Make your own free website on
Home | Course Information | Lessons & Handouts | Modules | Photo Album | Projects | K12planet


General Technology Vocabulary


Adaptability- the result of a broad-based education providing career mobility.

Adjustment- a change in the process to cause the actual result (output) to conform to the desired result (input).

Aesthetics – if something looks good or bad

Agricultural Based Society- an economic system based on farming.

Alternative Energy – Any sources or resources of energy that are considered inexhaustible or non-polluting.

Amperage – A measure of electrical intensity.

Appropriate Technology- a technology that is suitable for a given human need or want.

Appropriate resource- a resource that is suitable for a particular human need.

Assembly line- a manufacturing method in which each worker or machine does only a small part of the whole job. In an assembly line, the products being built move from worker to worker or machine to machine

Attraction- a force pulling one object toward another object

Automatic Control- pre-programming a process to function without human intervention.

Automation- the process of controlling machines automatically

Basic human needs- biological, physical and psychological well being.

Battery – something that produces power by a chemical reaction

Biologically Related Technology- the manipulation of biological materials by scientific, engineering and technological methods to provide information, goods and services.

Brainstorming – members of a group suggest various solutions without criticism from the others.

Buoyancy –the upward force on an object that causes it to remain afloat in a liquid or rise in air.

CAD – computer assisted drafting

Careers- a person’s work or occupation.

Career Cluster- jobs related to a particular occupational category.

Center of Balance – the point at which an object can be balanced.

Capital – another word for money. One of the 7 resources.

Centrifugal Force – the force that tends to make a rotating body move away from the center due to inertia.

Closed loop system- a system that is controlled through the use of feedback.

Command input- a statement of the desired result of the system.

Comparison Device- a subsystem or component, which receives information from the main system’s output sensors and compares this with the command input.

Compression- a force that squeezes a material

Compromise- an adjustment of conflicting demands or requirements in which something is given up on each side.

Computer- an electronic tool used for information processing, communication and control.

Computer Control- using a computer to guide or direct devices and processes.

Computer Hardware- equipment used in a computer system, including the keyboard, disk drives, tape storage, central processing unit, monitor, printer, scanner and modem.

Computer Software- computer programs (user or commercially developed) which instruct the computer to execute a specific task or tasks.

Conductor – a substance or medium that conducts heat, light, sound or an electric charge.

Confluence of systems- the joining together of two or more systems to form a new system. The original system becomes a subsystem of the new system.

Control- a method of regulating the system.

Constraints – the limitations that create boundaries in possible solutions to a problem.

Conversion- the result of changes made through technological processes.

Criterion- a standard, rules, or tests by which a judgment of something can be made.

Current – the flow of electrons through a material.

Data- facts or figures which can be processed and from which conclusions may be formed.

Database – computer software that organizes multiple information on a subject.

Dead Load – the load on a structure due to its own weight (that is the weight of the material of which it is composed).

Design- the plans or the process of planning a project or product.

Desired result- the intent or standard with which the actual output of the system is compared to determine if the results are correct; the goal.

Efficient – performing with a minimum of wasted time, energy or waste products.

Electro-mechanical- a mechanical process or device that is controlled electrically.

End Product- the output of a manufacturing system.

Energy- the ability to do work. Types of energy include radiant, mechanical, chemical, magnetic, electrical, acoustic, thermal and light. Sources of energy are water, wind, nuclear, chemical, geothermal, solar, human and animal muscle, biomass and fossil fuels.

Energy Conversion - changing one form of energy into another; such as chemical energy from batteries into electrical energy.

Engineering - practical application of science and math.

Environmental Impacts of Technology- the effects upon the land, water, and air created by a technological system. Impacts can be positive as well as negative.

Ergonomics – designed for human use or to fit the human body with comfort.

Evaluate- to measure against a set of standards.

Expertise- specialized skill or technical knowledge.

Feedback- information obtained by monitoring the output, which permits adjustments.

Flowchart – shows the operation of a production line in diagram form.

Force – push or pull that gives energy to an object, sometimes causing a change in the motion of the object.

Fossil Fuel – fuel from gas and oil. These resources are not renewable.

Friction – A force that acts in the opposite direction of motion, will cause an object to slow down and stop.

Fuel Cell – a cell in which a chemical reaction is converted directly and continuously into electrical energy.

Futurist- an individual who projects possible future outcomes of a given system or situation and analyzes the effects of each outcome.

Fulcrum – the pivot point of a lever

Generator – a mechanical device that produces power when turned by an input device.

Generic- of a general nature; not specific to one thing.

Geothermal Energy – energy derived from the natural heat of the earth contained in hot rocks, hot water, hot brines or steam.

Global- pertaining to the whole world.

Grain – the arrangement of fibers in wood.

Graphics- a picture, map or graph used for illustration or demonstration.

Gravity – the force of an object that depends on the mass of an object.

Human made environment- an artificial environment such as a greenhouse.

Hydraulic – system activated by fluid power.

Hydroponics – growing plants using water and essential nutrients instead of soil.

Hypothesis- an assumption used to test consequences.

Impact- a consequence or result that can be desired or undesired, expected or unexpected.

Industrially based society- economy based on industry.

Inertia – the tendency of objects to remain in motion or to stay at rest unless acted upon by an outside force.

Information- data in a form that can be used for the purpose of communication or control.

Information based society- society based on information technologies.

Information/ communication technology- the use of a device or method to collect process, store or deliver information utilizing electronic, graphic, photographic, and/or mechanical means.

Information Processing- converting information into new, more useful information.

Innovation and invention- a new idea, process or device.

Input – the desired results of a system.

Insulation – material that resists the flow of cold, heat and sound

Interdependence- relying upon one another.

Kinetic Energy – the mechanical energy that a body has by virtue of its motion.

Labor – make up the people part of resources in a system.

Life Cycle- the period of time from start to finish.

Lift- the upward force on an object in the air resulting from the objects weight and volume and shape and movement through the air.

Live Load – All furniture, people, or other movable loads that are not included as a permanent part of the structure.

Magnetic Force that causes a material to be attracted by a magnet.

Manual- involving use of the human hand.

Manufacturing- production of tangible goods.

Market – a system of distribution of goods and services

Mass – the physical volume or bulk of a solid body.

Materials- physical substances in solid, liquid or gaseous form (natural, biological, processed, synthetic, renewable and nonrenewable.

Materials Conversion- the processing of a material into a new material or end product.

Matter – something that has mass and occupies space.

Mechanical –anything that changes the amount of speed or direction of a force.

Modeling- representation of an object or concept utilizing living or nonliving material

Momentum – a measure of the motion of a body.

Monitor – to observe the system’s output

Needs and Wants- (Needs) are something required for biological, physical or psychological well being / (Wants) are things desired.

Open- Loop system- a system that is pre-programmed to follow a fixed set of procedures. (Ex. Alarm clocks, microwave oven).

Optimal- the best or most favorable conditions; an ideal.

Optimization – make a process work as well as it can.

People- one of the 7 resources. People supply knowledge as well as labor.

Physical Technology- technology that involves construction or production of products made from non-living material(s).

Pneumatics- using air pressure to activate mechanical devices.

Potential Energy – energy caused by a condition rather than motion. A raised weight, coiled spring or charged battery has potential energy.

Pre-Programming- setting the operating steps in a program in advance so that when the system is turned on it will run by itself.

Problem- a question in need of a solution.

Process – the part of a system that combines resources to produce an output in response to a command input.

Profitability- the degree to which income exceeds costs.

Program- a sequence of movements, steps or instructions which a system processes to accomplish a task.

Prototype- a pre-production model.

RAM (Random Access Memory) - the place in a computer where software programs, and data in current use is kept so that the computer’s CPU can quickly reach them.

Renewable Energy – energy sources that be easily replaced such as wind and solar energy.

Renewability- the ability of resources to be replenished.

Repulsion- a force pushing two objects apart

Research- a systematic approach to gathering information or data.

Resources (finite)- resources that will run out in time (oil and gas).

Resources (renewable)- resources that can be replenished (trees, solar energy).

Scientific Principles- a scientific conclusion which is generally accepted and may be stated in words or expressed by mathematical equations.

Schematic – a drawing using symbols

Shear- a pair of forces that act on an object in opposite directions

Simple machines- devices that use mechanical advantage (levers, pulley, and wedges).

Social impacts of Technology- the impacts; both desired and undesired, expected and unexpected, of a technology upon the ways people live.

Software – set of instructions allowing the computer to perform various tasks.

Solar power- power created by energy from the sun.

Spreadsheet – A computer program consisting of cells that can mathematically interact with other cells to produce calculations. Can be used to analyze data.

Subsystem- a secondary part of a larger system. The fuel system is a subsystem of an automobile.

System- a regularly interacting or interdependent group of items forming a unified whole.

Technology – The use of accumulated knowledge in conjunction with tools and machines to process resources to satisfy human needs and wants.

Technological Assessment- evaluating the effectiveness and impacts of a technological system.

Technological System- a system through which a technical process combines resources to provide an output in response to an input.

Tension- a force that stretches an object

Time- a quantity measured in years, days, hours, minutes, seconds, parts of a second.

Thrust- the force developed to move an airplane through the air.

Torsion- a force that twists an object.

Tradeoff- an exchange of the benefits and disadvantages of one solution for those of another solution.

Trial and error- a problem solving process which allows for testing of various alternative solutions to meet the desired goal.

Trajectory- path of a flying object.

Truss – two or more adjacent triangles used to create a light- weight beam or structure.

Voltage – A measure of electrical pressure.

Wind power – a form of solar energy caused by uneven heating of the earth’s surface.

Word processor – computer software that allows you to manipulate text.

Enter supporting content here