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The Social, Economic, And Political Impact Of Technology: An Historical Perspective

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Conference

2010 Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Teaching Technological Literacy - Engaging Students

Tagged Division

Technological Literacy Constituent Committee

Page Count

9

Page Numbers

15.1255.1 - 15.1255.9

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/16269

Download Count

21498

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Paper Authors

biography

William Loendorf Eastern Washington University

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William R. Loendorf is currently an Associate Professor of Engineering & Design at Eastern Washington University. He obtained his B.Sc. in Engineering Science at the University of Wisconsin - Parkside, M.S. in Electrical Engineering at Colorado State University, M.B.A. at the Lake Forest Graduate School of Management, and Ph.D. in Engineering Management at Walden University. He holds a Professional Engineer license and has 30 years of industrial experience as an Engineer or Engineering Manager at General Motors, Cadnetix, and Motorola. His interests include engineering management, technological literacy, and real-time embedded systems.

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Abstract
NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

The Social, Economic, and Political Impact of Technology: An Historical Perspective

Abstract

Our modern lives are filled with technologies. In fact, they have become so integrated into our lives that many of them are frequently used but never really thought about. Few people stop to consider that civilization once lived on without them. Many of these technologies are so common today that they have become almost invisible. The impact of technology on our lives is substantial, even though it may not be obvious, understood, or even considered. For many, it is simply accepted. Technologies have changed the way people live, work, and play. However, this is not a new phenomenon. Technology has changed civilization in many ways throughout all of history. Today, few people stop to consider the social, economic, and political impact technology has had on our lives. To address this issue, an interdisciplinary junior level course has been created that explores a historical perspective of the development of technology in a global context. The social, political, economic and cultural impacts of technologies are explored to determine their positive and negative effects. In this context the two biggest technology drivers of agriculture and war are studied in detail. Through innovations agriculture was able to produce more food allowing populations to grow. While new inventions created more effective and devastating weapons of war used to kill and destroy. Throughout the course, numerous technologies are scrutinized and examined in terms of their cost versus benefit to society. It also investigates how technologies are inter-related and how cultural factors affect the acceptance or rejection of technology. The intent of the course was to enhance the student’s understanding of how technologies developed and why. The material covered helps the student to understand and recognize our dependence on technology and its impact on our lives. In this course the students study the past development, use and effects of technology in order to be better prepared for the new technologies of the future.

Introduction

Throughout history, new inventions and innovations have produced more food, created new tools, made life easier, and war more devastating. Today technology influences and affects every aspect of our life. However, we often forget that it profoundly affected the lives of past generations dating back to the beginning of civilization. Perhaps not to today’s extent, but the impact was still dramatic.

An interdisciplinary course was created a number of years ago (Loendorf5) that explores a historical perspective of the development of technology in a global context. This junior level course (TECH 393), titled Technology in World Civilization, traces the interconnected events and cultures in which technology developed. It investigates how technologies are inter-related and how cultural factors affect the acceptance or rejection of technology. The intent of the course was to enhance the student’s understanding of how technologies developed, why they were used, and their impact on society. This course traces the evolution of technology and its impact on

Loendorf, W. (2010, June), The Social, Economic, And Political Impact Of Technology: An Historical Perspective Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. https://peer.asee.org/16269

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