The Nature Of



Why study the Nature of Technology?

In general, students do not distinguish between the roles of science and technology. Helping them do so is implied by this standard. This lack of distinction between science and technology is further confused by students' positive perceptions of science, as when they associate it with medical research and use the common phrase "scientific progress." However, their association of technology is often with environmental problems and another common phrase, "technological problems." With regard to the connection between science and technology, students as well as many adults and teachers of science indicate a belief that science influences technology. This belief is captured by the common and only partially accurate definition "technology is applied science." Few students understand that technology influences science. Unraveling these misconceptions of science and technology and developing accurate concepts of the role, place, limits, possibilities and relationships of science and technology is the challenge of this standard.

In the course of solving any problem where students try to meet certain criteria within constraints, they will find that the ideas and methods of science that they know, or can learn, can be powerful aids. Students also find that they need to call on other sources of knowledge and skill, such as cost, risk, and benefit analysis, and aspects of critical thinking and creativity. Learning experiences associated with this standard should include examples of technological achievement in which science has played a part and examples where technological advances contributed directly to scientific progress.

from National Science Education Standards


Excellence in Technological Design

After appropriate background reading, "field work," and discussion (e.g., with friends, classmates, or the instructor), you will select from everyday life an item of technology that you regard as a compelling example of excellent technological design. The object chosen should be such that it can be displayed in class on the day of the presentation.You will make a carefully prepared 10-minute presentation on your chosen item. Here are some things that you should consider covering in its presentation:

* briefly situate the object historically and culturally. Are earlier design influences reflected in the object? Is your item a work of American, British, German, Italian, Japanese, Scandinavian, Swiss or other national design, or is it devoid of any stylistic elements that reveal its national origin? Either way, does that say anything noteworthy?

* apart from features that the item must have if it is to effectively fulfill its function, how, if at all, has the item's design been affected by the society or forces that gave rise to it or by the society or user group for which it is intended?

* explain why, in your view, the object is an excellent work of technological design. Pay attention to the aesthetic, economic, functional, technological-production, and social use aspects or dimensions of the work. What is admirable about the item as a piece of technological design?

* does the object have any noteworthy social or cultural implications?

In carrying out this project, you should regard yourself as an archeologist of everyday things, i.e., as an investigator digging beneath the surface in attempting to reveal non-obvious underlying forces, features, meanings, or significance. In so doing, be ingenious, clever, and insightful. Select objects which are not particularly obvious choices so that we shall all be able to expand our awareness of technology and improve our understanding of its nature, role(s), and importance. Items may be like a TV remote-control device, a credit card, a telephone answering machine, a high-tech athletic shoe, a modern wine-bottle corkscrew, Tupperware, a Honda motorbike, an electronic drum machine, RayBan Wayfarer sunglasses, a Kryptonite bike lock, the Gillette Sensor razor, a GoreTex back pack, and disposable contact lenses.

Inventions on the Net-

huge page with links to information on the history of inventions, patents, inventions in progress, and inventors journals and publications.

Invention Dimension


Famous Last Words about Technology

Your ideas on Technology

Interactive Slide Show

Why study the Nature of Technology?

800 Lifetime Theory

About Technology

Technological Literacy

Definitions of Technology:

"It has come to be interpreted as 'hardware' and the skills of operating hardware."

"The branch of knowledge which encompasses the applied sciences and arts, based on creation and application of rational methods in solving human problems, so that, for example, education, law, sports, propaganda, and the social sciences are all technologies in that sense."

"The branch of knowledge that deals with the creation and use of physical, economic and intellectual means and their relationship with life, society and the environment drawing upon such subjects such as arts, engineering, applied science and pure sciences."

An Interesting Technology Thesis

Another Definition of Technology

Technological Determinism-another definition

Science vs. Technology?

Difference between Science and Technology

another view what is technology now?

Technology Throughout History

Technological Systems

The Design Process

What is Technology Transfer?

Spinoffs and Technology Transfer

Technology transfer at the White House?

Other areas intersecting the Nature of Technology:

Sustainability and Technology

An STS Diary

Technological Forecasting

Metaphysics and Technology

and an interesting offshoot- Coordination Technology

20 Top Engineering Marvels

Top Sci/Tech Web Awards



The Psychology of Everyday Things by Donald Norman

The New Wheelchair