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A Positive or Negative Force for Democracy: The Technology Instructional Paradox

International Journal of Social Education Volume 21, Number 1, ISSN 0889-0293


Over the past two decades, the technology "revolution" has evolved to touch nearly every aspect of the people's lives. More than just a convenience, this force has become a necessity throughout business, government, and education. One of the most invasive forces of technology is the way in which it plays a role in the types of instructional constructs, or lessons, that are used in schools, especially in social studies classrooms. The difference in how technology is applied in social studies instruction rests in the choices made while developing the intent, or meaning, of instruction. These intents form the discourse of instruction. Decisions here impact not only instructional operations but also the way in which content is understood and applied. Together they rest on a continuum that begins with little choice, in terms of learning outcomes, and ends with an expansive view of the self and instructional technology applications. This article describes the intents of instruction namely, (1) instruction for conformity; (2) instruction for information; (3) instruction for reason; and (4) instruction and the individual. In preparing today's students for the type of society they will enter, using technology applications to instruct students for conformity, information, reason, and self has a place in the social studies classroom, depending on the content and purposes of the lesson. (Contains 21 notes.)


Diem, R.A. (2006). A Positive or Negative Force for Democracy: The Technology Instructional Paradox. International Journal of Social Education, 21(1), 148-154. Retrieved July 20, 2019 from .

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