During this unit, we learned about many different topics. Automation, gig economy, preindustrial America, industrialization, labor movements, globalization, and the future of work. We did many smaller projects throughout the unit like a structured academic controversy, an in class timed writing, and future of work in america group presentations. And at the end of the unit, we took all of the information that we had learned, and we put it all into one big, important project. We made podcasts on a variety of different things that we learned throughout the unit. It was a difficult, but rewarding project that was very valuable, and beneficial.
In Class Timed Writing:
The industrial revolution took place in the 1800’s, and the early 1900’s. Before the Industrial Revolution, there weren't machines, and people worked only with their hands. The main source of work was farming and agriculture, and times were very tough. Then, the Revolution began and people started working in mines and factories. However working and living conditions were very poor, and many people died. Most of the luxuries that we have in our day would not be possible without the Industrial Revolution. Most American textbooks only tell us part of the story, what laws were passed, and when they happened, but they don’t tell us why. When we read primary source documents, we get new information and viewpoints, like those of laborers, and the children, who were the reason the laws were implemented. During the Industrial Revolution, labor conditions, especially for youth were extremely dangerous, inhumane, and often deadly, which is why labor laws were implemented. In the 1800’s, during the industrial revolution, children were forced to work to support their families. They worked long hours in difficult and dangerous conditions, with unpredictable machinery. In “The Bitter Cry of the Children”, John Spargo, socialist leader and historian states, “Work in the coal breakers in exceedingly hard and dangerous. Crouched over chutes, the boys sit hour after hour, picking out the pieces of slate and other refuse from the coal as it rushes past to the washers. From the cramped position they have to assume, most of them become more or less deformed and bent-backed like old men.” Children as young as ten years old were doing work meant for full grown men, which is cruel and unjust. According to Spargo, “The coal is hard and accidents to the hands, such as cut, broken, or crushed fingers, are common among the boys. Sometimes there is a worse accident: a terrified shriek is heard, and a boy is mangled and torn in the machinery, or disappears in the chute to be picked out later smothered and dead.” The jobs that children were performing were killing them, and they were used to it. Seeing your peers die is not something that a child should ever have to go through, but that was the reality of child labor during the industrial revolution. During the 1800’s children were not in school, they were working to support their families, and dying while doing it. These days, if you work a dangerous job, there is often higher pay. However, this was not the case during the Industrial Revolution. Children and adults worked extremely long days, with very little pay, despite the danger that they faced everyday, which is why labor laws were implemented in the 1900’s. In “The Bitter Cry of the Children”, John Spargo illustrates working conditions in a mine. “To stand in water or mud that covers the ankles, chilled to the marrow by the cold draughts that rush in when you open the trap door for the mules to pass through; to work for fourteen hours-waiting-opening and shutting a door-then waiting again-for sixty cents.” Both children and adults worked 14 hour days in the mines for as little as sixty cents a day, which is unbelievable. Labor laws that are now in place would never allow this to happen. The document “Prologue: Misery Lane” states, “One hundred or more Americans died on the job every day in the booming industrial years around 1911. Mines collapsed on them, ships sank under them, pots of molten steel spilled over their heads, locomotives smashed into them, exposed machinery grabbed them by the arm or leg or hair and pulled them in.” Accidents were happening in all areas of labor to all ages and genders, all over the world. Eventually laborers began to strike, and form unions, to protest for their deserved rights. They wanted fair pay, fair hours, and less danger. The government heard them and in time, implemented labor laws which we still have in place today.
1.What was the greatest challenge you faced in the project and what did you do to overcome that challenge? The greatest challenge that I faced during this project was using the editing technology. I don’t have a lot of experience with technology, and no experience with making a podcast or editing it, so this was a brand-new concept to me. I had to figure out the best program to use, and then teach myself how to use it to edit my podcast. I chose to use Soundtrap to create my podcast because it had tutorials to show me how to use it. I watched all the tutorials before I even started to attempt to edit my podcast. The tutorials were super helpful, and eventually I got the hang of it. Finding the tutorials and using them really helped me overcome the challenge of creating and editing a podcast for the first time.
2.If you could go back and do the project again what would you do differently, and why? If I could restart this project, and do it all over again, the main thing that I would do differently is work on managing my time better. I did a lot of planning at the beginning of my project, and I didn’t start working on actually recording and editing until too late into the project. If I were to start over, I would spend a lot less time planning, and jump right into the project because my script and plans ended up completely differently than I had planned once I actually started recording, and then I had less time for the actual podcast because I had spent so much time planning my script. I would also think harder in the beginning about working alone. There were a lot of benefits to working alone, but it was also so much more work for me. So, I am not sure if I would ultimately choose to work in a group or by myself, but I would definitely weigh the pros and cons more heavily next time.
3.What is the greatest insight that you gained about the state of labor issues today? Think back through the entire project, historical presentations, globalization, and your podcast production. The greatest insight that I have gained on the state of labor issues throughout this project is that the world is rapidly changing, and we need to be prepared. I have gotten the message that we are the generation that is going to be affected the most by automation, and labor is going to change in many ways in the near future, so we need to be aware and prepared. Over the course of this project I have heard this as a recurring message whether I was learning about the industrial revolution, automation, the gig economy, or living wage, the message was the same. I am very glad that we did this project because I think that it helped me to become more aware of the issue, and now I will be able to be more prepared because I am educated about it.
4.What are you most proud of in your project? This could be something very small and not visible to me or the audience. Help me understand why you are so proud of this piece. The part of my project that I am most proud of is very broad, it is not something specific. I am proud of the podcast as a whole, and how it came out because of all the work that I put into it. I worked by myself, so the entire workload was on me, and I had to do everything. I was worried about how long it was going to be, and if it would sound bad because I was the only person who was talking, and I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to do the editing and actual podcast creation by myself, but I did. I completed it, and I am proud of my work. There are definitely still things that I could have added to make it sound better, or flow better, but as a whole, I completed a podcast all by myself, and I am very proud of myself for that.
5.Explain one way you grew as a student during this process. It is not when we are comfortable and know how to do a task that we grow, it is often when we are the most challenged or have struggled through something that we grow. So, what will you be better at now? Throughout this project, I have learned many lessons that helped me grow as a student, and will benefit me in the future. One area that I grew in was time management. During this project I had to teach myself good time management skills because procrastination was not an option. I still made mistakes with my time management, which helped me to grow even more because I learned from those mistakes, and I won’t make the same mistakes during the next project. Another area that I grew in was my technology skills. I didn’t have many technological skills before this project, but I had to learn, so now I have those skills, and I can use them in the future. I also grew in my ability to articulate my ideas through speaking. I had to record myself talking for the podcast, and it was very different than anything else I have done before. I have gotten accustomed to writing my ideas, so it was a big change to have to speak them because it is a completely different format, and it was challenging for me, but it was an enriching experience.