Friday, September 16, 2011

Mlearning an Advanced Conversation Class - Technology

Technology, Google Search, IQ readers, Augmented reality, Web2.o4ed

A. Choose from the box below the statements that are true to you and share them with your partner. Expand on each statement by providing more pieces of information:
I love my cell phone, and I can’t see myself without it.
I’m really interested in mobile learning.
I never have to use technology in my job.
I know what QR codes are, and I have used them.
I know what augmented reality is, and I think it is very useful.
I’m a good online searcher. I can get any piece of information I need without any struggle.
I have to be updated in terms of the latest advances in technology
I avoid using computers and information technology as much as I can.
I have heard about web2.0, but I’m not sure what it means.
I don’t know how to use information technology for educational purposes.
I’d never take an online course.
I try to spend less time as I can in front of a computer.
I know how to use twitter very well, and I see great advantages regarding its use.
I think information technology is changing the world in a positive way.
I don’t understand the fuss about Facebook.
I have lived very well without so much in-your-face technology, and II wish we could go back some years

B. You’ll watch different videos. Get together with other people who watched the same part as you and paraphrase the main ideas.





C. You will read an article from Newsweek about computers. Read the title and the opening and try to guess what the article will talk about.


How Computers Just Got More Human

Scientists at IBM have created a new computer chip that mimics the processes in a human brain. Dan Lyons on how this breakthrough could produce smarter, more efficient computers.


D. Read the text to confirm your predictions. Then answer the questions from memory.


As computers go, it’s pretty hard to beat the human brain. That three-pound lump of gray matter contains 100 billion neurons and 100 trillion synapses, or connections. It operates as a massively parallel computer, yet it uses just a tiny bit of energy. To recreate this machine in silicon you’d have to build a supercomputer that weighs hundreds of tons, fills a football field and requires so much electricity that it would take down the power grid. Oh, and it would probably cost you a few billion dollars.Yet for an elite band of computer scientists the quest to reverse-engineer the brain represents the Mount Everest of computing, the biggest challenge out there. And in recent weeks a team of scientists at IBM has taken a small but significant step forward.

The IBMers announced that they’d managed to create an actual silicon processor that mimics the way the human brain works and can even learn, sort of. Next they’re going to start trying to hook these chips together to form computers that will be radically different from today’s machines. “What we have created are the seeds of an entirely new computing architecture,” says Dharmendra Modha, who oversees IBM’s Cognitive Computing effort, which produced this breakthrough.

The new machines won’t replace the kind of computers we use today, Modha says, but rather will complement them and enable scientists to solve different problems for which traditional computers are not well suited. “Today’s computers will be with us in perpetuity. We’re going after other kinds of tasks,” he says.

Today’s computers are “left brain” machines, Modha says. They’re great at crunching lots of numbers really fast and analyzing data. But they’re lousy at “right brain” tasks like pattern recognition. A new kind of computer could do things like predict tsunamis by tracking millions of sensors strung around the globe.

Huge obstacles exist, of course. The chips that IBM has made still use traditional semiconductor materials. That’s great for a prototype. But ultimately IBM will need to design new chips, using new materials, that draw a lot less power. Another issue is software. Nobody has experiencing writing programs that can operate in parallel across billions of cores.


1. What advantages does the human brain present when compared to computers?

2. What is considered the Mount Everest of computing?

3. What has IBM announced recently?

4. What is the difference between the left and the right side of the brain?

5. Who will write programs for this new generation of computers?

F. Look at the expressions and phrases underlined in the text and talk to your partner. Refer back to the text and try to explain what they mean.

1. (To be) pretty hard to beat
2. It would take down the power grid
3. Reverse-engineer
4. The seeds
5. Breakthrough
6. (To be) not well suited
7. Another issue is…

G. You’ll take a web2.0 quiz. While you answer write down any interesting piece of information you come across.

How many of the tools can you use for work?

Go to a web2.0 library and choose one to explore. Be prepared to tell your group about it and how you could use it at work or for learning English.

H. Discuss these questions with a partner. Be prepared to tell the class the most significant points in your discussion.

1. What do you do in order to learn?

2. What do you remember of what you learned last week? Last term?
Last year? When you went to school?

3. What have you learned since you left school?

4. What have you learned about how you learn best?

5. Is there a difference between the way you learn English and the way you have tried to learn other subjects?

6. What could you do to improve your learning effectiveness?

7. What strategies could you use? This applies both to strategies you are already using in other areas and to those you could learn from other people.

8. How could you go about translating theory into practice?

9. In other words, how exactly could you integrate these strategies into your learning behaviors?

10. Can you foresee your using information technology to foster learning?

J. In pairs, discuss the content of the class today. Rank the items from (1) to (5).

(1) is the least useful and (6) the most useful.


Content of the videos


Topic – Information technology


Content of the reading.


Topic - Learning


Vocabulary development


Pronunciation Work

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