Electric Dreams: Gadgets from the Past


In the BBC documentary Electric Dreams, a British family and their home are stripped of all modern technology to live a life of decades past. They start out in the year 1970, and for each new day (= new year), they are given new technology that was launched that particular year. We follow the family through three decades and three episodes (one hour each): the 1970s, the '80s and the '90s.

This material uses the TV show as a starting point. The students are then to choose an electrical or electronic gadget from the last decades and make a presentation about its purpose, use, target group and success. The first mobile phone? The toaster? The VHS player? The Walkman? The Playstation? The Tamagotchi? The Gameboy? It's up to them!

Through this task, the students learn about the development of modern technology, expand their vocab and, hopefully, have some fun on the way!

See the appendix for more details.

Electric Dreams. BBC documentary. You could choose to show all three episodes, one of them or just an excerpt.
Project: do research, plan a presentation.

Oral presentation with follow-up questions.

Classroom with a pc and projector.
Student computers with internet access.
Gadgets from the past you or the students happen to have at home.