The Cultural Impact of Computer Technology

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The Cultural Impact of Computer Technology

by
Sheldon Ayers

Contents of Curriculum Unit 99.07.07:

Narrative
Industrial Revolution
The Information Age
The Future
Lesson Plans
Lesson 2 ( Two days)
Lesson 3 ( 2 days )
Bibliography
Student Reading List

To Guide Entry

Some sociologists believe that technological innovation is the single most important source of social change. But just how does a technological advancement spur social change? What are some of the changes taking place due to the proliferation of technology in our society? In this curriculum unit we will survey some of the technological breakthroughs being made today while simultaneously exploring how these advancements are impacting our culture, our relationships and our individual lives. The content in this unit will challenge students to:

____a. understand the connection of the past to conditions today ____b. examine the relationship between innovation and the American living standard ____c. explore how the "information marketplace" has been a catalyst for change ____d. assess how the job market has evolved and will continue to evolve ____e. hypothesize on future trends and inventions in the twenty first century

Societies are constantly changing. Some of these changes are subtle and barely noticeable. Other changes are blatant and abrupt. Social changes can affect the values, norms, roles and institutions within a particular community. The Industrial Revolution for example, which began circa 1750, was a true revolution or radical change for English society. Studying the effects of the Industrial Revolution on English society can help us identify patterns or similarities with the changes taking place today.

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INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION
The Industrial Revolution was a period of dynamic change and dramatic innovation in the history of human society. During this period, which lasted from approximately 1750 to 1850, new methods were adopted which forever changed the means of producing goods. The development of factories, the introduction of mass production methods, the utilization of steel and the emergence of new forms of transportation and communication - all had a profound effect on where and how people lived, worked and interacted. The long term changes ushered in during this period still resonates today.

____ Of all the places in the world, why did the Industrial Revolution ignite in England. What domestic considerations permitted England to become the world's first industrial country? In his book, The Silent Revolution, author John Osborne warn us not to oversimplify any explanation for this historical occurrence(1). The author points to the fact that England had favorable advantages over its neighbors during the mid 1800s. First, England had a stable but not oppressive governmental system. Secondly, England benefited from a favorable geographical location. Lastly, the English had a relatively flexible class structure. Compared with other countries on the European continent England was economically and socially well off. In most of the other countries tradition smothered innovation (2).

The British drive toward economic supremacy involved creating new machines and experimenting with more efficient manufacturing techniques. The greater understanding of nature, a result of scientific discoveries of the preceding century, encouraged the development of a more critical attitude toward manufacturing techniques (3). In approximately fifty years the concept of "modern production was created". This development had immediate ramifications for the "worker" of the era. The domestic worker with his simple hand tools would gradually give way to a factory worker in charge of a complicated machine powered by steam. While these changes were taking place, a tradition of private investment in promising new enterprises was growing . Britains commercial tradition, operating against a...
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