Digital divide or digital opportunity? The role of technology in overcoming social exclusion in U.S. education

Neil Selwyn, Stephen Gorard, Sara Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


The use of information technology in education is now a political orthodoxy, seen by many politicians and educators as a ready means of widening participation to those social groups traditionally excluded from learning. However, the role of technology in overcoming social exclusion in education and lifetime learning practices has often failed to be objectively discussed, with a tendency for many educationalists to adopt either overtly optimistic or pessimistic positions. From this background, the present article objectively examines both current patterns of exclusion from education and technology alongside the range of ongoing policies and initiatives established in the United States concerned with technology and education. Moreover, based on a range of North American and European research literature concerned with participation in education, the article then discusses the issues and problems faced by U. S. educationalists and policy makers in proactively using technology as a means of reducing social exclusion in lifelong education.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)258-277
Number of pages20
JournalEducational Policy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes

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