Leigh Davidson Leigh Davidson

The Internet of Things
Upper-Intermediate to Advanced level


In this lesson Ss will discuss the advantages and disadvantages we all face in today's hyper-technological world, with our ever-increasing interconnectedness through our smart-technology gadgets (e.g. smart phones, smart cars, smart refrigerators, etc.). The discussion will focus on technological things and technologies from the 20th and 21st centuries. A reading activity will be included, towards the end of the lesson, assisting Ss in defining the phenomenon known as 'The Internet of Things.' If time is available, the lesson will be wrapped up with a dystopian short film titled 'Sight'--on augmented reality and the dangers of having too much (including yourself) connected to the 'Internet of Things.'


Main Aims

  • To provide Ss with the opportunity for freer speaking practice on the topic of technology, its various ever-increasing applications to our everyday life, and its general advantages and disadvantages to consumers like the Ss.

Subsidiary Aims

  • To provide Ss with the opportunity to practice their gist and detailed reading skills, within the context of the phenomenon known as 'The Internet of Things.'


Warmer/Lead-in (8-10 minutes) • To set lesson context and engage students

Write on the WB "6 Things I Can't Live Without." Elicit from the Ss their answers to this list. Write on the WB. Based off of the answers, highlight the prevalence of electronics in the list. Share the 'bare necessities' (write on the WB) poll, taken by Disney in 2016 for the release of the "Jungle Book." British respondents listed in the top 6 'television, fast Internet connection, Iphone, daily shower, pair of glasses, and central heating' (write on the WB). Have the Ss respond to this poll. "Are these results surprising to you or not?" Focus again on the electronic items within the list. "Why is television, Internet connection, and Iphone in the top 3 of this list?"

Productive Task: Smartphone (19-24 minutes) • To provide an opportunity to practice target productive skills

Write on the WB "Smartphone." "What do you all use your smartphones for?" Write on the WB some of the Ss' answers. "Do you think that your life is easier because of your smartphone? Why or why not?" Try to elicit from the Ss their memory of the first time that they received, or bought, a smartphone. Describe cell-phones before the smartphone. "What do you think people used to do before smartphones (e.g. taking and sharing pictures, keeping in touch with the office, answering a question)?" After WC FB, ask the following question: "What do you think smartphones have replaced--what technology have smartphones made obsolete?" Write Ss' answers on the WB. Possible answers can include: GPS navigation devices, landlines, answering machines, books, pocket foreign language dictionary, payphones, scanners, radio, point-and-shoot cameras, camcorders, alarm clocks, voice recorders, iPod and other digital music players, calculators, maps, bank ATMs, and eventually televisions and credit and debit cards. Organize the Ss into groups. Write on the WB under "Smartphone" "Positive" and "Negative." Instruct the Ss to discuss and write down 5 positive consequences and 5 negative consequences resulting from the role smartphones now play in almost every person's life. Following group discussion, bring everyone together for WC FB. Write the Ss answers down on the WB. Focus on the negative consequences of smartphones (specifically 'security' and 'privacy' if it is mentioned). Highlight the journalist hacking scandel (in the UK), the tracking options each app has, and Edward Snowden and the NSA (National Security Agency). Ask from the Ss if anyone is familiar with the book "1984." If no one responds, provide a brief synopsis. Elicit from the Ss whether or not they think that modern technology has made George Orwell's novel come true. Why or why not?

Productive Task: 20th Century Technologies (15-18 minutes) • To provide an opportunity to practice target productive skills

Write on the WB "Technologies of the 20th Century." Project images of 10 of the major technologies of the 20th Century. Elicit from the Ss what they know about these inventions/technologies and how they are used in the world today. Divide the WC into groups and have them come up with what they think are the 5 most influential technologies invented and/or introduced in the 20th Century. Instruct the groups to also discuss their reasons (their argument) for why they think the technologies that they list are most influential? Have some of the groups share their list. Write some of the group lists on the WB. Ask for the rational behind why they included what they did in their list. From everything that is discussed, what does the WC think is the most important invention, and why?

Productive Task: What Would Life Be Like? (12-15 minutes) • To provide an opportunity to practice target productive skills

Inform the Ss that you are taking them on an alternative journey. "Imagine if not all (or none) of these influential technologies had ever been invented. What would life be like if rocketry, antibiotics, and nuclear power, for example, had never invented?" Provide the HO on 'What Would Life Be Like?' and have the Ss brainstorm and discuss, in groups, their thoughts on the topic and the specific inventions/technologies and things listed in the HO. Bring the groups back together for WC FB.

Productive Task: Internet of Things (26-28 minutes) • To provide an opportunity to practice target productive skills

Write on the WB "Internet of Things." Distribute the HO on the "Internet of Things." In pairs, have the Ss read the article and answer the question, "What is the Internet of Things?" Bring the WC together for FB and to verify comprehension. In the same pairs, have the Ss look at and complete a chart on things connected to the Internet. Have the Ss discuss what might be some of the possible uses of the listed items, if they were connected to the Internet, and what would be the advantages and disadvantages of having these things connected to the Internet. Complete the first item with the WC. Bring the pairs together for WC FB. Focus attention back on the phenomenon of the 'Internet of Things' and elicit from the Ss what they think might be some 'unintended consequences' related to the ever-increasing interconnectedness of the 'Internet of Things.' Refer the Ss back to the article. Write the Ss' answers on the WB. Under the Ss' answers, write on the WB the following problems connected with the 'Internet of Things' and digital connectivity--"Privacy; Internet costs; Less control of life; Laziness; Machine-made mistakes; Loss of jobs; Machines taking over; and Hackers." As a WC, decide which of these is the biggest and worst challenge we may face and why.

IF TIME Productive Task: Sight, A Short Film (26-30 minutes) • To provide an opportunity to practice target productive skills

Focus on the digital connectivity issues of privacy, less control of one's life, and hackers--what was discussed in the previous section. Inform the WC that they are going to watch a short film on the dangers of digital connectivity and the 'Internet of Things.' "The title of this film is called 'Sight.' Any guesses on 'what' is connected to the Internet in this film?" Instruct the Ss, while watching this film, to make notes on the advantages and disadvantages of the technology that the film shows. Youtube: Sight https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lK_cdkpazjI Following a viewing of the film, instruct the Ss, in groups, to discuss what they wrote in their notes (on the advantages and disadvantages of the film's technology). Bring the WC together for FB. Ask the following probing questions: --"Would you like to have 'Sight'? Why or why not?" --"What would you use 'Sight' for?" --"How could 'Sight' be misused?" --"Do you think that a device like 'Sight' is possible in the future?" If Ss answer 'yes' to this question, "How do you feel about that possibility?"

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