“Technology inevitably involves trade-offs”: The framing of technology in social studies standards

Daniel G. Krutka, Scott Alan Metzger, R. Zackary Seitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We live in an era of rapid technological change. Not only must citizens contend with social problems presented by new and more invasive technologies, but they must also make sense of older technologies that can be viewed as natural to the world. We sought to answer the question, how is technology included and framed in K–12 content social studies standards? Through coding, we identified 984 references where students are expected to learn about technology in the K–12 social studies standards of 10 states. Overall, the standards showed a preference for broad labels and neutral or positive framing, with technology often serving as a vehicle to explain social phenomena or economic growth. Production technologies were most frequent, but there was wide variance in the particular technologies referenced by each state. Even when technology was referenced, it often was not the primary focus of the standard’s content. Standards rarely framed technology with critical perspectives for inquiry into collateral, unintended, and disproportionate effects. We draw on technology criticism to offer a technoskeptical framework that educators and scholars can use to question narratives of technological progress and encourage collateral thinking about the consequences of technologies for human societies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalTheory and Research in Social Education
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Sociology and Political Science


Dive into the research topics of '“Technology inevitably involves trade-offs”: The framing of technology in social studies standards'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this