What Is Technology?


Technology is broadly defined as the application of scientific knowledge to practical aims such as the development and control of tools, machines and energy. It may also include the creation of new materials, such as plastics and synthetic fibers, or of immaterial objects, such as computers and computer software.

In practice, technology is not a pure product of science or engineering, but rather the outcome of the interplay between these disciplines and other areas such as psychology, sociology, economics, philosophy, and the arts. Thus, both scientists and engineers are considered technologists in the sense that they make use of pre-existing technology to create new tools or machines.

Moreover, the technology they develop often works within certain constraints that must be taken into account. These include the availability of the resources needed to build, operate, and occasionally repair the technology; whether or not it will be affordable for large populations (e.g., a solar power generator is unlikely to be economically viable for most households); and the environmental and ethical implications of its production, distribution, and eventual disposal.

For example, many teachers use the educational technology Prodigy in their classrooms to help students learn. This software adapts to students’ trouble spots and learning speeds, and it is aligned to math curriculum worldwide. It helps teachers save time on lesson planning and allows them to spend more time interacting with students. However, the sheer amount of technologies available to educators can be overwhelming and confusing. Navigating this jungle of new pedagogies and learning theories can be difficult for teachers who are already overburdened and exhausted.