Read This Article if You Think Technology is Bad?

Many have said that technology is prostituting what is to be human. They say that humans are hunter-gatherers and peaceful creatures by nature. They say that humans are loving and caring and close social species with love for family and friends. We see this in the great apes and our genetics are similar. Whether you are one to believe in evolutionary theory or creationism is really immaterial in the debate of whether humanity is being ruined by modern advances in technology.

But is technology really the reason for the decline in human behavior, wars or even the new anti-social norm amongst the many? Is the problem more with the family unit, society or is it indeed an issue of advancing technologies. What does technology have to do with the decline in ethics? The over all integrity factor in most first world nations is not very becoming of such a purported noble species. If we look at emerging nations, we do not see much better values, so all of humanity seems to be lacking everywhere you look, even where no technology exists.

If this is the case then where is the argument against technology or the future advances in technology in trade for a better humanity? If humans were back in the stone ages, well they would be throwing sticks and stones at each other, back stabbing their neighbors and fighting over tools that they made. They would be stealing each other’s food in their gardens and raping their women and where is the ethics of humanity without technology? There would be no difference would there?

Well it appears to me that very few are honest here this present period and no one seems to be living without hypocrisy, as they all seem to like the little lie they live? Who are you or I or anyone for that matter to tell them they are wrong? And the question remains what does technology have to do with the decline in human morality? What is the difference if one of the cave dwelling homo sapiens, steals from you or a ghetto kid with a gun robs a liquor store? Or a person with an attorney lying about fact, distorting truth and manipulating the law files a lawsuit and takes one of your assets or wins some cash in a settlement agreement? Or a hacker steals your identity using technology, then wires it to another place faster than you can trace where the money went after your bank account is sucked dry? Is it really the technology causing humans a problem or stifling our humanity or what it is to be human in that case?

Besides, technology is a good thing. And if we have the ability to make human societies and civilizations more productive through technology then well, we ought to do it. If we have the ability to streamline, communication, distribution, transportation, education, language, monetary flows or better our infrastructures, then it should be done, for efficiency purposes if nothing else. Then maybe humans will have more time to reflect on their behavior and look in the mirror and decide where they can make personal changes to improve themselves and the world around them, thus technology is a good thing, not bad. Think on this.

New Technologies and The Electric Grid

The electric grid is based on the concept of centralizing the supply of electricity while technology is moving towards decentralization.

Today, more than 40,000 people are without electricity in the San Francisco Bay Area following the 6.0 quake.

If the supply of electricity were to be decentralized these people would not be without electricity.

Electric grids are centralized systems. They generate electricity from power plants (fossil, hydro, nuclear and wind) which is then transmitted to consumers over long distances through high voltage cables.

In the early 19th century, electricity was a novel invention that competed with steam, hydraulics, direct heating and cooling,light, and most notably gas.

But since its inception the electric grid has evolved from a local system serving a particular geographic area to a wider network of multiple areas. Which explains why the grid fails in extreme weather conditions.

Yet the concept of centralizing our power source appears to have monopolized our thinking.

The same is true when electricity is supplied from the grid to residential, commercial and industrial buildings that then become the centralized sources for electricity.

However,new technologies now enable electricity to be decentralized by powering individual appliances.

Here are some examples of these new technologies.

Certain materials are able to generate an electric charge when pressured. This pioneering technology has many applications ranging from making airbags deploy to making flame-producing lighters and lighter wands. Other common devices using this technology include quartz watches, motion detectors, microscopes and printers.

This technology has also been used to generate electricity from dance floors which can then power lighting. The same technology could be used in the flooring of shopping malls. It is also being used by scientists in Israel to generate electricity from road traffic and may soon be used under airport runways to power lighting for airports.

Cell phones that feature plastic buttons sitting atop a layer of hard metal with crystals underneath also employ this technology. Each time a button is pressed, the hard metal hits the underlying crystals like a hammer, thereby creating a small electric charge. Very small wires located between the layers convey the charge to a battery for storage. It isn’t too far-fetched to imagine this technology being used in other products including computer keyboards and video games.

Thermoelectric materials are also being used to convert body heat into electrical energy. Wristwatches, winter jackets and smart phones may soon be powered by the temperature difference between the human body and the surrounding environment.

Micro ‘nano’ generators are also being used inside shoes so that when heat is generated by the motion of feet it is then converted into electrical energy. German scientists have identified a mechanism for converting body heat into electricity,which could mean that we may soon be able to operate our televisions and cellphones from the heat of our body! Another example using body heat to generate electricity is a flashlight that runs solely from the heat of the human hand.

New technologies are leading the way towards decentralizing electricity. Power failures may hopefully be a thing of the past.

Integrating Technology Into Learning

Today’s training departments are struggling with budget issues as well as proving their worth. Along with this, the continuing struggle is to keep learning efficient while making it as interesting, engaging, and motivating as possible. One of the best ways to do this is to integrate technology into learning programs where it is appropriate. Let’s look at various technologies and how they might be used to maintain efficiency and increase engagement.

One of the most obvious technological training improvements is the use of CBT, or computer-based training. Many times our perception of CBT is that it is an activity that is performed alone at a desk via a learning management system. Although this is true, you can integrate CBT into classroom programs just as easily. For example, if you have a classroom course that is lengthy, consider putting informational pieces into an interactive format which participants are directed into at certain points during the course. This helps them learn from someone other than the instructor and mixes up the learning methods. In addition, CBT modules can be used as pre-work for the entire course to get buy-in from participants or as pre-work for each individual module.

Within the realm of CBT come technical simulations, tutorials, and quick reference guides. If courses teach computer or technical skills, consider creating technical simulations that are used either to teach the skill, to test it, or a combination of both. For example, many banks use this technology to teach tellers how to process transactions in the classroom, at their own pace, but with the assistance of an instructor.

Simulations can be used to test knowledge in the classroom, as well. The instructor can teach an entire skill and then have participants move to computers to go through a simulation on virtually any subject. Today’s CBT technology allows for technical tasks, video streaming, and animation. Online Quick Reference Guides can also be used in the technology integration. If participants are performing tasks in the classroom and need assistance, instructors can refer them to online help. This way, participants will be ready to use such help when they are performing on the job.

Another technique for integrating technology could be the use of Internet or Intranet technology for learning. For example, if case studies are part of the curriculum, tailor the topics to include online research while in the classroom. If information is located on a company-only Intranet, direct participants to it in order to increase their knowledge but more importantly to show them where such knowledge is located. This type of integration is another way to put focus on each participant and not on the instructor or specific knowledge. After all, our goal as training professionals is to prepare people to go to work. We can’t expect them to retain every piece of information so online resources are a perfect way to help them.

Collaboration via technology can also increase training satisfaction and efficiency. If your organization uses a Learning Management System with an online collaboration or blog module, consider integrating this into classroom programs. If the same course is being held in multiple locations, participants can collaborate on projects and case studies. Participants can also use collaboration when they return to the job. The only caveat with this type of technology is that an instructor should monitor the collaboration to ensure that information is correct. But collaboration isn’t strictly confined to online applications. Collaboration can occur via tele- or videoconferencing just as easily. You can use these technologies while participants are in class sessions or even to follow up with them after they return to the job.

Finally, video technology is sometimes overlooked as a learning tool. For advanced courses or skills, such as sales, presentation, management, and leadership, video can be very effective. One corporate leadership program used video to record negotiation sessions between groups of three or four managers – and then played these videos back to the entire group for observation and critique. Seeing oneself in action is a definite enhancement to learning and self-awareness. It also provides an interaction that doesn’t necessarily have to occur via a computer. Again, training leaders should use judgment on this type of technology integration to avoid frightening participants, so choose wisely.

As training adapts to a new economic climate, it will be necessary to integrate efficient and engaging learning methods that continue to prove value. Consider these technological integrations to move your training department forward.

How To Use Technology to Better Prepare Students for the Workforce

Technology is becoming more and more prevalent in our everyday lives as well as the workforce. Recent studies predict that by the year 2010 almost every job in the American workplace will require some use of technology. This influx in technology has caused changes in the way the computer is being used in the workplace and in the way computer literacy needs to be taught in our schools.

When the personal computer was first introduced in the 1980′s, people had to learn how to operate it, program it, and utilize its basic functions. Today, people and businesses are becoming more familiar with technology and using it more as a tool for such things as information gathering, data analysis and interpretation, presenting information, problem solving, communication, etc. This technology is also continually being updated and changed to allow for more efficient and productive work, causing people to have to keep pace with this new information. In such a knowledge-based economy, knowing how to locate information quickly, evaluate this information for bias and accuracy, and synthesize and apply that information to solve problems will be needed and valued skills. Therefore, teaching students skills such as these will better prepare them for the workforce of the 21st century.

Simply providing students with technology in isolated computer classes will not teach students these necessary skills or how to use the computer as a tool. After all, the end result is not wanting students to simply know how to operate computers but how to use them as a tool for organization, communication, problem-solving, and research.

Technology needs to be integrated into the curriculum using an active/inquiry-based method of learning. In this method, instead of students being shown specific steps to follow to solve a problem and then solving problems from a textbook, they are given a “real world” problem to solve and must create their own strategies for data gathering, analyzing, hypothesizing and testing solutions. By constructing their own strategies, they gain a deeper understanding of problem-solving skills. By solving real world problems, students are better able to relate their learning to their own lives and similar future situations. Oftentimes the students work in groups to solve their problems which enhances students’ interpersonal skills and teamwork. They also learn to accept different perspectives, work cooperatively, and state their opinions and feelings. After all, few jobs require people to work in total isolation; therefore, being able to work with others is an important aspect of society and the workplace.

Students should be given a number and variety of technology resources to use in order to find a solution to their problem, such as internet resources or search engines, communication/email with experts, books, software programs, spreadsheet programs, graphing programs, etc. Students may also be required to conduct their own hands-on experiments or participate in online collaborative research. However, instruction should be given on how to analyze information for bias and accuracy. Students should realize that not everything on the internet is true or correct. Since the information is not merely presented to the students in a lecture format they are required to critically think about it, interact with it, analyze it, and use it to formulate a solution. This type of instruction enhances critical thinking and higher order thinking skills and helps students demonstrate a deeper understanding of the content and concepts presented as well as the problem-solving process.

Students should also have choices in how their information and solution is presented. Formats such as PowerPoint presentations, posters, brochures, pamphlets, reports, web pages, and movies created with technology can be utilized. Giving students a choice in their final presentations not only allows them to showcase their talents and strengths but allows students to make their own decisions about the best ways to present their data to others, which is oftentimes required in the workplace.

Incorporating technology into the classroom using an active/inquiry-based method enhances the skills required for success in the 21st century. It requires students to use the computer as a tool to gather information, analyze data, and present a solution to a given problem. These are the skills that the technology rich environments of today emphasize and require; therefore, using technology in this manner will aide students in developing life long skills that can be carried over to the workforce.

Latest Technology in Computer Hardware

The rate at which new computer hardware products are arriving in the market is simply mind-boggling. As the technology advances, the size and the price of the devices come down, while the efficiency and capacity increase. The scenario is same in all cases, whether it is about internal components like processor, motherboard, RAM, graphics card, and hard disk or for peripheral accessories like mouse, keyboard, and monitors. Personal computers became popular only before about three decades back. But already there are huge piles of outdated and antique hardware components and devices. This is a tribute to the tremendous rate of development of latest technologies in computer hardware field. Perhaps, the newest entrant into the archeological catalogue of computer peripherals is CRT monitors. The sleek looking LCD monitors are spreading like computer virus.

Data storage devices have attracted considerable attention of the technology developers. New kinds of storage devices such as newer versions of flash memory cards, hard disks using latest technology and disks of ever-increasing capacity are the results of advancement in latest technology in compute hardware. The memory size of the random access memory (RAM) cards is soaring to enable the smooth functioning of graphics animation software packages and streaming video websites. Also, computer motherboards have undergone substantial changes over the years. More and more functions are being added to the motherboard. Also, despite the incredible improvement in performance and functionalities, the price of these components has actually fallen steadily.

The most vital component of a computer is the microprocessor. It is in this field that a battle of developing latest technologies in computer hardware takes place. The pace of development of microprocessor increases as the competition between the major processor chip manufacturing companies, Intel and AMD, intensifies. Both the companies are engaging in a neck and neck competition and continuously outdo each other in introducing new technologies.

In the field of computer peripherals, the latest technology in computer hardware is in developing yet another version of wireless mouse and keyboard. The concept of wireless mouse and keyboard is about a decade old. But the development of these items is still a work in progress. The latest products of wireless mouse and keyboard are said to be highly durable and error free.

Some of the developments in the latest technology in computer hardware are gearing up for changing the present concept of desktop and laptop computers. With new developments making possible the convergence of mobile phone technology and computers, a new breed of fully functional palm-top computers are going to be introduced in near future. With touch screen monitors and without the need for a mouse, these gadgets are likely to become the next big leap in the constantly leaping technological development field.