Technology is a broad term used to describe tools and machines that manipulate the physical world to achieve valued results. These tools may be simple, such as a crowbar or wooden spoon, or complex machines such as a particle accelerator. The term also includes more abstract entities such as computer software and business methods.
In education, technology connects students to resources and provides the opportunity for self-directed learning. Students often use school-owned devices to access a variety of online learning materials. These include scholarly articles, peer-reviewed journals, research papers, video tutorials, informational websites, and blogs of educators/authors.
The word comes from two Greek words: techne and logos. Techne means art, skill or craft and logos refers to a word, phrase or utterance that translates inner thought or ideas.
Technological innovations usually spread or disappear on the basis of free market forces. Occasionally, however, they become controversial and may be subject to public debate or even formal regulation. For example, contour plowing, vaccines and nuclear power plants are examples of technologies that have been the focus of public debate.
It is rare for an invention to proceed smoothly from conception to completion. Rather, it is most often the case that technology develops in stages and requires significant research, testing and experimentation before moving to the next stage. In the process, apparently promising technologies may stall, for instance when a new chemical has unintended side effects. Even seemingly innocuous everyday technologies are prone to this kind of risk, for example refrigerators that leak small amounts of gas into the atmosphere.