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ESL Technology Discussion Questions

Instructor: Yolanda Reinoso Barzallo

Yolanda holds a CELTA Cambridge, a Juris Doctorate, and a Master of Public Administration. She is a published author of fiction in Spanish.

Technology is part of most people's daily lives. Therefore, this lesson's questions about technology can get students very engaged while they practice oral or writing skills.

Easy to Engage Students

These days, people can hardly imagine their lives without a cell phone, a computer, etc. So it shouldn't be difficult to engage your students in discussions about technology. You can probably get students talking with a simple introductory question:

  • How would your life be if all technology no longer worked?

After students give their answers, they can answer any of the questions in this lesson through oral discussion or in writing. You, as the teacher, can decide which skill you prefer your students to practice.

Each activity in this lesson includes an introduction you can use to stimulate students' interest. After students answer each discussion question, they can compare their answers and discuss them.

Your Life Without Your Phone

Paint a hypothetical situation of cell phones no longer working. For example, there is a major global failure that destroys all cell phones' reception devices. It can take a while before the situation is restored. The question for this activity is:

  • How would your daily life change if cell phones no longer worked? Describe some situations when you use your cell phone and how you would deal with them in the absence of a cell phone.

After Computer Hours

Ask your students about the number of hours they spend in front of a computer, whether that is for fun, learning, social networking, etc. The question for this activity is:

  • How do you usually feel after spending a few hours in front of your computer? Describe both your mental and physical state and include why you think you feel that way.

Good and Bad Uses of Technology

Present this quote by Steve Jobs to your students: Technology is nothing. What's important is that you have a faith in people that they're basically good and smart, and if you give them tools, they'll do wonderful things with them.

This quote is the basis for this question:

  • What good and bad things do people do with the technology they possess nowadays? Give examples and discuss how some actions affect others in a positive or negative manner.

School Work Without the Internet

Ask your students to talk about the last time they were at a library. They can talk about the book(s) they were searching, the topic, etc. You could tell students that, before the Internet, a library was the primary place where students searched for information to do school work, learn, read, etc.

After, students can answer this question:

  • How would you go about finding information at a library if you had no Internet access? Describe the steps you would take to find a specific book and topic.

Printed or Digital Materials

Your students can talk about the last time they read a printed book, magazine, or newspaper and think about how it compares to reading the same material in digital format.

Next, students can answer this question:

  • Do you think digital format will replace all printed material in the future? Yes or no. Why?

More Communication with Technology?

You can present your students with a hypothetical situation that is not uncommon. Two friends meet at a cafe and they barely talk. Instead, they spend 80% of their time together texting someone else out there. Ask students if they have observed similar situations and to describe them. They could talk about themselves in that situation.

Next, students can answer this question:

Some people believe that, too often, technology unites people who are far away from each other but separates those who are close by. Do you agree with this? Explain your reasons.

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