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Thursday, August 11, 2011

What is Technology?

As a 16 year Career and Technical Education teacher define and explaining what Technology is to others has often been frustrating, as most people automatically associate this term as being just computers. I have been involved as member and now sponsor of a CTSO (Career Technology Student Organization), specifically the TSA (Technology Student Association) and this is something that often "bugs" my student officers because they know Technology is a lot more than just computers.

the branch of knowledge that deals with the creation and useof technical means and their interrelation with life, society,and the environment, drawing upon such subjects asindustrial arts, engineering, applied science, and purescience.
the terminology of an art, science, etc.; technicalnomenclature.
a technological process, invention, method, or the like.
the sum of the ways in which social groups providethemselves with the material objects of their civilization

So what does that mean in "layman" terms? Technology is the use of tools and/or materials to solve a problem the society or people need. Is it computers? Yes, but they are just one of the tools you can use to solve your problem, but they are not the only tool you can use.

When it comes to picking the best Technology or Tool for the job you need to know what your problem is. The best analogy I can give you is getting rust off of something metal that you want to hang in your living room as artwork. You have options or different tools that you could use.

1- 100 grit sand paper and elbow grease to sand it off
2- Chemical rust stripper and all the protective equipment to protect yourself
3- Sand blaster and all the protective equipment to protect yourself
4- Wire brush to know off the loss stuff and then clear coat because you like that look

See for different people they would use different tools. I personally would use a sand blaster and then spray paint it with black metallic paint because that's the look I like. Does it mean my way is the only one to go with? No, go with what works the best for you and your situation.

Now how does this apply to Instructional Technology? defines it as:
Design, development, use, management and evaluation of process and resources for learning.
Instructional technology aims to promote the application of validated, practical procedures in the design and delivery of instruction. It is often defined either in terms of media and othertechnology used (e.g. audiovisual media and equipment and computers), or in terms of a systematic process which encompasses instructional design, development, delivery andevaluation.

So again, what does that mean in "layman" terms? It's using the right tools and/or materials to best teach your curriculum. Yes it is often computer based as we are now teaching Generation Y or the "Nexters" and they expect, even demand the use of computers in instruction. Your challenge is to find the right balance of Technology in your classroom. Sometimes its pencil and paper, and then others its creating a 3D model. It should and will change based upon your curriculum or problem for that day.

For those of you struggling with reaching and teaching the Nexters I highly recommend reading Bryan Fiese's "No Teacher Left Behind". He explains it better than I ever could and better yet his techniques WORK! I have seen the change in my fellow CTE teachers who have read and tried these techniques. I plan on sharing more on this at a latter date.

So when you hear the word Technology understand that its not just computers, it is selecting the right tool to get the job done right.