parents who keep shouting "try something new and untested!"

    • *gaaaaaaaaasp*
      Are you trying to say that giving them ipads for 3-4x the price would also result in 15% failing?
      Okay, first of all, Amplify sucks. While I'm at it, AGPTek is pretty bad, iView is a crime against technology, and Kocaso makes me throw me in my mouth just thinking about them. They should have went with a Rockchip-based assembly without lobotamized internals like DDR2 or a crap touchscreen. I finally settled on the Avatar Sirius tablet for my shop at $65 or 80 (v1 and v2 pricing) and use on
  • by themushroom (197365) on Tuesday October 08, 2013 @05:06PM (#45075249) Homepage

    go with the lowest bidder. If you're going to make notebooks for school, make them so they can withstand those things found in schools -- students.

    • by ackthpt (218170) on Tuesday October 08, 2013 @05:23PM (#45075437) Homepage Journal

      go with the lowest bidder. If you're going to make notebooks for school, make them so they can withstand those things found in schools -- students.

      200$ x 3 years doesn't smell a bit like a low bid. I'd go with something clam-shell, to be honest and you can drop from 20 feet and it still works without a cracked screen. Also needs to be waterproof, because kids will be carrying it about in backpacks which are 100% not waterproof.

    • by girlintraining (1395911) on Tuesday October 08, 2013 @05:25PM (#45075457)

      go with the lowest bidder. If you're going to make notebooks for school, make them so they can withstand those things found in schools -- students.

      Umm, these are tablets not notebooks. From my experience with my little sister, teenagers do not treat their electronics very well -- Gorilla glass wouldn't help much. All the glass does is keep the display from being scratched. It won't help if you drop the device, or if it is subjected to tortion stress (twisted). Both of these will deform the case, and in turn the LCD. It doesn't take much to destroy an LCD. Sitting on it. Dropping it onto a hardwood or concrete floor. The list goes on. And teenagers don't just kill the devices through these simple physical forces...

      My sister routinely drags her iPad into the bathroom to listen to music while she takes a shower. I die a little inside thinking of all that humidity corroding the insides. And I can't tell you how many times she's yanked the power adapter out by the cord, or grabbed it, and forgetting it was still plugged in, tore the adapter right out of the wall socket. Without inspecting one of these Amplify tablets, I don't know if this is the case, but with ipads the connector has a spring to hold it in place -- which means the cord and the connector in the device gets bent and mangled after doing this a few times. I've replaced the power adapter for her about 5 times now. She hasn't even had it two years. Her current one is held together with electrical tape and numerous warnings that this will be the last one. She still comes to me every few weeks after it shorts out and dies from the latest careless act.

      But god help you if you tell slashdot this [slashdot.org]. It's a hanging offense to state the obvious around here... :/

      • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 08, 2013 @05:38PM (#45075585)

        Why are you supporting your sister in her bad habits?

        • Why are you supporting your sister in her bad habits?

          Ever lived with a teenager? You pick and choose your battles carefully.

          • by jittles (1613415)

            Why are you supporting your sister in her bad habits?

            Ever lived with a teenager? You pick and choose your battles carefully.

            Just out of curiosity (and its obviously none of my business) but are you raising your sister? Or are you just trying to be a good sibling?

          • by Darinbob (1142669)

            It's easy, you say "if you do what I say then I'll buy you and your friends alcohol later".

      • by lgw (121541)

        My sister routinely drags her iPad into the bathroom to listen to music while she takes a shower. I die a little inside thinking of all that humidity corroding the insides. And I can't tell you how many times she's yanked the power adapter out by the cord, or grabbed it, and forgetting it was still plugged in, tore the adapter right out of the wall socket. Without inspecting one of these Amplify tablets, I don't know if this is the case, but with ipads the connector has a spring to hold it in place -- which means the cord and the connector in the device gets bent and mangled after doing this a few times. I've replaced the power adapter for her about 5 times now. She hasn't even had it two years

        These are all normal use cases for consumer electronics. There's no reason (other than shoddy device manufacturing) that any of that should cause damage. A clock radio would be fine with that sort of handling, and it's reasonable to expect a tablet would be too. The fact that most tablets are so easily damaged by ordinary handling tells us it's not a mature device yet.

        • by rtb61 (674572)
          That is the advantage of the notebook over the tablet, you can armour up the clam shell. In fact in a school environment it makes sense to create a specific up armoured shock absorbing clam shell within which you mount the notebook at least when they still manage to break the notebook you can reuse the armoured shock absorbing clam shell. Now if you say you can do the same with a tablet, er, why screw around you have a lid why not the keyboard. The other message never ever have anything to do with News Cor
      • All the glass does is keep the display from being scratched. It won't help if you drop the device, or if it is subjected to tortion stress (twisted).

        Gorilla glass has higher scratch resistance and toughness (at comparable thickness) than regular glass. It is not indestructible but it will not shatter at the low forces that glass will. But given enough force, yes it will break. Now you can increase the thickness of both Gorilla glass and regular to make it tougher however increasing the thickness is not a good solution for electronic devices.

      • by hey! (33014)

        My sister routinely drags her iPad into the bathroom to listen to music while she takes a shower

        And she puts a piece of masking tape over the camera lens, right?

    • by cusco (717999)

      Amusing as hell to me that they're LEASING these things for a higher price per year as an OLPC would cost to BUY one time. And OLPCs are built to withstand some serious abuse. That's North Carolina, I guess.

  • Er, lolwut? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by girlintraining (1395911) on Tuesday October 08, 2013 @05:07PM (#45075265)

    This is news, how exactly?

    Raise your hand if you know that teenagers tend to break shit. A lot. Move along, nothing to see here.

    • by Gilmoure (18428)

      Daughter, 13, is on her first iPhone. Her last 2 iPod touches still work, though the 2 is getting a bit long in tooth. It just sits in the car dashbored serving up music. Some kids are pretty good about these things.

      Now, about that flip phone I dropped in the dog pen a few winters back, finally found it after spring thaw. Ok, the dogs found it first and had some fun chewing on it.

    • by wjcofkc (964165)
      I am awfully surprised to see this modded troll to the point I feel kind of bad for you. If I had a point I would be giving it too you as insightful instead of commenting. Of course kids break shit. I saw this coming when this was first announced. With the exception of the melting adapters this whole story is redundant because... of course kids break shit. I'm even willing to bet those cases fit before those kids got there hands on them. Torsion anyone? Given the whole year I'll also bet over half of those
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 08, 2013 @05:09PM (#45075289)

    I don't care if they are iPads or Android tablets or whatever. They aren't ready for public schools to waste their money on them.

  • by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Tuesday October 08, 2013 @05:10PM (#45075293)

    They probably shouldn't have incorporated the tablets into the wood shop curriculum - if a student doesn't have a hammer available, he's gonna use the first thing he can lay his hands on.

    Fortunately, back in my day, that just meant occasionally driving nails with a crescent wrench.

  • Contract (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Threni (635302) on Tuesday October 08, 2013 @05:20PM (#45075399)

    "listed in the contract, but the school district did not confirm the condition of the tablets before accepting them"

    But they were listed in the contract. Presumably the school didn't check the CPU either. So what?

    • by plover (150551)

      How is the school supposed to know? If they ordered Li-Po batteries and they tore one open and found the part number on the batteries indicated they were Li-Ion, they'd at least be able to check. But a sheet of glass has no such markings.

      And to your point, that's not their responsibility, either. They ordered X, they received Y, breach of contract. Done.

      • by Threni (635302)

        I don't know who you think you're replying to but it sure as hell isn't me!

        • No need to be so damn insistent that the guy is responding to you. It's obvious given the threaded nature of the discussion!
  • by chill (34294) on Tuesday October 08, 2013 @05:27PM (#45075489) Journal

    Half-a-dozen years ago when my daughter was in high school, the district piloted a "laptop progam" where all the books and assignments were done electronically. They had some deal with Microsoft and Dell with "deals" on MS Office Student and some Dell laptops.

    I threw a fit and insisted we would NOT be purchasing the "required" laptops and would provide one for our daughter. The school relented because I made such a pain of myself.

    Off to E-Bay I went and purchased an older, used Panasonic Toughbook. Not the latest, but ran all the software and rugged enough to stop small caliber weapons fire.

    The breakage rate of those cheap, plastic Dell laptops was horrific. High schoolers casually tossed them on desks or in their locker or bookbags, resulting in over 90% of them getting returned for repair by the end of the year.

    We ended up selling the Toughbook to a student entering the program in the next year. It had held up fine.

    Computers given to students need to be mil-spec ruggedized if you want them to remain usable for any period of time.

    • Off to E-Bay I went and purchased an older, used Panasonic Toughbook. Not the latest, but ran all the software and rugged enough to stop small caliber weapons fire.

      Did you ever put that to the test, or were you just assuming it was that tough?

      • by chill (34294)

        There is an old video ad on some models of Toughbook stopping a .22 and still operating. Our high school wasn't that bad, so I took their word for it. :-)

      • by cusco (717999) <brian.bixby@gmail.STRAWcom minus berry> on Wednesday October 09, 2013 @09:17AM (#45080887)

        Toughbook salesman came to the place I used to work, was told, "No, we don't need your expensive laptops, we have a contract with Compaq already." He asked to borrow one of their bucket trucks, and amazingly they agreed. He went about 20 feet up and tossed the Toughbook out. It bounced around a bit, and started right up when he turned it on. Then he closed it, laid it on the ground and told the bucket truck driver to run over it. He did, and when they opened it up it was still running. They bought a bunch of them. Amazing salesman.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 08, 2013 @05:28PM (#45075499)

    This comes as no surprise to those of us that work for public schools (including me, staying safely anonymous). What is a surprise is the lack of negative news for iPad roll-outs. The latest one in my county was to a tiny public school in the country of 500 students. They were given iPads a week before school started. On opening day there was a dozen broken sent in plastic bags to my office with a 'Pls repair ASAP! Thx' post-it note applied. After a month the pile had risen to 50. We expect to go into Christmas break with over a hundred broken.

    Of course we will not be canceling the program. The way that the Apple contracts are set up with the administration means that the parents have to reimburse the school district $1000 for a totaled device, $400 for a screen, and $100 for anything else. No opt out, as our textbooks are all digital now. It is considered a self-funding project, IT costs included.

    I apologize for the rant. It is just this tablet craze is more of a detriment, nomatter the manufacturer.

    • by mosb1000 (710161)

      I will never understand how people break these things. Surely they realize they can't just throw them around and expect them to continue functioning. Do they just forget they have them in their hand and drop them? If you have this problem, do you also break a lot of bowls and plates and glasses? How do people go through life if they can't keep one of these devices in one piece?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      It should be illegal for a school to do anything like that. Patents shouldn't have to pay for the bad decisions of school boards and administrators. I propose passing a law requiring school boards and administrators to reimburse and pay for any such fees that impact more than x % of students out of there own pockets. x would require some research, but 6% sounds like a good target.

    • by aaarrrgggh (9205)

      And what was a lost or damaged textbook? Back in my youth, IIRC about $35 to replace my 3rd grade Social Studies book about the wonders of the Tasady People [wikipedia.org]. I think it was a couple years later that they realized the Tasady were a hoax. With inflation, that would place a single textbook loss at about $85-100.

      Not being able to opt-out is a bit of a bummer, but I appreciate the challenges of BYOD in K-12.

  • by ideonexus (1257332) on Tuesday October 08, 2013 @05:29PM (#45075501) Homepage Journal

    Unfortunately, this mirrors my own experience [ideonexus.com] when I bought all the kids on my street laptops on the condition that they spend weeks with me learning how to handle and respect them. One year later, every single laptop was inoperable. Of course, every one of these kids owned an iPod touch... with a broken screen, so there were warning signs.

    I think the problem is the portability of these devices. The reason I didn't break my Commodore 64 when I was a kid is because it sat on a desk. If it was portable, I probably would have shattered or lost it at some point too. I don't think we can make these devices rugged enough to survive your average teenager.

    • by lgw (121541)

      I treated my C64 pretty roughly, taking it to parties where absolutely no software copying happened at all, and it was fine. Of course, it wasn't made of glass.

      Making toys for kids out of glass? Does that really sound like a good idea?

    • by AK Marc (707885)
      What, candy wasn't working anymore, so you went with laptops?
    • by hey! (33014)

      It's not just kids. I used to work on mobile software for guys doing various kinds of outdoor field work. I told clients to figure on replacing their PDAs at least every two years. I'd reckon about 20% broke outright each year, and at the end of two years even the ones that weren't actually broken were falling apart from heavy use. These were well-made PDAs in rugged cases that guys could carry in their pockets. I shudder to think what they're doing these days with iPads.

      When you're thinking about adoptin

  • Sad trombone [youtube.com]

  • $600 and they don't even own them.

  • When I was in school, from about 8th grade on, we were always told the schools didn't have enough money to supply even pens and paper. The teachers had to shell out for it, or we had to bring our own. Class sizes grew as teachers were cut. After school activities lacked funding. But now this is the second time in a month I've heard of entire school districts issuing tablets to their students? Where'd this money come from? Why is it being spent on toys? Toys that have their own costs to upkeep and repair, an
    • Re:WTF? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by AK Marc (707885) on Tuesday October 08, 2013 @07:04PM (#45076367)
      Schools don't have money, school districts have money. The per-student in-class spending on students is very low in the US, but the per-student education "costs" in the US are among the highest in the world. We pay administrators, management, testing organizations, textbook deals, and all that at premium prices, but teacher pay and conditions aren't that good.

      So this is logical (even if horribly broken). The district bought them, not the schools, even if they "gave" them to only one school as a pilot. At my school (a public school that has been on the list of the best in the country), the teachers volunteered for most after school activities. Only sports were sponsored. So academic contests were often held under the banner of UIL, the same organization that handles sports in Texas. So the math contests were "sports" on paper. And yes, I got a High School Letter in "sports" because of my participation in math (and other) contests.
  • Why are we giving teenagers tablets in school? Unless were replacing all of their textbooks (were not) this is nothing but a feel good program that is going to waste a bunch of money. I say this as someone that has worked at an educational software company and worked at a very large University.

    Tablets are nothing more than content consumption devices for 99% of the people that have them (the keyboard was the one thing MS got right with the Surface). They tend to have piss poor enterprise support tools and t

  • Accountability (Score:5, Insightful)

    by EMG at MU (1194965) on Tuesday October 08, 2013 @05:36PM (#45075567)
    How much do you want to bet that no one in the school district will be held accountable for the inept management of this program?

    Anecdotally: I did IT for my school district between graduating high school and going to university and I can attest that the administrators were completely clueless about technology. Their job was to sign contracts, so they would go out to lunch/dinner with some sales guy who would promise the sky and then when it failed they would move on to the next vendor who would promise to make all the problems better.

    Examples: Entire classroom logs onto machines (30+), of course roaming profile is turned on so everything has to propagate. 30 machines into one switch, one connection from that switch to some other switch that has one connection to the server. No backbone, no QOS, and it never occurred that they didn't need the stupid roaming profile enabled.
    So of course all the teachers complained everything was slow. The Admins, not understanding networking and what a bottleneck is (except the ones they had at lunch) threw out all the completely functional machines and bought new top of the line shit from Dell. Problem still not solved, so they got some network vendor to come in and check it out. Result: the school installed fiber to EVERYWHERE. Every classroom had fibre run to it so the stupid roaming profile could propagate. Now there was nothing going on in this school that required the hardware and bandwidth that they had, the most computer centric class was keyboarding. (poverty stricken school district is another issue).

    I guess I'm cynical but I hold most school district administrators in contempt. They have no adult supervision, the head IT guy is usually some ex teacher with a information systems cert. You as a vendor, could walk into the room and say "your johnson rod is miscalibrated, it will cost $10,000 to calibrate and all the problems will go away" and they will all say "Yep thats what I suspected, cut this man a check. And they will tell the Superintendent they fixed all the computer problems. No independent oversight, no audit.

    Didn't some school district recently find out it bought tens of thousands of dollars of extra equipment from HP or Cisco because no one in the district could tell a IP switch from a railroad switch?

    I was wrong it was the state goverment [slashdot.org]
  • The Amplify tablet now has a record for poor construction quality and a breakage rate that is 12 times higher than what Squaretrade reported in early 2012 for the iPad 2."

    But what's the failure rate for iPads loaned to (but not owned by) K-12 students?

    I'd imagine that kids are harder on tablets than (most) adults, especially if they are not owned by the kids who know they'll get a new one if theirs breaks -- even more so if they are putting it in and out of a backpack all day long to carry it to classes and back and forth to home.

  • by Tifer (2644417) on Tuesday October 08, 2013 @05:41PM (#45075613)
    Well, a high school student in Guilford County, I thought this program would fail from the very beginning. I go to a private school that issues laptops to students starting in 6th grade (except WE buy them and own them individually, not, say, the state) and continuing through 12th grade. Students at my school break their laptops all the time--screens crack, keys pop out, power cords explode, etc. Most damages are covered by the laptops' warranties. We took classes for a year on properly maintaining electronics and we STILL end up with cases of powderized hard drives every year. It was hard for me to believe that MY state would pay such huge sums of money for thousands of dubiously-effective devices that are known to shatter when dropped. There's no way not to sound like a snob saying this, but I can't see many public school students being particularly careful with these tablets. The students at my school took classes in handling our laptops, paid for them with our own money, and STILL pay out the ass fixing the things every year because so many of them do not respect computers. I haven't read the literature on tablets in education, but I didn't think this was a cost-effective program and I predicted that 50% of the tablets would be MIA or KIA by the end of the first school year. I'm glad I won't get to a chance to prove myself right, but it's a shame that nobody at any point in the process of rolling out these tablets questioned the feasibility of it all.
    • It was hard for me to believe that MY state would pay such huge sums of money for thousands of dubiously-effective devices that are known to shatter when dropped. There's no way not to sound like a snob saying this, but I can't see many public school students being particularly careful with these tablets. The students at my school took classes in handling our laptops, paid for them with our own money, and STILL pay out the ass fixing the things every year because so many of them do not respect computers. I haven't read the literature on tablets in education, but I didn't think this was a cost-effective program and I predicted that 50% of the tablets would be MIA or KIA by the end of the first school year. I'm glad I won't get to a chance to prove myself right, but it's a shame that nobody at any point in the process of rolling out these tablets questioned the feasibility of it all.

      Having worked in a one to one deployment, there's an easy way to deal with this: make the students get their own insurance on the laptops. Damage is paid for, and students get to pay a deductible.

      Sure, eventually the insurance company will figure out they got a bad deal, and students will still break their machines and complain when they're forced to pay a deductible, but students eventually get tired of paying for breakage, and even if they break things it's not on the state's dime.

      After years of doing thi

    • by Zaelath (2588189)

      There's no way not to sound like a snob saying this, but I can't see many public school students being particularly careful with these tablets.

      That's because you are a snob, it's simple really.

      I've seen many public school students that care for everything they're given like Faberge eggs because they don't get much of anything, and I've seen private school kids destroy their own property because it's not the latest thing and their parents won't replace a working unit.

      Neither anecdote is applicable for all people of either class.

    • Why does everyone seem to think that a school spending $200 per student / per year for a piece of equipment is a "bad thing"? I'm not saying there aren't other higher priorities for the school budget, what I'm saying is that if education was funded properly in the first place $200/yr/student would not be seen as a "waste" by a reasonable person. It's only seen as an extravagance because they are given fuck all money for anything else, including well educated teachers!!!!

      Today's internet is a great way to
  • I wonder if this typical for large classroom tablet projects.
  • iPad -- It's mine. I paid for it. If it breaks it's gone or I have to pony up for a new one.

    Amplify Tablet -- Somebody gave it to me. If it breaks, it's their problem and money, not mine.

    Middle School students -- the most careful, cautious and responsible segment of public school students.

    • Bingo. Comparing the breakage rate for tablets that have been handed out to middle schoolers to that for tablets which have been bought by (and presumably used mostly by) adults is meaningless.

      That said, if the contract stipulated that they were supposed to have Gorilla Glass screens and they didn't come so equipped, then that's fraud. If fraud is proven, then hopefully this results in some hefty financial penalties and/or jail time for those responsible.

  • average in-use lifespans:

    consumer grade --- 6 months
    commercial grade - 12 months
    military grade --- forever (nobody is going to haul that brick around!)
    aerospace grade -- until it falls out of orbit

  • The rabbit hole (Score:5, Informative)

    by sdinfoserv (1793266) on Tuesday October 08, 2013 @05:58PM (#45075797) Homepage
    Studies have shown no increase in math and reading scores with the adoption of high technology - use of tables or laptops. The moral of the story being there's no magic bullet to replace old fashion reading, writing and arithmetic. Just because it's sexy, doesn't mean you need to spend the money.
  • We can't just go into Guilford County North Carolina and pluck a picture out of school files. Because all the computers are broken.

  • by Kozar_The_Malignant (738483) on Tuesday October 08, 2013 @06:05PM (#45075863)

    > but GCS has stated that the tablets broke because they lacked a layer of Gorilla Glass. This was listed in the contract, but the school district did not confirm the condition of the tablets before accepting them

    This is a $3,000,000.00 contract and no one thought to check the product specs against the contract specs. Heads need to roll, and certainly would where I work. And, yes I work for a government agency.

    • by AK Marc (707885)
      It was a shrewd business move. They don't pay for the first year because they weren't delivered what was contracted, right? So they got a year use for free.
    • Gorilla glass it not made of adamantium. It will break just as easily when put in the hands of careless students who have no sense of ownership or desire to take care of their new bauble. Even a polymer screen could be wrecked by sufficiently motivated student.

      This is the price of idiots who think that deploying technology is all they need to do to "think of the children".

      • Agree 100% with your disdain for "technology as panacea". However, if these tablets did not meet the specs stipulated in the contract that's still fraud regardless of whether it was a good idea in the first place.
  • A much better way to spend taxpayer's money would be to invest $3M the first year to buy their own tablets at a bulk rate for less than $200 apiece with the remainder going to deployment costs. Then every subsequent year spend $2M to pay for internal support (10 IT people with decent benefits) with an additional $1M set aside to fund replacements for broken and outdated devices.

  • As real as working out on a football or soccer field. The concept, method or data must be conveyed to the learner. The learner must work to remember and apply the knowledge. It. Is. Work. Yeah, there are the very gifted for whom it is very easy. But then high athletic achievement is easy for the elite few.

    What problem is the tablet supposed to solve, I wonder?

    It is important to try and educate the populace. It's good for the society. It's good for the individual. But I get the impression that technolog

  • What was in the tablet offered at $1238.72/yr? [gcsnc.com]
  • Make tablets a part of the curriculum only when they've become as disposable as non-graphical scientific calculators. Then whether you like it or not the kids will be bringing their own tablets to school even if they're as dirt poor as the hobo down the street. I already see hobos armed with feature phones so the day shouldn't be far off. Large scale deployments like this smell too much of graft.

  • Even that can break, but the tablets should come with cases that can prevent the screens being cracked while being carried in satchels, backpacks and dufflebags etc. Or when the student lumps his books and tablet into a pile and carries that pile...
  • $200 a year for 15,000 tablets.....what a deal, thats like 1 penny each per year!
  • by TheSkepticalOptimist (898384) on Wednesday October 09, 2013 @10:30AM (#45081435)

    You get what you pay for.

    Buy some shitty cheap OEM android tablet where 1 in 10 breaks in the hands of children, you got what you paid for.

    The only joke about this is it costs a minimum $600 because of a subscription based pricing structure. So $50 spent on the actual tablet hardware and $550 spent on bullshit.

    Not saying that iPad's are the solution, but you think a company set up to provide devices for the K - 12 age group might have invested a little more heavily in industrial design considering that children are not going to respect a device, especially if its handed to them for free.

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