The Internet age

The inspiration

This lesson has been a loooong time coming. I mean  teachers know how generational the lessons are on this topic. They are all done by baby boomers who were born in the 50’s because the language covered is so intuitive to most of my students that it basically has to be skipped. I haven’t managed to find a single decent lesson that is internet related out there. If there is one, please share in the comments below I’d love to use it. This lesson is a followup to the Media lesson, which can also be used in relation to this or in combination with this one. You can also combine it with the artificial intelligence lesson and the exercises from it.

So this lesson comes from inspiration to improve on the content(more advanced) and to bring to the forefront the topics that are really being discussed in the 21st century right now regarding the impact the internet has on our lives. As usual my focus is on speaking and vocabulary, since that is what most of my students want these days. So let’s make something happen.

lesson time: 60min

Vocabulary covered

Browse, Navigate, Links, surf, templates, server, hit(s), access, database, user-friendly, to visit a site, content, Big Data, The Internet of Things (iOT), Artificial intelligence (AI), Search Engine Optimization (SEO), E-commerce, Blog, Vlog, Influencer, Blockchain, Information overload, Digital currency, UX design, UI design, back-end and front-end.

You can use a Padlet for the collage, give students the URL address and ask them to comment or add their own image for each image. The link has a padlet I created for this lesson with the ideas, use it as you see fit, here is peak of what it offers:

Made with Padlet

This would be the most straightforward way and will get some interesting responses. Alternatively, these words can be introduced by simply having them in a list form and asking students to check which they know. You can attach one sentence definitions, scramble them and ask them to match or you can prepared a collage of images for some of them and ask students to match the words to the appropriate image.  This lesson is meant to be an introduction but you can go on tangents here with ‘information overload’ for instance: How does ‘information overload’ affect you personally?

More information will be available in the next decade as has been discovered in the whole of  human history. In 2003 the World Wide Web contained 170 terabytes* of information on it’s surface, while the deep Web was at that time thought to be up to 540 times larger (91,850 terabytes).

*1 terabyte is roughly equivalent to the amount of text printed on 40.25 million sheets of paper.

Teacher notes

You can start the lesson a couple of ways. One is with images and quotes on the the topic of the internet. Below are a couple I found with a simple google search:

discussion starterdiscussion starter for ESL lessoninternet discussion starter for a lesson

You can project these on the board or make copies and pass them out. Get students to briefly discuss what these quotes are referring to and what their thoughts are on it. Alternatively, you can write ‘Internet’ on  the board and brainstorm with the class what comes to mind when they think of the word. Write all the words on the board in a spidergram around the main word. This serves two purposes – to see how students think about the internet and to springboard the discussion. This is where you can introduce some ideas of your own that they missed, here are some:

Big Data, The Internet of Things (iOT), Artificial intelligence (AI), Search Engine Optimization (SEO), E-commerce, Blog, Vlog, Influencer, Blockchain, Information overload, Digital currency

It’s very possible that you yourself  might not know much about some of these. However you can just do some simple research on them or use only the ones you know about. These are all connected with the information revolution and so are very pertinent in today’s society, culture and workplace.

Here is a link to my Pinterest page with some graphics you can utilize in the classroom:

If you choose to introduce the words above you can give them to students one lesson before this one and ask them to research them and come with some notes to class. This way everyone is prepared for discussion. Have some questions related to the words:

How does ioT/big data/AI/Blockchain affect our lives? What are the implications for our future?

Do these developments excite you or worry you? What is the potential and what is the concern?

How susceptible are we to misinformation on the internet?

Speaking Questions

  • How important is the internet in your life? Why?
  • What do you find the most useful about it?
  • What sites do you visit most often?
  • How many websites do you visit regularly/irregularly/on average?
  • What’s your favorite website?
  • Do you care about a websites design? What aspects matter?
  • Are you fascinated by the internet? Do you feel guilty if you spend too much time on the net?
  • Is the internet purely a source of entertainment and/or productivity tool? What’s it’s main purpose for you?
  • Is it addicting?
  • Do you think the internet is dangerous? How?
  • Are you worried about being watched or someone collecting your personal data?
  • What are the benefits and drawbacks of internet sites collecting data on you?
  • How will the internet change in the future? How do you hope it will change?

Additional Speaking topic

  1. How does using the internet affect your relationships with family and friends? is it positive or negative?
  2. How hard is it to resist checking your social media when you are out with friends or family or at work? Does this impact your behavior?
  3. Have social networks and the internet helped you be closer to your friends and family? How?
  4. Do people expect you to be available whenever they contact you? How difficult is it to keep up with group chats, messenger apps, social media posts, tweets, instagram stories and emails?
  5. How often do you look at your phone when you’re meeting other people in a cafe or bar?
  6. Do you think there are long-term affects to spending too much time on the internet and social networks?

Like this lesson idea? There are many more and plenty to come. If you don’t want to miss these or my videos and blog posts on teaching tips just submit your email for my monthly newsletter. Or click on the links here to check out more.

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