Time and Technology

An early example of wireless communication, in France 1919 (National Library of France 12148/btv1b9031874h, Public Domain Marked http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/mark/1.0/)
Part 3 in a series on new Europeana source collections on Historiana

Time and Technolog SC123     Time and Technolog SC4      Time and Technolog SC56

 

The featured source collections can be found on Historiana and therefore can be used to create online learning activities. This blog is part of a series of four releases of source collections. Stay tuned for more in the coming weeks!

Young people today are living in a world full of technology, and have hardly any personal memory of life before these technologies were introduced. Therefore, it can be hard for them to imagine what life was like without modern means of communication, transportation and documentation. Focusing on one particular type of technology and showing how this technology evolved over time, can help students to get a better chronological understanding and see how the past differs from the present.

Within the Europeana Collections there are many resources related to innovation and technology, and archives. Tekniska Museet (the Swedish National Museum for Science and Technology) and Danmarks Tekniske Museum (the Technical Museum of Denmark) are even specialised in this field. Consequently there exists a vast amount of artefacts, images, videos available that can be used to learn about changes in technology. Because the amount of information available can be overwhelming, Europeana and EUROCLIO worked together to make collections that show how certain types of technology (cars, airplanes, photo cameras, music recorders, maps, mobile phone) have evolved over time and changed people’s lives.

The source collections on photo cameras and music recordings can also be used to help students reflect on how technology impacts the way we look at the past, because it is only through these means that we have a record of the past. The source collection of mobile phones can help students realise how quick some changes can happen, when they ask their parents what life was like in the past, when they could not be reached at all times with a mobile phone. The source collection on cars and airplanes can help students understand how the world became relatively smaller because more people could travel bigger distances more easily. This had a big impact on the economy, the military and everyday life. The source collection on maps helps students realise that there was a time when people had literally no idea where they were going, and that our knowledge of what is where is the result of centuries of collecting information.

Together, these source collections can help to look at social history through the lens of technology and to compare the speed of societal change. The collections also help to make judgements about the significance of technological changes and innovations for the world today. The source collections also show how the demand of people changes over time, where aspects like aesthetics, price and user-friendliness play an important role.