Reality bytes: examining the rhetoric of widening educational participation via ICT

Neil Selwyn, Stephen Gorard

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34 Citations (Scopus)


Information and communications technology (ICT) has fast become the rhetorical foundation of the UK government's attempts to transform adult education radically and to establish a 'learning society'. Central to this rhetoric are a series of largely untested assumptions about the potential of ICT to increase and widen levels of educational participation to include those groups of learners who have previously been excluded. With this in mind, the present paper contrasts recent government rhetoric concerning post-compulsory 'e-learning' with an analysis of data from the 2002 National Institute of Adult Continuing Education (NIACE) survey of 5,885 households. With these data suggesting that access to ICT does not, in itself, make people any more likely to participate in education and (re)engage with learning, the paper concludes by considering how ICT might be more realistically re-approached by the educational and political communities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)169-181
Number of pages13
JournalBritish Journal of Educational Technology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2003
Externally publishedYes

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