Computers

"The computer was born to solve problems that did not exist before."

Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft
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This free ESL lesson plan on computers has been designed for adults and young adults at an intermediate (B1/B2) to advanced (C1/C2) level and should last around 45 to 60 minutes for one student.

Computers control much of the world we live in including running businesses, operating hospitals and flying planes. They are vital for our day-to-day lives and to help us perform our jobs. A person who doesn’t know how to use a computer will find themselves increasingly isolated from the world, and it is becoming more and more important to have advanced computer skills. In the future, computer programming and software developing skills may even be as important as learning English to advance your career. In this ESL lesson plan on computers, students will have the opportunity to discuss and express their opinions on issues such as their computer skills, how they use computers and what the future of computers could be.

This lesson plan could also be used with your students to debate these issues for World Computer Literacy Day, which takes place in December. For more lesson plans on international days and important holidays, see the calendar of world days to plan your classes for these special occasions.

For advice on how to use this English lesson plan and other lesson plans on this site, see the guide for ESL teachers.

PRE-CLASS ACTIVITIES

Reading activity
Before the English class, send the following article to the students and ask them to read it while making a list of any new vocabulary or phrases they find (explain any the students don’t understand in the class):

The Balance Careers | Important Computer Skills for Workplace Success

The article lists a number of computer skills that are useful for the workplace and your career, including digital marketing, graphic design, and IT troubleshooting. At the start of the class, hold a brief discussion about what the students thought about the article. What do they think about the issues raised in the article? Do they agree with what was said? Can they think of any ways they might add to the content of the article?

Video activity
To save time in class for the conversation activities, the English teacher can ask the students to watch the video below and answer the listening questions in Section 3 of the lesson plan at home. There are intermediate listening questions and advanced listening questions so teachers can decide which would be more appropriate for their students. Check the answers in the class.

The video for this class is called “Quantum Computers Explained – Limits of Human Technology” by Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell which looks at how quantum computers work, and how they will be used in the future.

Courtesy of kurzgesagt.org

IN-CLASS ACTIVITIES

The focus in the class is on conversation in order to help improve students’ fluency and confidence when speaking in English as well as boosting their vocabulary.

This lesson opens with a short discussion about the article the students read before the class. Next, the students can give their opinion on the quote at the beginning of the lesson plan – what they think the quote means and if they agree with it. This is followed by an initial discussion on the topic including the difference between a desktop and laptop, the best brands of computer, and how the students learned to use a computer.

After this, students will learn some vocabulary connected with computers such as computer literate, specifications and update. This vocabulary has been chosen to boost the students’ knowledge of less common vocabulary that could be useful for preparing for English exams like IELTS or TOEFL. The vocabulary is accompanied by a cloze activity and a speaking activity to test the students’ comprehension of these words.

If the students didn’t watch the video before the class, they can watch it after the vocabulary section and answer the listening questions. Before checking the answers, ask the students to give a brief summary of the video and what they thought about the content.

Finally, there is a more in-depth conversation about computers. In this speaking activity, students will talk about issues such as how computers have changed over their lifetimes, negative aspects of owning a computer, and the importance of computer skills for future jobs.

HOMEWORK

After the class, students will write about their opinion of computers. This could be a short paragraph or a longer piece of writing depending on what level the student is at. The writing activity is designed to allow students to practise and improve their grammar with the feedback from their teacher. For students who intend to take an international English exam such as IELTS or TOEFL, there is an alternative essay question to practise their essay-writing skills.

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