The Internet

“I hope we will use the Net to cross barriers and connect cultures”

Sir Tim Berners-Lee, British inventor of the World Wide Web
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LESSON OVERVIEW

This free ESL lesson plan on the Internet 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.

The advent of the Internet revolutionised the world and is now present in every aspect of our lives. There is almost nothing we do that does not somehow involve the Internet. In many ways, this has made our lives easier, especially with regards to accessing much more useful information, often in real time. But as with every other technological revolution that came before, the Internet has brought with it its own problems. We have new categories of crime to worry about, our personal information is at risk, and the information we find online can often be misleading at best, and dangerous at worse. In this ESL lesson plan on the Internet, students will have the opportunity to discuss and express their opinions on issues such as how it works, how it’s changed the world, and how it might be considered dangerous.

This lesson plan could also be used with your students to debate these issues for Safer Internet Day, which takes place in February, World Telecommunication and Information Society Day, which takes place in May, or International Internet Day, which takes place in October. 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):

UNICEF | How to keep your child safe online while stuck at home during the COVID-19 outbreak

The article gives a number of pieces of advice on how to keep children safe online, including talking to them about who they communicate with, spending time together with them while they are online, and encouraging healthy online habits. 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 “What is the world wide web?” by TED Ed which explains the how the internet works, including how webpages are stored and viewed.

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 how much time the students spend on the Internet, what they use the Internet for, and how the Internet has changed the way people communicate.

After this, students will learn some vocabulary connected with the Internet such as surf the net, dark web and cyberbullying. 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 the Internet. In this speaking activity, students will talk about issues such as internet security, how the Internet has been used to manipulate people, and how the Internet will change in the future.

HOMEWORK

After the class, students will write about their opinion of the Internet. 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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