Introduction to Technology
Technology means many different things to many different people. During this class we begin by brainstorming possible definitions of technology. After sharing the thoughts that what we have generated, we learn that technology is all about problem-solving and making our lives better. Technology is the use of resources to solve problems that satisfy human needs and wants.
That means that everything that surrounds us that was not created by nature is a result of technology. And, technology can be something as simple as the stapler or as advanced as a laptop computer.
In breaking down the definition of technology, it all starts with resources. There are seven different resources that are used by humans to make technology possible.
The first resource of technology is materials, which is the matter used to make products. There are many different types of materials such as wood, metal, paper, cloth, foam, plastic, and glass.
Materials can be categorized as either recyclable or nonrecyclable materials. Recyclable materials can be reused. They are collected, cleaned, and then processed into new products. Nonrecyclable materials can not be reused and are just thrown away in the trash once we finish using them.
Picture that Mrs. Staab took at a metal recycling center
Typical landfill full of garbage - Nonrecyclables
Materials must then be transformed or altered in order to make technologies. This is done by cutting, sanding, or painting them. Tools and machines are both used to transform materials, but have their differences.
Tools use human energy for power. They are often hand held and may be referred to as "hand tools" sometimes. We use our own energy to do the work. Machines, on the other hand, use an electrical energy source to do the work. Machines range from being simple to sophisticated.
Which are tools and which are machines?
In order to power these tools and machines, we need energy. Energy is the ability to do work. The energy used to power most tools and machines is called electricity. It is a secondary energy source, which means that it comes from other sources of energy. The energy sources used to generate electricity can be categorized as either renewable or nonrenewable.
This chart shows that our energy is used for...
Renewable energy can be replenished and can be used over and over again to generate power. Nonrenewable energy sources can not be replenished. Once they are used, they are gone. Unfortunately, we use far more nonrenewable energy sources than renewable ones.
Technology is created by many different types of people. We need people like researchers, scientists, inventors, designers, engineers, and laborers to make technology possible. They all can assist in either the designing or creating of technology.
The creators of technology must also use information, which leads to the learning, knowledge, and understanding necessary to make successful technologies.
In order to purchase all of the other resources, money is needed. For example, we must buy the materials and tools to make the products. Lastly, in order to make technology possible, we need a period of time to design and create it.
The last part of the definition says that technology will "satisfy human needs and wants." So...what are human needs and wants? A human need is something one must have for survival such as food, water, shelter, and clothing. A human want is something one would like having. Examples of these would be entertainment, communication, and transportation.