When does it become private education?

From the Guardian

State schools left behind in iPad revolution

http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2011/jan/10/ipad-state-schools-funding-cuts

This carries on neatly from my posts The Apple School and Smile, it’s only a two tier education system. So when does requiring parents to donate money – non-compulsory, and only avoidable for families in poverty – become part privatised education? And just when does a pupil need to learn to use an iPad? And as I posted earlier, isn’t an iPad just a designer gimmick, or is it a genuine educational tool?

I’ve an arts background and was no stranger to having to buy expensive gear for my 6th form and degree education – oil paints, sketchbooks, artboard and the like swiftly add up and I probably bought a high spec Mac several times over.

However this was my own choice, and school education is not. It is compulsory and necessary. And are teachers even properly trained to make full use of this technology in the classroom – and by that I mean using it intuitively, to bring something to lessons that was truly impossibly before? In many cases I doubt it, especially when my library has been requested to again lead courses in using Google properly for pupil research.

If teachers and pupils have not mastered a tool (in an educational and professional sense, not a ‘let’s find the nearest MOT centre’ sense) that has been around for as long as Google has, then how can schools tell parents that an iPad will suddenly revolutionise their child’s education and keep a straight face?

I’m no luddite. Technology has a place in education – a big place and an important place, but the larger the picture gets, the more important perspective becomes.