Technology combines science and engineering with machines, materials, processes, and tools to improve the human environment. It includes tools for making things, communication systems, and even entertainment. It also refers to the knowledge of how to make these tools, and it includes the skills used in using them.
The word “technology” often carries a stigma of being overused and misused, but it is important to understand that it is a broad term with multiple uses. It is possible to split technologies into categories based on the methods of application, problems they solve, and purposes they serve.
Every engineering design is bounded by constraints: physical laws, financial, legal, political, ecological, and ethical. The process of designing a new technological tool or system involves identifying these constraints and finding ways to work within them. Some constraints are absolute; for example, a new electrical generator cannot generate more power than is available at the source. Other constraints are flexible, but still need to be taken into consideration. These might include economics (only so much money can be spent), political (local, state, and national regulations), social (public opposition), and ecological (likely disruption of the natural environment).
Integrating technology in schools provides students with opportunities to practice a variety of skills that will help them in technical working environments. It is also an opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of the importance of technology in our daily lives. Technology should be an empowering learning experience that gives students a voice in their learning.