Together, our technology team at Santa Cruz County Office of Education is reading and discussing Technology Challenged, by Miguel Aznar. The first thing I want to do is call your attention to the absence of a hyphen in that title. This is not a book about those of us who feel inept at or cowed by technology. Perhaps we’ll read that one next. Rather, it is about adopting a critical perspective and thinking (yes, thinking) about technology. It’s not about becoming technologically competent, but technologically literate. Borrowing from the subtitle, it’s about “understanding our creations” and “choosing our future.”
Well, that’s what it seems to be about anyway. We’ve only read the first two chapters. But we have already had an animated discussion of what technology is. While we all agree it’s not simply computers, projectors, and networks, we have no consensus on the best definition of technology. Author Aznar prefers “tools that extend our abilities” over “applied science.” A little googling (hmmm, should that be capitalized?) yields many more definitions. For example:
- Tools such as calculator, computer, or personal data assistant (PDA) used to help represent/solve a problem. Number Nut
- A body of knowledge used to create tools, develop skills, and extract or collect materials; the application of science (the combination of the scientific method and material) to meet an objective or solve a problem. National Institutes of Health
- Mechanisms for distributing messages, including postal systems, radio and television broadcasting companies, telephone, satellite and computer networks. The World Bank
- The science of the application of knowledge to practical purposes. Webster’s Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged
How would you define technology? Share your thoughts in the TICAL Forum!