How to survive an ed-tech crisis

5 reasons one district bounced back from a one-to-one crisis


When North Carolina’s Guilford County Schools had a tablet charger melt inside a student’s home in October 2013, it could have marked the end of the district’s $16 million effort to give every middle school student a digital device.

Instead, district leaders reacted quickly and decisively, suspending the program until they could ensure the safety of every child. They also negotiated for higher-quality devices and other concessions from their tablet supplier, Amplify, and they kept the community informed at every turn.

With these improvements in hand, Guilford County relaunched the program last fall, which is part of an overall $35 million effort to personalize instruction—and so far there have been no major problems. Middle school teachers are redesigning their instruction to create more personalized learning environments for their students, while parents report a high level of satisfaction with the program.

In successfully rebooting its one-to-one computing program after an initial setback, Guilford County has achieved what other districts with high-profile tablet missteps, such as L.A. Unified, have not been able to do.

Here are five reasons why Guilford County was able to rebound so quickly from its ed-tech crisis.

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