Since the late nineteenth century, technology has progressed at accelerating rates. Therefore, in studying the technology of this Gilded Age you might take the opportunity to explore the ever-expanding role of technology in our lives today. One of the activities we have outlined here deals with the proliferation of communications technologies. We suggest that you encourage your students to think not just about how they facilitate communication, but how they actually alter communication and the relationships that communication builds.
In a similar vein, you may want to challenge your students to consider the place of technology in American ideology. Americans celebrated the 400-year year anniversary of Columbus's discovery of America by fantasizing about the "new world" that technology would create in the future. The White City was an inspiring glimpse of a clean, high-tech future. But did it present too rosy a view of technology and its impact? Our "Planning the Black City" activity will encourage your students to think about the mixed impact of technology on the Gilded Age.