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  • Do the exercises in your textbook, possibly skipping what's now out-of-date or redundant.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.

1 Response to “The History and The Future of the Internet -supplementing your business English textbook with video”

  • Anonymous says:
    March 06, 2009

    Quite impressive. I may use this lesson with my Electrical Engineering and Computer Science students too!


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