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Session 1

Technology has changed our lives. But is this a good or a bad thing? Alice and Amith have a debate about what we've gained and lost in the digital age. You'll hear them talking about how life used to be and the big changes technology has brought us.

Sessions in this unit

Session 1 score

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    Activity 1
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    Activity 2
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    Activity 3

Alice and Amith go head to head

It's debate time! Alice and Amith are in the studio talking about modern technology. Listen to what they say about modern technology. Which of the following topics do you think they mention?

  • communication
  • watching TV
  • reading
  • working
  • writing

Listen to the debate and see if you guessed correctly.

Listen to the audio and try the activity

Show transcript Hide transcript

Hello and welcome to the Great Debate with me, Mike. Now here on the show we discuss the important topics of the day and give you listeners the chance to vote for what you agree with. In the studio with me today I have Alice...


And Amith...


Here is the deal. Each of our guests this morning has 30 seconds to argue their point of view. Then we hand it over to you at home to decide who was most convincing. The topic we're discussing today is Modern technology has made our lives much better. Arguing for this motion we have Alice. Alice, are you ready?

Yes, absolutely, Mike. I'm always ready.

Can I have 30 seconds on the clock? Alice, when I say go, you'll have half a minute to convince us all that modern technology is indeed a wonderful thing. Three, two, one. Go!

Well, firstly smartphones are fantastic because we have everything we need at the touch of a button. We can access any information we need 24 hours a day. They help us stay in touch with our friends and family when we live far away from each other. I've got friends in Asia and Africa and family in Australia. It's so far away. It used to take months for a letter to reach the other side of the world. Now I can message or email and they receive it instantly. We can even video call which feels like we're in the same place.

And your time is up. Thank you for that, Alice. Amith, she argued her case well didn't she?

Yes. But I disagree on some points.

Well, now we're going to hear from you arguing against the motion. Amith, when I say go, you'll have half a minute to argue your case. Tell us why you think modern technology is not all that great. OK, 3, 2, 1 go!

I'm old-school. Life used to be so much simpler when we didn't have to rely on all these stupid [technologies]. I used to like going to the library. I love the feeling of books and writing letters. But now it's all about social network, which I find absolutely bizarre. We didn't use to have to rely on our phones to remember our phone numbers. We used to be able to disconnect. Now it's all about sharing your daily life on social network. Technology is way too fast to keep up-to-date with. So I have to disagree with Alice.

Stop! And another very convincing argument! So who do we think has won the Great Debate this time? Well, sorry both of you, it's actually down to our listeners to decide. Tell us what you think at home at bbclearningenglish.com. That's all from The Great Debate this time.


Did you get it right? Alice talked about communication - talking to her friends and family in Asia, Africa and Australia. Amith talked about reading and writing - he said he liked going to the library and writing letters. But they didn't mention working or watching TV.


You can download this audio (size: 4.51MB) and the transcript (206KB).

To do

What else did they talk about in the debate? Answer the questions in this activity to see what you can remember. 


Question time

4 Questions

Answer the questions. Choose the response you think is correct

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Did you notice a few unusual words during these activities? Selfie, photobomb, trolling? New words are coming into English all the time. Is there any logic behind this, or can you make it up? Find out all about new words in 6 Minute Vocabulary!

Session Vocabulary

  • at the touch of a button (idiom)


    something that can be done immediately or very quickly and easily

    video call
    a visual communication between two or more people, usually on the computer or smartphones

    having old-fashioned or traditional values

    very strange or unusual