Everyone recognizes that such things as computers, aircraft, and genetically engineered plants are examples of technology, but for most people, the understanding of technology goes no deeper.
Yet because it shapes nearly every part of our lives, a basic understanding of technology is essential to make sense of today’s changing world.
Put simply, technology is how humans modify the world around them to meet their needs and wants or to solve practical problems. It can range from building protective shelter and growing food to formulating cancer-fighting drugs and constructing a multi-level network. Technology extends human potential by allowing people to do things they could not otherwise do.
Technological activity is purposeful and directed towards specific goals, and sometimes the results are unintended.
The development of a particular technology is influenced by
a variety of factors, including the needs of individuals, groups, and society as a whole, as well as by the level of development of related technological components, devices, and systems.
This chapter describes what students should understand about the nature of technology in order to become technologically literate and adaptable. The three standards contained in Chapter 3 address what technology is, its general core concepts, and the relationships among various technologies and between technology and other areas of human endeavor.