14. Technology


Part 1-style questions

Examiner: Do you enjoy using technology?
Stephan: Well … I wouldn’t call myself a techie or a computer buff but I enjoy using computers … I’d like to find out more about  how they work … when my computer crashes I never know what to do.

  • a computer buff: an expert computer user
  • a techie: somebody who has an interest in technology
  • to crash: to suddenly stop working

Examiner: Do you use the Internet for your studies?
Sophie: Yes … I’d be lost without it … I do lots of video conferencing to practise speaking and social media like Facebook is a good way to meet up with other students … and I download podcasts that teach English vocabulary and grammar.

  • video conferencing: to see and hear people from different locations using the Internet
  • social media: media used to interact with other people such as Facebook or Twitter
  • download (podcasts): to save a copy of a file from the internet to your own device

Examiner: Do you have your own computer?
Tania: Yes … I have a Macbook Pro … I use it all the time … for word processing … browsing websites and catching up with TV programmes I’ve missed.

  • word processing; producing written texts on a computer
  • to browse websites: to look at websites


Part 2-style task

Describe an item of technology you have that is very important. You should say:

  • what the technology is
  • when you got it
  • how often you use it

and say how different your daily life would be without it.

Mattie: I don’t have many gadgets … just a computer … a laptop and my mobile phone … but I’ll talk about my computer as it’s so useful … it’s funny really … 2 years ago I was still learning to use computers … how to use email … send attachments how to access websites … then I decided to do a digital editing course for video and photography … and so I bought the laptop when I started the course  …  my husband had a desktop PC but it was very slow so I decided to upgrade to a powerful one because we do a lot of video editing on the course … it’s a high-spec laptop … very fast … the latest operating system … it boots up really quickly and it’s  fun to use so it makes working a pleasure … I’ve become a competent computer user now … if I didn’t have it I daresay I’d have to spend more time at college using their computers … but on the positive side I suppose I’d read a lot more if I didn’t have it  …  I probably waste a lot of time surfing the web … but hopefully I won’t have to be without it …

  • to access websites/email: to locate
  • a gadget: a technological tool like a mobile phone or camera
  • send an attachment: send an email with an accompanying file
  • a desktop PC: a computer that isn’t portable and remains in situ on a desk
  • digital editing: to edit digital materials like audio or video files
  • to upgrade: to obtain a more powerful or feature-rich computer or piece of software
  • to boot up: to start a computer
  • high-spec (laptop): powerful computer with top quality components
  • operating system: the software that tells the computer how to work
  • to surf the web: to look at a series of websites one after the other

Part 3-style questions

Examiner: What do you think are the important things people need to learn when they start using computers?
Alejandro: Well … there are things like how to use the Internet  … how to enter a web address … how to navigate websites … that kind of thing but it’s also important to know how to back up your files in case your computer crashes … and all about Internet security.

  • to back up files: to make a copy of files in case of a computer problem
  • to enter a web address: to type the address of a website into the address bar of your browser
  • Internet security: Internet safety
  • to navigate a website: to find your way around a website

Examiner: What kind of technological developments have made the biggest impact on our lives?
Faydene: In my lifetime it has to be the Internet of course but I also think wifi has made a huge difference to how we interact with the Internet … wireless networks at home and public wifi hotspots mean we can go online easily … access our mail … log into our work intranet and basically be connected wherever we are.

  • wifi hotspot: a public place where you can access the Internet
  • wireless network: a network where users can access the Internet without the use of fixed cables
  • to go online: to start using the Internet
  • intranet: a network of connected computers within an organisation that is not accessible by unauthorised visitors

Examiner: Do computers make it much easier to study?
Jane: Definitely yes … researching information is much easier with the Internet .. you can bookmark webpages for future reference and writing essays is much easier … being able to cut and paste sections of text means you can experiment with organisation … so yes … compared to years ago when you had a pile of books on your desk and a pen and paper … it’s now much easier.

  • to bookmark a webpage: to mark a webpage for future reference
  • to cut and paste: to move text or images from one place in a document to another place


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