Prior to the chat, with our new friends in Britain, we did some in class preparation. We started by checking out the website of the Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI). Then we by watching a video that they sent over to us as a preview for the video chat. We defined all of the terms Jamie used when describing the process of spinning the wool. Once we had the new vocab defined we created some possible questions that we could ask during the video chat. We tried to use as much of our new vocab as possible in the questions.
I got a lot of information from the chat. For instance, I learned that cleaning under the threads was the most dangerous job. Often owners took in orphans and had them do that job. They fed them and gave them a place to sleep in exchange for their work. Due to poor conditions and lots of cotton dust, many women got sick. Unsanitary practices also helped to spread disease around the mills faster. These were the downsides to an increase in speed and production of spun cotton. Originally men had to manually push the loom in order to get weaving done, but now it is mechanized. The mechanization made it so that women could now do this job instead of men. This was advantageous to owners because they could pay women less. These poor conditions led to shorter life expectancies. Also, women could have trouble giving birth to children because their pelvis was pushed in from standing at the mill all day. One thing I learned about being a curator was that people ask you a lot of weird things if you wear a shirt that says "Ask me a question". I hadn't realized how much the explainers had to know in order to get their job.
Overall, I think having an outside source who knew what they were talking about definitely helped me to learn more. It was nice to talk with someone who specialized in this era/topic. The one thing I didn't like was that he was hard to understand. I personally felt like he had a Scottish or Irish accent rather than a British one... Other than that, I thought everything went really well. I think it would be a good idea to do this again at another point in the school year. It can be very beneficial to hear someone who specializes on a topic's opinion.