Technology is a term that is name-checked throughout our society, but one that is often misunderstood. Some equate it with gadgetry, while others think hazily of all the things that make the present different from the past.
But technology goes beyond the devices we use and the systems we rely on to accomplish work and play in the world around us. It also encompasses the process of applying knowledge creatively to organised tasks involving people and machines in order to meet sustainable goals.
Moreover, it includes methods of building structures and systems that are required to maintain human comfort and promote environmental sustainability. Such construction techniques are known as civil engineering, and include the design of bridges; canals and inland waterways; dams; harbours and sea works; roads and highways; railways; tunnels and underground excavations; and airways, including aeroplanes.
Educational technology involves the use of tools such as tablets, laptops and virtual classrooms to help students build essential 21st century skills. The effective use of technology tools in the classroom can increase student engagement, improve collaboration between teachers and students, and support differentiated learning.
Time efficiency is another important benefit of technology. From ordering products online and having them delivered at our doorsteps to booking a vacation on a travel app to meeting friends for coffee without driving, technology can speed up most tasks.
The broader concept of technology was articulated in the early 1900s by German engineers and industrialists who began to refer to their work as ‘Technik.’ But it was not until after the Second World War that historians delved into this idea and analyzed how it relates to science, the present, and the future.