Technology is a broad term that encompasses a vast range of tools – both tangible, such as utensils and machines, and intangible, such as software and algorithms. Technology enables us to accomplish a wide variety of goals, from increasing comfort and improving health to reducing the barriers of distance and expanding knowledge of our environment. The development of many technologies has also led to significant social changes. For example, the invention of fire and other prehistorical technological discoveries enabled early humans to control their environment and hunt for food. Likewise, the introduction of the printing press, the telephone and the Internet reduced geographical barriers to communication and allowed people to interact on a global scale. While the benefits of technology are numerous, it can be disruptive to society and can negatively impact the lives of individuals. For instance, the rapid adoption of industrial technologies increased the productivity of factories, but also resulted in the loss of jobs for those who could not keep up. Such negative effects have been the basis of dystopian literary works, such as Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World and George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, or even more recent examples like Theodore Kaczynski’s Unabomber campaign.
Although it is difficult to predict the future of technology, a few things are certain. Technology will continue to be integrated into our daily lives, and it is important for educators to understand how it can be used to enhance student learning. For instance, virtual classrooms and video technology can make lessons more engaging, while digital learning tools such as augmented reality (AR), smart boards and robots encourage collaboration and inquisitiveness in students.