Lesson: SWITCHED ON (A2 level)

A2 level. Main focus: You’re going to practise some computer related vocabulary and learn some collocations.

Start here, and click on the links if you want more information about anything in the lesson.

Talk with your teacher or with a partner about your answers. This is really important if you want to practise your speaking.

1.  What do we call the things in the pictures?

Photos 1-5 of electrical equipment
(Photos: Raimond Spekking, FF UK, Stuart Mudie, evanrudemi, cea +)

The answers are here.

2. Which of the words from Exercise 1 can also be a verb? What’s the past tense of these verbs?

The answers are here.

3. You’re going to watch a video clip from the 1980s about a new kind of technology.

– Before we listen, let’s just explain a few brand names that you’ll hear:

  • Database a TV programme about technology.
  • British Telecom the biggest telecommunications company in the United Kingdom.
  • Prestel the brand name for computer equipment sold by the Post Office in the United Kingdom in the 1980s and early 90s.

Now watch the video from the start to 3:15.

Think about these questions as you watch:

  1. What was the new technology?
  2. What did these people use it for?

My answers are here.

4. Think about these questions:

What were the differences between this network in 1984 and the internet of today? Are there any things which are the same today as in 1984?

Now tell your partner. Don’t forget to use past tense. You could also use ‘used to + base verb’.

For more about talking about differences and similarities, click here.

I’ve put some answers here.

5.  Read the following sentences.

(Example). I simply remove the telephone jack from the telecom socket and plug it into this box here – the modem – and then take another wire from the modem and _____  ______  ______  where the telephone was.

  1. The computer asked me if I want to log on and it’s now telling me to ______  ______ the main Prestel computer.
  2. It asks for the tone, and then I just ______   _______   _______ on the modem and replace the receiver.
  3. The Prestel computer is now asking me to enter my own personal password, which I have now done, and it ______   _______   _______ an opening screen.
  4. There’s a letters page so people can ________   ________.
  5. Some of them are free; some you do have to ________   ________.

Listen again to 0:00 – 3:15 and add the right words in the spaces.

Here’s the example again: I simply remove the telephone jack from the telecom socket and plug it into this box here – the modem – and then take another wire from the modem and plug it in where the telephone was.

You’ll find the answers here.

6. The words you added in part 5 were ‘phrasal verbs’ or collocations.

A collocation is a group of words that often go together. These can be verbs and prepositions, but also nouns and other types of word.

– Which verb collocates with ‘a switch’?

A phrasal verb is a special type of collocation. It’s usually made up of a verb + one or two prepositions.

Example:   plug in   (plug is the verb, in is the preposition).

You need the preposition, or the meaning will be different:

to plug = to fill a hole

Photo of an old boat
Someone should plug the holes in this boat!

to plug (something) in = to connect (something) to the electricity.

Two kettles, not plugged into the electricity
If you want hot water you’ll need to plug it in!

With collocations and phrasal verbs, there is no list of rules like with grammar. The best way to learn them is just to keep practising until you know them!

See if you can fit the words from Part 5 into these sentences. You might need to switch between present, past and future tenses:

  1. The trains have been late every day this month! I am going to _______ _______ to the newspaper about this because it’s not good enough!
  2. I had to reinstall the app because it ________ ________ ________ an error every time I opened it.
  3. My boss is very kind – she _______ _______ my family holiday last summer.
  4. ‘Oh, hello, I’m just _______ ________ to check if you’ve sent my new modem. It hasn’t arrived yet but I had an email a week ago to say you sent it’.
  5. Using this machine is very easy. You just ________ the ________ and it starts.

The answers and another exercise are here.

7.  You’re now going to read the transcript of the video.

– Can you find prepositions which collocate with these verbs?

  • to link
  • to connect
  • to remove
  • to leave
  • to use

– And which verb collocates with these nouns in the video?

  • your password
  • the receiver

SWITCHED ON transcript

Here’s your link for the answers.

8. Here’s a picture of another old machine. Can you guess what it is?

Photo by Joe Haupt

Here are some clues:

  • It makes a lot of noise.
  • Some modern ones have a shape like this, but usually they are much taller.
  • It will be a lot harder to keep your house clean if you don’t have one of these!

Can you guess it now?

If you can’t, the answer is here.

Now you’re going to show your partner some old machines and help him or her to guess what these machines are.

If you’ve got your own phone or tablet, it’s a good idea to use this now because you will be looking at a different machine from your partner.

Person A, you can start here.

Person B, start here.

If you’ve enjoyed this lesson, please leave a comment! We’d love to hear from you.

Creative Commons Licence
Lesson: SWITCHED ON by the owners of englishin3d.net is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at https://englishin3d.net/about/.

For information about the photos used in this lesson, click here.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s