Technology can be defined in number of different ways. You can find a lot of definitions for technology expressing the same thing in so many different ways. Technology is a scientific knowledge which is used in practical ways in industry. Another definition is, “an application of scientific knowledge to commerce and industry. For many people, technology is the name of thing like computers, mobile phones, television, computer games, play stations, spaceships, advanced military equipments, digital video players and other related machines or items. Perhaps, the science fiction books, movies, news articles, reports and even use of automobiles, computers etc are the major sources from where people get an insight of the term technology.
Technology has always been around the humans, possibly since the Stone Age. We can illustrate this point by taking an example of development of simple tools from wood and stone, similarly discovery of fire to produce heat and light were the first steps to pave the path of technology. As the time passed, the knowledge increased. The history entered the Bronze Age. In this age, man made a progress by making stronger tools from metal such as a wheel was discovered in that age. The Iron Age saw even more development and advancement where the manmade use harder metals instead of think copper or tin. It was in Iron Age when man learned the art of smelting iron and separating it from the ore. Many weapons were made along with other tools, improved transportation system, manufacturing which are the part of technological development of that age.
The cycle keeps on going and we have seen today that a lot of innovative inventions are made by utilizing the knowledge of the past together with new ideas and knowledge.
Different Types of Technology
Technology of Teaching
Technology of teaching deals with the instructional approaches which are designed in a systematic way and are applied in an extremely controlled environment. Instructional approaches usually include well-described, goal-oriented objectives, specific instructional procedures based on the tasks, a good level of teacher role, excessive student involvement, and moderate use of reinforcement and last but not the least careful monitoring of the students’ performance.
There are instructional procedures which represent majority of these principles comprise of the approaches like direct instruction (Carnine, Silbert, & Kameenui, 1990), response prompting (Wolery, Ault, & Doyle, 1992), applied behavior analysis (Alberto & Troutman, 1995; Wolery, Bailey, & Sugai, 1988), and learning strategies (Deshler & Schumaker, 1986). While implementing different technologies of teaching, the priority is not to use any machines and equipment, but they can be used where inevitable.
Instructional technology is a term about which many different opinions exist; however, Commission on Instructional Technology (1970) presented the following definition:
“Instructional technology is a systematic way of designing, carrying out, and evaluating the total process of learning and teaching in terms of specific objectives, based on research in human learning and communication, and employing a combination of human and nonhuman resources to bring about more effective instruction.”
Some of the distinctive applications of instructional technology make use of some classical media like CD-ROM, DVDs, videotapes, hypermedia programs which are capable of controlling the audio and video stored on videodisc, and computer assisted instructions.
Assistive technology is the type of technology that focuses on designing and providing the services and devices to assist the people with any kind of disabilities. The assistive technology makes use of mechanical, electronic, and microprocessor-based equipment and also non-mechanical and non-electrical aids. Assistive technologies also provide some specialized instructional materials, services, and strategies which are used by the disable people for a number of reasons that is: to assist them in learning; to compete in the workplace; improve their independence; to make environment more accessible for them; and improve their quality of life.
Assistive technologies also contain some homemade or commercial devices like those of eyeglasses, alternative computer keyboards, adaptive switches, and communication aids.
Like any other type of technology, medical technology is also making some remarkable advancements and developments in various fields. Surgical procedures are the most apt example medical technological development. But there are several other instances where medical technology is assisting people outside the hospital or other clinical settings. There are so many medical devices which are proving helpful to several sick people in their homes and community centers.
To make our point clear let us take some of the examples of medical technology assisting the people in their routine lives. Artificial limbs, hip and knee inserts are used to make people function properly in their life; cochlear inserts enhances the hearing sense of the people. There are medical devices that are useful in respiratory assistance such as these devices provide oxygen supplementation or even mechanical ventilation. There are other devices like cardiorespiratoiry monitors and pulse oximeters. Some nutritive assistive devices also come under medical technology such as tube feeding. Kidney dialysis machines are also part of medical technology.
Technology Productivity Tools
Technology productivity tools comprise of computer software, hardware and other related components that help people to work more proficiently and productively. For instance, software like database programs are used to store lot of data and can be retrieved easily later; word processing programs allow us to edit text documents; Fax machines enable us to transfer documents; there are some expert system programs which are used for weather forecasting, and video conferencing.
Information technology is one of the most crucial types of technologies that offer an easy access to knowledge and resources on several different topics. The most apt example of information technology is that of the Internet and its World Wide Web component. Another example of information technology is the Educational Resources Information Center (ERIC). People can search and identify several different educational literatures on a specific topic with the help of ERIC system.