Literature review

Switching on the possibilities of ICT use in alternative education programs: a literature review

Information literacy Computer networks Digital literacy Information technology Australia New South Wales

Information and communication technology is a tool with the potential to engage young people educationally, civically, politically and socially. Its use among young people is widespread: research undertaken by Young and Well Cooperative Research Centre indicates that almost all young Australians are online, with 90 per cent of 16-25 year olds using the internet daily (Nielson 2010a, p 139). In spite of its pervasive use and its potential to engage young people, research suggests Information and communication technology (ICT) is a resource that currently appears to be underutilised within the youth sector (Metcalf et al 2010, p15). Research into its current and potential use in the alternative education sector is noticeably absent. As national attention focuses on increasing school retention rates, alternative education programs could play a critical and growing role in supporting young people who have disengaged from mainstream schooling. Given that the benefits of ICT are largely unexplored in the alternative education sector, Rosemount Good Shepherd Youth and Family Services (Rosemount) has undertaken a review of literature on this theme. The purpose of our review is to investigate the key issues surrounding young people and ICT in the context of social connectedness, engagement and education. Our review has led to an identification of gaps in knowledge and the development of research questions for further enquiry.

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