chapter  2
The digital divide? Children, ICT and social exclusion
Pages 22

In this chapter we begin by thinking about the importance of the changes that are being wrought by the Information Age and identify why many nations of the world are trying to get onto the technology bandwagon. Here we view discourses about leT and social, economic and political inclusion within the framework of pre-existing global inequalities. In the second section we adjust our focus to the national scale of the UK. Here we again explore the contrast between Government rhetoric about the inclusive possibilities of leT and evidence for the existence of a digital divide. We then go on in the third section of this chapter to examine the potential role of schools as a bridge over this divide. Drawing on our empirical evidence we show how the provision of leT in UK schools varies widely, and explore not only the differential levels of hardware and software available to individual schools, but also the diverse ways that leT is made available to pupils both inside and outside of formal lesson times. In doing so, we also reflect on the way that individual schools accept or ignore the UK Government's vision of using technology to address social inequalities. In the final section of this chapter we evaluate what all of this means for our understanding of social exclusion.