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Online inclusive

THIS week's news that children in Essex and Glasgow have enrolled in an online school is a timely reminder of the pace of change fuelled by new technology. Notschool.com promises to revolutionise the education of those excluded from the mainstream (page 10). But technology brings educational problems as well as opportunities. New research shows that children without computers at home are at a significant disadvantage compared to their peers.

Schools have a vital role to play in bridging the gap between the haves and the have-nots. The millions o pounds ministers have invested in hardware will be wasted if teachers don't have the necessary skills.

A few days of training is not enough. Teachers need the chance to play and experiment, and build confidence at their own pace. Yet fewer than a third of teachers currently have a computer at home.

That is why The TES is giving teachers the opportunity to win one of 10 top-of-the-range laptops for themselves and their colleagues (see Online page 22). And that is why ministers must give every teacher the chance to own their own.

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