Nowadays, technology is considered the driver of innovation.
Almost every aspect of our lives is somehow connected to different technologies and they are advancing so fast that you can hardly keep up with the newest trends!
Many people are even so addicted to their electronic devices that if something stops working they go into panic or an abstinence mode. But it was not like that all the time.
Imagine you were living in 1720, 1520 or even 1220 in England. What technologies do you think you would be using in your daily life? Your parents would probably be working in agriculture,
you would be walking to every place you need to get by foot or by horse, you would be living with no running water or electricity and that means you would also cook your food over a fire.
Now transport yourself to 1920 – your parents would probably be employed in transportation or factories, airplanes and cars exist as well as radios and refrigerators! Your standard of life
would be completely different in such a short period of time. What might have happened? Industrial revolution! Have you ever pondered on how much the average person’s occupation has changed
by the development of industry? And do you ever wonder if it is possible for machines to take over people’s jobs and eventually even the world?
😊 You can explore these and more related topics by accepting the challenge of the current WebQuest!
The goal of this WebQuest is to help you discover important technological developments of the Industrial
Revolution, how they affected society and the workforce and to form an opinion whether machines could
really take our jobs one day! At the end you will be asked to present your findings to the rest of your fellow
This WebQuest is meant to be implemented in a group with at least 2, 4 or 6
people within the group but it also requires doing individual work to a great
Each quester will have the task to pick one technological development which
happened during the Industrial Revolution. Then, following the links provided
in the Resources and Process sections, you should identify the most
important features of it (at least 5), what the social impact of the invention is
(in your own words) and how it changed the work organization, the jobs of
people. Then, you will have to learn about the concept of technological
unemployment, find arguments in support of the pessimistic (at least three
arguments) as well as the optimistic (at least three arguments) outlook on technological unemployment and
link them to the technological development you learned about. As a final task, you will be asked to make a
presentation on your chosen discovery, arguments for both outlooks regarding technological
unemployment regarding the invention you chose and your own opinion on the effects of technological
innovation on people’s jobs and if machines could really take people’s jobs as a conclusion.
Now immerse yourself in the Industrial Revolution times and imagine you are witnessing all innovations
happening right before your eyes!
Learners should follow these steps to complete their journey in the Industrial Revolution times:
- Conduct a research on Industrial revolution inventions. Which are the most important ones according to you? Choose one to your liking. Make a summary of the invention and list minimum five of its most distinguishing features. Learners can read the following articles:
Watch this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hpwaVqTFteo
- Delve into the social impact of the Industrial Revolution and how it changed the work organization.
Were workers satisfied with the new labour conditions? Were there only positive effects from the
revolution on people? You can read the following articles: https://www.britannica.com/topic/history-
and watch this video:
Now think about the invention you chose to describe in step 1.
Describe/write down in your own words what the social impact of the
concrete technological development was and how it changed the work
organization, the jobs of people according to you. What were the
consequences of it? You can go back to the same links that were listed in
Step 1 and Step 2 to generate ideas.
- Did you know that the possibility of machines replacing human labour was a
topic of discussion even during Aristotle’s time? Have you ever heard of the
term technological unemployment? What about the Luddite movement or
the term “Luddite fallacy”? Were they opposing the use of machines or
something else? Do you agree with them? Find arguments in support of the
pessimistic (at least three arguments) as well as the optimistic (at least three arguments) outlook on
technological unemployment and link them to the technological development you chose in Step 1.
Read the following articles to better understand the abovementioned concepts: Technological
unemployment: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Technological_unemployment; https://www.thinkautomation.com/future-of-work/technological-unemployment-is-it-lasting/. Watch
the following video on Luddite movement: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5t4uJIUaHCw and read the article: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/what-the-luddites-really-fought-against-
- Now that you know what the downsides and advantages of technology advancement are in regards
with human labour, what is your opinion on the impact of technology in today’s world? Do you think
it is possible for machines to take over people’s jobs? Check out the following pieces to formulate
more informed opinion: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/innovation/when-robots-take-jobs-
automation/. And watch the following talks: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2j00U6lUC-c;
- As a final task you will be asked to make a presentation on your chosen discovery including: listing
the five features that you determined in Step 1; presenting arguments for both outlooks regarding
technological unemployment linked to the invention you chose and finally, stating your own opinion
on the effects of technological innovation on people’s jobs and if machines could really take people’s
jobs as a conclusion.
- (If conducted in a group): Discuss your findings with your fellow questers! Do you agree with their
arguments? If yes, why or why not?
By taking part in this WebQuest you learned about the Industrial Revolution’s inventions and their social impact as well as their effect on the organization of labour. You saw the positive and negative sides/effects of progress and how it could divide society. You also gained knowledge on what the prognosis of the future of jobs is in regard with automation.
Now could you think about what future invention you think is most plausible to be developed in the next years? Imagine what would be its effect – would people boycott it at first or accept it without any meaningful discussions taking place?
- Presentation skills
- Critical thinking
In addition, learners will:
- learn how to engage and collaborate with others,
- communicate an idea by means of a discussion,
- develop a sense of confidence and belief in themselves and their ideas,
- learn how to communicate effectively (using written and spoken word, non-verbal language, electronic tools, and listening skills).
Evaluation of learning achievements
In this section we will not dive very deep into the underlying educational theories about evaluation and testing: there’s too much out there than we could possibly cover in this small project report.
Instead, we want to concentrate on procedures that enable both students/pupils and their teachers to establish if the learning goals of the Webquest were achieved and, if so, to what extent. We recommend teachers make use of a combined evaluation procedure, that consists of:
- Statements by learners (after being asked to do so)
- telling what they learned about the subject (knowledge-oriented self-evaluation): now (after going through the Webquest) I know that …
- telling what he/she learned about herself/himself (formative evaluation, in this case, diagnostic self-evaluation): now (after going through the Webquest) I know about myself that I …
This pair of basic statements add up to a so-called learner report, in which the pupil/student reflects on what the Webquest brought him/her in terms of acquired knowledge and new personal views and attitudes concerning the subject.
- ‘I learned that in medieval times the hygiene of people was hardly a concern which helped to let epidemic diseases like the Plague cause so many casualties’ Or:
- ‘I learned the facts and I know the earth is warming, but I cannot understand why people were so stupid to pollute the world and let it warm up so much.
- ‘I learned from the information about diseases that this subject is more appealing to me than I would expect in advance: maybe I should consider a medical career’. Or:
‘The Webquests confirms what I thought already: I could not care less about the climate and global warming. In fact, I thought it was all a hoax and I still do!’
This kind of assessment seems more subjective than it actually is: in his standard work on testing and evaluation (and much more), simply called Methodology (1974), Prof. A.D. de Groot described how consistent the student’s self-evaluations appeared to be: when asked again after 5 or 10 years, their evaluation would almost be the same. De Groot advised teachers to use the learner report as a start for joint evaluations, striving for consensus between teacher and student/pupil about the learning outcomes and their value for the learner, but also compared with the learning objectives as stated in the curriculum.
The learning achievements are visible in the output produced by the students: it is physical evidence: reports, answers to questions asked in the Webquest, presentations, and performance during presentations (preferably recorded). The teacher completes an evaluation grid stating clearly what the learning outcomes for the student/pupil are. The categories in the grid can be modified by the teacher to cover more precisely the content of a Webquest.
>We advise teachers to use the grid to start a joint evaluation discussion, aiming at consensus or at least understanding between the teacher and the student/pupil about the learning outcomes: were they achieved (as planned in the curriculum and communicated before the Webquest started) and to what extent? To communicate the learning goals clearly before any learning activity starts, is a transparency requirement that is widely acknowledged in the educational community. The history of making learning objectives explicit goes back to the evaluation ‘Bible’ by Bloom, Hastings and Madaus: ‘Handbook on formative and summative evaluation of student learning’ (1971), a standard work that also served as inspiration for the earlier mentioned Prof. De Groot.
The procedure also applies when students/pupils have worked together on a Webquest. The teacher will ask questions about individual contributions: ‘What did you find? What part did you write? How did you find the illustrations? Who made the final presentation?’
All the evidence (of learning efforts and outcomes plus joint evaluations) is preferably stored in the learning portfolio of the student, or in any other suitable storage system (folders with written or printed documents, online collection of files, etcetera ).
Changes in personal points of view and feelings are harder to value and here the consensus between teacher and student/pupil about experiences during the learning process provides essential insights.
The grid below gives an example of how the evaluation of the learning process and achievements can be shaped: what kind of reactions to the Webquest does the teacher expect and how valuable are they? Is the teacher capable to explain the value or score allocated to answers or presentations given by pupils? Does the pupil/student understand the evaluation outcomes, and does he/she agree? If an agreement (consensus is not possible, it is still the teacher who decides how to value the student’s work.
Please note that the text in the grid addresses the pupil/student directly: this is important and it is in fact a prerequisite for using such an evaluation grid: it is specifically meant to enable a discussion of learning results between teacher and student and not to communicate learning achievements of learners to others who had no direct role in the Webquest.