Technology refers to the use of tools and techniques that allow us to manipulate our environment. In the modern world, this includes the invention of such things as robots, computers and televisions.
The word “technology” originated with the Greek words episteme (meaning knowledge) and techne (meaning to do or make). By combining these words with the suffix -logia, it became technology. The meaning of this term varies, depending on the context in which it is used.
Science is the reasoned investigation or study of phenomena, aimed at discovering enduring principles among elements of the phenomenal world by employing formal techniques such as the scientific method. Engineering is the goal-oriented process of designing and making tools and systems to exploit natural phenomena for practical human means, often using results and techniques from science.
Technological development usually progresses through a sequence of step-by-step processes, involving validation and testing of initial ideas. In this way, scientists and engineers gain a better understanding of the underlying processes and can eventually translate these ideas into useful products or services.
It is not uncommon for a promising early technology to stall midway through its development, a phenomenon sometimes called a ‘death valley’.
The use of technology in education is often perceived as an alternative to traditional methods of teaching and learning, but it cannot be argued that it substitutes for them. Instead, it is a powerful tool that can help students personalize their learning and engage more deeply with the material.
Despite the many advantages of technology in classrooms, it is important for educators to be cautious when integrating these technologies into their lessons. Teachers need to keep their focus on the teacher-student relationship and be willing to deliver engaging, student-centered lessons.
To help with this, the following three characteristics are useful for assessing technology: instrumentality, free will and purposiveness.
A piece of technology prioritizes a low-resistance path to achieve an end. It must be a means to an end; it must also inherently be purposive.
A technology can be a product of pure reason, but it may also be a result of social or psychological forces. As with all technological developments, it must be able to satisfy requirements such as utility, usability and safety.
There are various ways to measure the effectiveness of a technology, including its ability to increase productivity, reduce costs and increase safety. One method is to examine the time-to-benefit ratio, which measures how much the technology saves the user in terms of time and effort. The more time and effort users are able to save, the higher their productivity will be.