"Technology is a wonderful, amazing, always-changing bags of tricks that help the human being to live healthier, happier and more fulfilling lives" (Richard, 2007)
Photo: Baloo (2010)
Technology: A Beginner's View - At the beginning of this module my definition of technology was limited to the computer that I am using to type this discussion or the other devices that provide convenience or comfort in my daily life. Truthfully I never took the time to consider where we started and how far we've come since humans inhabited the Earth.
Once I started looking around I was amazed at how broad the definition of technology can be. The video below provides a good summary of what we learned in this module. I included it here because it is an introduction for beginner's (like me) and is great starting point to open up the discussion.
Video: Ferron, G. (2014).
Technology: more than just an I Phone?
Friedel (2012) said that "anyone who has faced the problem of what to tell a student or a fellow historian who asks, "what is technology?" appreciates that there is no simple or widely accepted answer to this question, and we seem to manage just fine without one". It's true, we don't need just one definition but it is important to consider the scope of such an important word. This week that's what we have all endeavoured to do.
As I started trying to complete this task I began to notice that everything I use on a daily basis is the direct result of someone who had an idea and developed the technology to turn it into a creation. The easiest definition to understand is the concept of technology in the form of hardware (Dyer, 2009). Gadgets such as cell phones and laptops are exactly what I picture when I think technology. I quickly realized that this week's work needed to take me a few steps further.
Photo: Rickett, M. (2013).
Technology also includes the "things that make the other things" (Dyer, 2009). It is clear that without the tools, materials and even the people who use them we would not have the gadgets that we rely on. In Dyer 's (2009) article he even took that concept one step further by saying that methodology including the "the routines, methods, and skills used to make modern hardware" are a subsection or category of technology. For someone who first defined technology as a tangible thing, this idea was difficult to accept. It was Dyer's (2009) category of technology as social usage that helped change my view.
We are all unquestionably linked to our tools. The things that I once considered to be the very definition of technology cell phones, tablets and computers; are, in reality, just the mechanisms that connect us to each other and the World. It is the connection to society through for example, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or any of the other social media applications, that is actually the technology that we have come to rely on. With this in mind it became easy to change my definition and accept a new view that technology is in everything.
Technology: From humble beginnings
Photo: Warming Trends (2014).
Kelly's presentation on Ted Talks (2010), opened my eyes to seeing a bigger definition of technology. In his talk, Kelly discussed the impact of fire and how it affected the planet by clearing areas and allowed humans to change how we eat. As he explained, the effect was enormous and resulted in humans becoming the most dominant species in the World. His claim was clear: without fire we would not exist. As our journey to define technology demonstrated it's not just the end product, in this case fire, that is technology. Technology is everything that led up to the creation. Without the idea, the tools (wood) and the mechanism (someone to create enough friction to ignite a flame) we would not have had the final product (fire).
Technology and the puzzle
Giving the concept of technology a broad definition serves us all well. If we allow technology to be viewed as art, science, agriculture and manufacturing (to name a few areas), then we all become potential leaders in new development. Understanding the idea that every invention, development or idea can be interconnected should encourage us all to speak up so we improve and continue to advance. By acknowledging technology as a key part of the process and not just the end result, we all can be a piece of the puzzle regardless of our specialties and aptitudes.
This week I created my response using tackk, a piece of technology that was new to me. By creating my response on this forum I was able to organize my ideas and use images and videos to support my discussion. The end result is what you see here, a board that shows my ideas and thoughts. It started as a blank slate and I was able to everything you see here to build a finished product. I would recommend tack to any of my fellow classmates who are looking for a way to build something creative or organize your discussion.