Technology — Many Facets

I found the following reflection on “What Counts as Technology?” on a UK website dedicated to technology education.

What Counts as Technology?

Throughout the twentieth century the uses of the term have increased to the point where it now encompasses a number of “classes” of technology:
1. Technology as Objects: Tools, machines, instruments, weapons, appliances – the physical devices of technical performance
2. Technology as Knowledge: The know-how behind technological innovation
3. Technology as Activities: What people do – their skills, methods, procedures, routines
4. Technology as a Process: Begins with a need and ends with a solution
5. Technology as a Sociotechnical System: The manufacture and use of objects involving people and other objects in combination

John Bilton (2010). Technological Questions & Issues. Retrieved from The UK Technology Education Centre Website:

As I reflect on text technologies and review the thoughts and ideas of my peers, I find it helpful to categorize my perspective through these five lenses.

As objects, we see modern text creation devices and tools that are powerful, portable and highly functional for all ranges of ability and needs.

As knowledge, the technology of text can be stored, recorded, changed, embellished, translated and rendered in more ways than ever before.

As activity, text technology is highly accessible.  Laymen like me can publish our work with ease, finding attentive readers like you without incurring cost or censure of our ideas.  Text technology is generalized to entertainment (online Scrabble), socialization (Facebook), and instant communication over long distances (texting).

As process, text technology finds itself beginning with a need to communicate and ending with the recording or transmission of meaning.

Text technology as a sociotechnical system speaks to the long standing tradition of people melding their ideas and creative products together to form a larger whole.  In ancient times this may have been manifest in scrolls filled with the psalms and inspired words of a number of authors.  In the last few centuries we have seen the combination of many distinct technologies – pen, ink, typewriter, printing press – to create newspapers.  Today we connect through waves and wires to join our collective voices on blogs and on-line discussion forums.

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