Welcome to “Exploring Technology 10”
By definition, this is a course where we are to discover, inquire or investigate in order to learn about, all that is “Technology”. So, what is technology? The Foundation document for Technology Education Curriculum of Atlantic Canada states:
"Technology is human innovation in action that involves the generation of knowledge and process to develop systems that solve problems and extend human capabilities. Technology is how humans modify the world around them to meet their needs and wants or solve practical problems(ITEA,2000)"
Wow! that's a mouth full. What does all that mean. Let's begin by 1st clarifying some misconceptions. All too often in this day and age, people think that technology and computers are synonymous, that they mean the same thing. There is no doubt that computers play an intricate role in today’s tech world, but computers do not intrinsically represent all that is technology. For example: 1998 saw the widest fastest paper machine in the world come on line in Port Hawkesbury, Nova Scotia. This machine produces newsprint. It is called the PM2 paper machine. Like a giant attachment, the supercalender machine at the end of the line uses a special clay to create supercalender paper, glossy magazine type paper. This is indeed was a technological achievement that benefited greatly by the role played by computers in it's design and construction. Today, computers control and monitor much of the operation, but the wood is not poured into a computer, and 35 foot wide paper isn’t streaming out of computers at 35 mph., 24 hours a day. The same can be said of what has resulted to become the longest multi-span bridge in the world that now connects P.E.I. and New Brunswick,the Confederation Bridge. Computers played a major role in assisting in the design and construction of this great accomplishment, but many types of technologies were utilized to erect the piers in such conditions that later permitted them to be link them together by the precast concrete box girders. Technology is indeed more than just computers.
So, “what is technology again?” The Oxford Canadian Dictionary defines technology as: “1 the study or use of the mechanical arts and applied sciences. 2 the application of this to practical tasks in industry. 3 a tool etc.” Eh? Again, this may sound convoluted at first, but really the 3 meanings represent a three stage description of the term from it the broadest sense of the word, quickly narrowing it to a very basic definition.
The following is an attempt to establish the context of which this program views technology starting with the consideration for why technology even exists at all. The rationale or the purpose behind technology systems is to improve our standard of living and improve quality of life. As a result of attempting to improve our quality of life and/or standard of living, Technology is simply anything that makes things easier, faster, safer or more convenient, some might say; much of technology is all about being efficient. Technology comes in many forms. It may be a procedure or a process, or an instrument or device.
Examples of technological interventions:
· Having restaurant staff sign and mark the time on a duty sheet when ever the washroom is cleaned or checked. This is an efficient way to insure the job gets done, after all it is certainly a convenient and easy way for the boss to track who is or isn’t doing their job. It also helps to insure your safety as far as hygiene goes and so on.
· Introducing change gears on bicycles definitely made riding a bike much easier, especially on big hills. They also make it possible to reach much higher cycling speeds on the way down.
Most people identify tools as relating to technology. Many of the same people do not realize that a systematic approach to complete a task is a form of technology as well. A tool is simply an extension of our body or our body's capabilities. When most people think of a tool, screw drivers and hammers are the type of things that come to mind. We often take these technological achievements for granted. We might not think that these were great discoveries or it took much thinking to come up with these ideas, but that is because we might not be looking at things from the right perspective, in the proper context. At the time, these were indeed major interventions. They didn’t happen over night. They certainly contributed to an improvement in the quality of life.
Just think, or imagine that the screw had never been invented, but every thing else since was. Would you feel very safe going into space in the space shuttle if it were held together by wooden pegs or even nailed together? Simple technologies can often open the door to new possibilities and accomplishments. Devices such as screws, nuts and bolts may have been the result of, or may have contributed to, the science relating to simple machines. The answer to which caused which, brings up the age old question: Which came first, the chicken/ technology or the egg/science? Maybe it’s not so important to establish which came first, but it is important to understand that there is a difference. Their relationship is like a marriage. They are two individuals, not only sharing a beneficent relationship with one another, but also share an mutual dependence for one another. They work together as one unit which gives the best results, and after awhile one will certainly have trouble existing with out the other.
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY :
So, what is the difference between science and technology? Science is the study of how and why things work within the world around us, and beyond for that matter. Technology is the application of that knowledge to transform our resources into the goods and services that our societies demand. There is a saying: “ Those who know how will always have a job, those who know why will always be their boss.” I don’t know if that was written by a scientist or not, but the thing to realize that many of the tools used by scientist to do their work are produced by technologists, and the understanding that helped the technologists develop those tools were often the result of scientists work.
Scientists’ work consists of :
Technologists may find
· Developing communication or transportation systems
· Breeding genetic altered foods and animals
· Designing or constructing bridges, tunnels and buildings
· Producing different types of energy sources
· Manufacturing products or processing raw materials
We can see where the work of scientists and technologists intertwine by considering how the new bridge in Margaree, or even the model bridges you made in grade 9, were designed and constructed. It was the understanding of forces, properties of materials and so on that scientists researched and developed that became major considerations and even determining factors which led to the result of these technical achievements. The measuring devices such as microscopes to view the molecules of the materials tested etc., that the scientists used to experiment and prove the materials were suitable for the bridge were produced by tech people. The understanding of light, magnification, materials and so on that permitted the tech people to produce the micro scope, for example came from science, and so on and so on.
Getting back to Technology, itself; it is important
to note that all technology comes at a cost. It is not necessarily weighed in
dollars, it is not even necessarily even realized for some time, but you
can be sure that not all technology will never result without a cost. Take for
example the bus ride to school everyday. It is considered a safe, convenient way to get
to school. However, did you ever think of the pollution the bus makes on it’s way or
the fossil fuels that are used up by the bus. Furthermore, The cost is not just
limited to the environment. A study released the 1st of September 2003, stated
that students traveling on school busses stand an 18% more chance of contracting
cancer later in life due to the inhalation of diesel fumes while traveling on
Another thing to consider is not just a technology as a stand alone, it has to fit the rest of the puzzle pieces of society and culture of which it is meant to fit.
When we consider the costs, at times, it is somewhat
ironic that the rationale or the purpose behind technology systems is to improve our
standard of living and improve quality of life. In modern times the true
purpose to technology becomes somewhat clouded by fact that the fuel driving the engine
behind technology is profit, money. One has to ask them self: Who's standard of
living gets improved when it seems the rich are getting richer and the poor, poorer?
Who decides just what is actual improved quality of life, anyways? We will look at these questions in a later section.
Find a news article that relates to technology. Summarize the article highlighting the connection to the improvement to a standard of living and/or an improvement to quality of life. Also include the costs and if you think the benefits out weigh the costs. Back up your answer.
Note: The article doesn't need to be directly concerning technology. You can make the link to technology, but it has to be realistic. You may use a cut out article or an electronic news article. This site list most of the on line news papers in Canada. ;http://www.thepaperboy.com/canada/
Questions: (to be answered in your own words)
1) What is technology? Give 2 different examples of technology and illustrate how they relate to your definition of technology.
2) What is the difference between science and technology? Using your own example describe a situation that clearly demonstrates how they are indeed married or dependant on one another.3) Do the following crossword puzzle:
Across 2. Act as extensions of our bodies. 6. Anything that makes things easier, faster, safer or convenient. 7. You might say that much of technology is all about being ___________. 8. The negative side of technology. Down 1. PM2 uses a clay filler to produce this paper. 3. The study of how and why things work. 4. What type of multi-span bridge is the Confederation Bridge? 5. Science and technology share this for one another.