Internet Basics for ESL Students
Lesson 1
Basic Computer Terms and the History of the Internet

key vocabulary: keyboard, mouse, printer, click, double click, cursor, CD-ROM, boot, re-boot, desktop, software.


Dialogue 1: Buying your first computer.

A desktop

Pair work. Practice the conversation.

Mary: Hi Jim. How's it going?
Jim: Pretty good. I'm going to buy a new computer this afternoon.
Mary: What kind are you going to buy?
Jim: I think I'll buy a desktop, maybe a Gateway or Compaq.
Mary: Those are very popular in America, and the prices are really coming down.

What is a computer? A dictionary might say computers are electronic things for storing and processing data. There are many kinds: mainframes, desktops, laptops, etc. so let's talk about Personal Computers - PCs for short.

What does a common PC have? Most home or office computers will have a CPU (the Central Processing Unit), a keyboard that you type on, a mouse that you use to control the cursor on your screen, and a monitor that you read. Many PCs now have speakers for sound and printers.


1) What is a computer?
2) Do you have a computer? What kind?
3) What does your computer have?
4) What kind of software do you use?

Dialogue 2: Printer problems

Pair work. Practice the conversation.

Linda: I finished my report, but the printer is broken. What can I do?
Mary: Save the file on a floppy and bring it to my house. We can use my printer.
Linda: That's a great idea.
Mary: Or, email it to me - that might be faster.
Linda: Hmm, that won't work. The report has graphs.*

* Is this really true? How can you send pictures by Email?

A printer

Lecture: the roots of the Internet: where it is now, what the future might bring.

Many people have heard the word "Internet", but what is it? A computer network is a group of computers linked together so they can share data. The Internet is the linking of the thousands of computer networks around the world. It started in the 1970s in the US as a military program. Today, more than 120 countries and 60 million people use the Internet.

Dialogue 3: CD-ROMs and games


Pair work. Practice the conversation.

Jim: Should I get a CD-ROM with my new computer?
Mary: Of course. All the good game software now comes on CDs.
Jim: CDs are also good for multi-media software.
Mary: Yeah. I love playing Myst.
Jim: I hear Riven is even better.


Introduction to the Computer lab and using a web browser.

a. turning a computer on and off - using the keyboard and mouse

1. demonstrate the mouse clicks.
2. keyboard secrets.

b. Introduction to the resouces page

c. starting Netscape

concepts: homepage, World Wide Web (WWW), browser, address (URL), http, scrollbar, back button, forward button, home

This is a sub-page of Internet Basics for ESL Students
Lessons: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14
Copyright (C) 1998 by Jim Schweizer (