The History and The Future of the Internet -supplementing your business English textbook with video

internet map
As a Business English teacher, you've definitely stumbled across units in textbooks which use the history of the Internet as their introductory theme.

However, they're not always up-2-date or interactive, are they?

Not their fault - history isn't always that interesting especially when it's a subject which is still evolving.

But if you've been looking ahead, racking your brain, thinking about just how to jazz up your next lesson on the internet - yet keep the content and language you've got to teach - then here's an amazing documentary video produced by Melih Bilgil.

Mr Bilgil is a German freelance graphic designer - he made the video (using PICOL icons which he also created) for his diploma in graphic design at FH-Mainz University of Applied Sciences. You can pick up your own copy here (not sure how to download, come here).

One of the complaints revolving around this video is that it only goes up to the 1990's. See article on Time (which you can read yourself to help brief you so you can spice up the discussion with your students) :Brief history of the Internet

My rough lesson plan/ tips for a lesson on the History of the Internet would be:
  • Use the video as a pre-task activity before working with the textbook. There's a lot of great jargon which you can extract (or better yet, get your students to note down key business and IT words and phrases themselves).
  • Do the exercises in your textbook, possibly skipping what's now out-of-date or redundant.
  • Write the words "The Future of the Internet" on the board and challenge your students to fill in the blanks by talking about web2.0, web3.0 and web3D plus the developments they anticipate.
  • Present this slideshow from Slideshare:

  • Discuss the ideas presented - what do your students think - do they agree, disagree? Do they have any examples to put forth, opinions, fears?

Business English Textbooks that have internet related units:

  • InCompany, Intermediate, unit 13: Technology
  • InCompany, Intermediate, 2ndEdition, unit 13: Entering the blogosphere
  • InCompany, Upper Intermediate, unit 7: Information age
  • InCompany, Upper Intermediate, unit 18: Shaping the future
  • Intelligent Business, Upper Intermediate, unit 4: Information
  • International Express, Upper Intermediate, Unit 5: The Internet
  • IT Matters, Unit 4: The Internet
  • Market Leader, Upper Intermediate, unit 7: E-commerce
  • Market Leader, Intermediate, unit 13: Innovation
  • The Business, Upper Intermediate, Unit 2: IT Solutions
  • Technical English, Unit 12: Innovations
  • Do you know of any other books/units? Add them in the comments section.

If you're not using a textbook and would like to do this as a lesson:

***for IT students mainly, your normal groups might seriously go to sleep if you try doing this with them.
Upper Int/B2
  • Download and then split up the text you've chosen to use.
  • Divide students into pairs or groups, handing out different sections to different students to read - encourage them to highlight difficult vocabulary and check meanings.
  • While they're reading, put some or all of the following categories on the board:

~ Dates:
1957-1973 / 1974 - 1983 / 1984-1990 /
1991 - 1995 / 1996 +today
~ Uses of the internet
~ Global impact and cultural implications
~ Difficult terminology
~ Your own idea here
  • Get your students to walk around the room telling each other what they did/ learned about and what happened in those events.
  • Show the video.
  • Discuss.
  • Elicit answers on where the future of the internet's leading.
  • Show the slideshare.
  • Discuss - what was new, interesting?

Extending this lesson
  • Watch the video in detail, pausing often, looking for all collocations that go with the word: network. Then get your students to explain what the differences are between the phrases - basically teaching you the terminology!
  • Create a mural depicting the time-line/ evolution of the internet using items they learned from the video, using the language taught in the textbook and vocabulary and ideas from the slideshare. (Group activity, project work).
  • Use my SimplyConversationsTM and SimplyQuestTM material - question prompt cards and post-task activity: shop here
Technology - €1.99 (individual trainers) and €4,99 (institutes)
Email and the Internet - €1.49 and €3.99

Do you have another idea for exploiting these materials and turning them into a really effective and interesting lesson?

Share your tips with all of us by clicking on the comments button - if you've already created a great worksheet of your own (or stumbled across one on the 'net) and you'd like to pass on the details, link it here, (even if it's commercial) no problem, am happy for you to share!


p.s More blended learning/TwIT tips here (scroll down). More lesson tips, here
To print only this page, click on the title and then scroll down to the Eco-safe button and hit print as .pdf.

Your style, my style - our ways of speaking

Part one: the art of teaching conversation to language learners
Starting off with the basics is probably a very good place to kick off this series (of at least 7 parts).

Do you know who your students are?

Do you know what they like? Do you know their learning styles and how they learn?
fashion show TT1000216 by AxelBuehrmannKnowing a little bit about the way people learn anything at all is one part of being a really great conversation teacher.

In general, it's one of those essential life skills, however, when used for teaching English it can help you to unlock your students' great gabbing skills.

Because let's face it, despite the fact that when they are sitting in your classroom they may appear to be all quiet and shy, nervous and uncommunicative, when they're out there with their friends, families, across the boardroom table or with their lovers they probably aren't so very quiet.
In their own language.

And this is probably true, more or less, across cultures.
Okay, okay, maybe some of them are always quiet. But here are some reasons they might not be talking a lot in their English lessons:

* the subject you brought to class isn't interesting.
* they don't like you.
* you aren't teaching them in the way they want you to.

There are many more reasons than the above - hence this is only part 1 - more in the next postings.

For now let's have a look at:
“you aren't teaching them in the way they want you to.”
Don’t switch off the computer just yet, it’s not an attack of your teaching habits. We’ve all been there. The thing is, we teachers, sorry - we humans, often think that the way we do something is the way it is always done, and if not, it should be!
So be honest:

Are you teaching in a way that is
like how they learn,
or like how you learn?
Read through this list of learner styles and have a think, not only about your learners and where they fall into this list, but also yourself and the way that you teach. There is a doorway into getting your students actively conversing, this is one of the approaches that just might work for you:

Visual learners

learn most from things they see.
They love making pictures of new words & phrases and are happy organizing their new vocabulary into little card boxes (color-coded, of course) with little drawings or diagrams to help remember what the words mean.

They enjoy photography and art. Usually they have a good sense of direction and can read maps. When they explain something to someone else, they use a piece of paper so that they can show you what they are trying to say.

Auditory/Aural learners

ear by carbonnyc learn best from the things they hear.
They love music and often can sing well.
They listen to what other people have to say, enjoy audio books and when they are learning a language, they often hear the subtle differences in accents and pronunciation.
They use i-tunes to help them study, especially all the great podcasts.

Kinesthetic/ physical learners

joe navarro by pop!techlearn most effectively when they use their hands and body, when they touch something.

Usually this type of learner also really enjoys sports and exercise and is very active.
They often talk with their hands - are physically very expressive people and learn from doing.
Activity and movement are what gets these students fired up and interested.

Verbal people

saturatedwriting by tnarik
enjoy words.

They like writing things down, increasing and using their vocabulary. They like stories and storytelling.

And boy, do they ever love talking!

talking by sashafatcat They enjoy making speeches and listening to other people's ideas, expressing opinions.

They like words that rhyme, idioms and puns and usually they make an effort to really know the meaning of words they’re using.

mathhomework by doviende Logical people

really need life to make sense. They feel comfortable with security, with rules and systems and actually enjoy learning grammar – it helps them to understand the language and put it into a format.
They think about the placement of words.

They like knowing what’s coming next and being able to prepare –they need to know that what they’re learning is something they can use again in the future.

It goes without saying, right, that you can have visual learners who are verbal and visual learners who are logical.
The logical audio guys love Beethoven, the verbal audio guys like rap.

The next thing we'll have a look at is interpersonal and intrapersonal skills or attitudes. Here we’ll call them social learners and solitary learners:

Solitary learners prefer to study at home and feel good when they achieve something by themselves. They don't mind doing homework, actually like self-study books, think independently, enjoy quiet.
jakob by zach klein
They are pretty good at self-analysis (if they used this blog posting as an activity it would be pretty easy for them, they know their learning styles already).
It’s always a good idea to let them know in advance what you want from them and allow them time to prepare an answer.
Usually, if you hang on for a bit after asking a question, they will surprise you with very well-thought out answers.

Social learners love hanging out in groups and learning together, being a part of a class or community where they can share what they know.
boyintheclassroom by hoyasmeg
They pay attention to other people's feelings, enjoy making others laugh and learn. They love playing games and activities, doing projects where several people have to create something new, together.

More in the next postings:
Knowing about your students' styles can help you prepare dynamic and interesting lessons. You can get them chatting about the things they care about simply by paying attention to where the key fits and how to turn it.
I’ll be writing about activities to do with each style, discussing motivation in speaking, giving you a list of phrases inherent, making questions and having in-depth conversations, talking a little about cultural norms and how to provide good, measurable feedback to your language learners.

In the meantime don’t hesitate to give me your own feedback and help steer the direction of these postings by asking questions.

p.s Would you like your students to have a look at this and think about some of the issues presented?

Student version:

Part 2 on the art of teaching conversation to language learners,

More information:
See article that prompted this posting (by Jason West of Languages out there), here

Websites on learning styles:
Vark, a guide to learning styles
Learning styles online
Kolb’s learning styles on business

Books on learning styles:
Knowing Me, Knowing You: An Integrated Sociopsychology Guide to Personal Fulfilment & Better Relationships: An Integrated Socio-psychology Guide to Personal Fulfilment and Better Relationships

Knowing Me, Knowing You: Exploring Personality Type and Temperament

Helping Learners Learn: Exploring Strategy Instruction in Language Classrooms Across Europe (Language Learning (Ecml, Graz))

The Differentiated Classroom: Responding to the Needs of All Learners (Merrill Education/ASCD College Textbooks)

Learner-Centered Classroom Practices and Assessments: Maximizing Student Motivation, Learning, and Achievement

Seven things you probably don't know about me

I was tagged by Alex Case of TEFLtastic to write up a list of seven things you don't know and / or you probably don't want to know about me but as these things are quite fun I thought I'd give it a go.

1. When I was a little girl I thought I was a blood relative to or the reincarnation of Indiana Jones. I haven't ever really shaken that belief and have spent most of my life chasing adventure.

I have swum with sharks, climbed up and into volcanoes, stroked a maori wrasse (a fish) as if it were a puppy, fallen off a 75ft waterfall, lived through being tied to a mast in a violent thunderstorm aboard a 64ft ketch while we pulled the lifeboat back on board.

shamanSlept with a scorpion on the wall in a Thai buddhist monastery, ridden an elephant, took a bamboo raft down the Mekong, petted a llama, talked to people you normally only see in National Geographic, followed butterflies, hitched on the back of an onion truck across Sumbawa, spent a night in a church built in the 13th Century by the Knights Templar, fed fish to a dolphin and had a face2face with an orangutan in the wild jungles of Borneo.

I took the road less traveled off of the standard Camino de Frances along the St James' way / El Camino de Santiago and got lost too often to count.

However I discovered what it means to follow the stars and the simplicity of using the sun for directions (it's on your back in the morning, in front of you when you're traveling west).

I walked 700+km and made it to Santiago in 28 days.

2. I moved to Germany for the peace and quiet.

I got exactly that.

oscars3. When I grow up I am not going to be a novelist, like so many of my fellow TEFL comrades.

Instead, I am going to write movies and I'm going to win an Oscar before I am 70. Here's an animation film I worked on and here's something I did to entertain myself/ a gift for a friend.

I am not sure I want to grow up though. I'm almost 40 now and haven't really gotten around to this. Maybe when I'm 60.

4. I was asked last year to become an author of a new business English textbook. I turned it down because
a) it didn't pay very well
the Ed tried to use the standard 'Headway =look how much they made' example as an excuse for the poor advance and royalties
c) my blogs keep me pretty busy in between all my lessons and
I don't want to write textbooks!

I love my blogs and my website and making materials to support these activities because I love teaching English. Yar, yar, scoffers - it's not the best paid job in the world but it just might be the most fun.

I enjoy sharing my knowledge, however, mostly I just like the independence and making learning as exciting and interesting as possible.

Although I use textbooks (not always) and have a great deal of respect for their authors, a textbook would probably not let me, personally, continue to do that. I would consider contributing to something like The art, methodology and psychology of conversation but I'm not really qualified to do this, yet.

5. When I was a teenager I was given an intelligence test, designed for Americans, not for Caribs like me - somehow I managed to get into the top 5% of all students.

A friend, at the time, who didn't get the same who's who letter in the mail, despite the fact she was pulling all A's and I wasn't, told me they had made a mistake.

They may have.

IQI actually don't think much of grades, levels, intelligence tests or, in fact, exams in general. My sincere belief is outrageously that we should do away with all that baloney and tom-phooey and get on with learning and teaching for the sake of learning and teaching.

There will always be mixed-level, mixed-style, mixed-intelligence type classes, punkt.

6. I don't enjoy television - it's a major time-sink.

I do really enjoy a good HBO series, though, like The Wire or Desperate Housewives and am more than happy to fork over the cash to buy the DVDs (or swapsies) so that I can opt for watching it whenever I want to and not have the box in the room tell me when and where.

I mostly entertain myself with the internet, youtube and blogs - not just TEFL related ones ;-).

swanI read incredibly quickly and can finish a Harry Potter in a couple of days, the Swarm took 3.5.

Most novels are done within a couple of hours. This reading habit became way too expensive so I switched to reading business, methodology, pop-science/socio-cultural tomes and autobiographies - it takes a lot longer to figure out what's going on on the page.

I'm a big fan of Seth Godin and Malcolm Gladwell and can't wait to read Outliers.

Currently working my way through and enjoying Nassim Taleb's Black Swan. And if you're teaching advanced ESP:financials/investor types, give it/ get them to give it a go.

7. For my 70th birthday, in honor of my Oscar, of course, and because I am just dying to do this - I want to ride in a space shuttle so that I can see the world as a green and blue marble.

I am convinced that it is even more beautiful that it appears to be in the photos.


That's it!

So now, on to my seven great ELTers = I call on

Rules = write a list of seven things (okay, Lindsay write 6) about yourself as per above, tag the person who tagged you and then find seven other bloggers (who haven't done this activity yet) and tag them too.

For further inspiration, check out: Nik Peachey's, Gavin Dudeney's, Graham Stanley's, Seth Dickens's, and David V's.


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