The Changing Spaces of Reading and Writing

Defining Technology

The last time I was at UBC it was to complete a degree in Technology Education.  Contrary to what you might expect the technology education that I was studying had very little to do with computers.  Technology Education was (is) the name adopted for the field that used to be called Industrial Education.  I suppose the name was chosen in an attempt to make the area more in line with the times and to broaden its scope.  What it actually did though was force Tech Ed teachers  to be constantly correcting people about what they teach, ‘oh, you teach computing…’  Personally I hate the name.  For this reason the word ‘technology’ has always seemed to me to be a bit vague.  We spent a fair bit of time back then as a class discussing technology and what it means and I don’t think we ever really came up with a completely satisfying definition.  And now I find myself thinking about a definition again and still not really coming up with anything very satisfying.  Before I try to add my definition though let me quote from my ETEC 511 material, where I just read, “Technology – the world generated as artefact, or the activity, knowledge and will to make it so”.  To me that definition is even more wide open than I could have imagined, to now including ‘knowledge and will’ without necessarily any action, (conceptual technology?).  So I would like to throw a simple definition out there and say ‘technology is the means of change’.  Simple, but I don’t think it’s too bad.  I would argue that technology is about change, but unlike other definitions mine doesn’t imply that the changes brought on by technology  is good or bad, it merely changes what was to what is.

As an aside, I don’t know if anyone else experienced this but all the way through that paragraph I kept having the urge to capitalize ‘technology’.

1 comment

1 Maureen Coyne { 09.18.09 at 11:28 am }

Nice to see you again Jim! I like how your definition is unbiased by not addressing the benefits and drawbacks of technology, but just talks about what it is: change.

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