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The increasing use and relevance of information and communication technologies is one of the key challenges in education as regards its contents, goals and methods. First, ICT are closely connected to the spatial and temporal flexibilisation of work and the increasing employment relevance of knowledge (see also knowledge society) and are therefore referred to as key competencies that should be central to the curriculum. This extends to the increasing relevance of internet-based services and Web 2.0 tools and schemes in everyday life. Third, in the context of e-learning programmes ICT are expected to broaden access to education by overcoming social, temporal and spatial distances between education and potential learners. Such expectations however are undermined by evidence of a ‘digital divide’ in terms of unequal access and use of ICT along levels of education, income and gender. Third, ICT are referred to as tools of education, not only to provide ICT skills but also to motivate young people for education as ICT are held to be a key asset of youth cultures and online lifestyles. However, it is still an open debate to what extent a shift towards learner-centred approaches and habits of self-directed learning across formal, non-formal and informal contexts which is held to be inextricably connected to ICT – is officially acknowledged and didactically applied in mainstream education. A cross-cutting aspect of ICT is that actors and contents of learning are related differently – suggesting a network approach of learning and education.


Castells, Manuel (2000) The Information Age: Economy, Society and Culture, 3 Volumes. Oxford: WileyBlackwell.

Reich, Robert (1991) The Work of Nations: Preparing Ourselves for 21St-Century Capitalism. New York: Knopf.

(Morena Cuconato, Bohdan Jung, Andreas Walther – 15.12.2009)