Information and communication technology (ICT) is at the heart of current multibillion dollar policy drives to establish inclusive learning societies – primarily on the basis of the power of new technologies to widen access and participation. This is despite strong criticism over the last forty years of the inequable nature of ICTs in education as well as a recently emerging research literature which suggests that ICTs are having little impact on overall patterns of (non)participation in education. Given the evidence of the past four decades years the received wisdom of ICT as a 'technical fix' for inequalities in educational access could – and should – be strongly challenged on a number of points. In order to frame a more realistic discussion of what roles ICT can and cannot play in adult education this paper briefly discusses four popularly held misconceptions of ICT-based education which urgently need to be addressed if the equitable potential of ICT is to be even partially realised.
The Journal of Access Policy and Practice informs and supports development in access and widening participation. It explores education policy and practice as it affects access to learning and surveys the field, both nationally and internationally. Informed by theory and current research the journal shares ideas and practical solutions to create wider and deeper participation in lifelong learning and offers a space for practitioners and academics to critically reflect and debate different perspectives.