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Using the term "technology" has actually altered considerably over the last 200 years. Before the 20th century, the term was uncommon in English, and it was used either to describe the description or research study of the helpful arts or to mention technical education, as in the Massachusetts Institute of Innovation (chartered in 1861). The term "technology" rose to prominence in the 20th century in connection with the Second Industrial Revolution. The term's significances altered in the early 20th century when American social researchers, beginning with Thorstein Veblen, equated ideas from the German principle of into "innovation." In German and other European languages, a difference exists between technik and technologie that is absent in English, which usually equates both terms as "innovation." By the 1930s, "innovation" referred not just to the study of the industrial arts however to the industrial arts themselves.
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Researchers and engineers usually prefer to define technology as used science, instead of as the things that individuals make and utilize. More recently, scholars have actually borrowed from European thinkers of "technique" to extend the significance of innovation to various kinds of instrumental reason, as in Foucault's work on innovations of the self (techniques de soi). Dictionaries and scholars have provided a variety of meanings. The offers a meaning of the term: "using science in industry, engineering, etc., to invent helpful things or to resolve problems" and "a device, piece of equipment, method, etc., that is created by innovation." Ursula Franklin, in her 1989 "Genuine World of Technology" lecture, gave another meaning of the concept; it is "practice, the way we do things around here." The term is frequently used to imply a specific field of technology, or to refer to high innovation or simply consumer electronics, rather than innovation as a whole.