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Science and Technology

General Topic Information

Technology has provided society with many new tools. Like all tools, the value of technological tools depends largely on how they are used and whether they make tasks faster or simpler. Technology can lead to problems such as devices that are unnecessarily complicated, that people may use technology inappropriately, safety issues (people focus on devices not and not their surroundings), and that excessive use leads to social isolation and health problems (lack of exercise). The advantages are that technology is portable, space saving, can hold vast amounts of information, can perform complex tasks rapidly, and allow the best possible use of time – for example, while going for a walk it is possible to listen to music and learn a language at the same time.
The Internet and mobile phones are the most commonly discussed technology. Information on the Internet should be viewed in the same way as information in books, newspapers and magazines or other sources. In the same way that anyone can add information to the Internet, anyone can also write a book and publish it. Neither online nor physical publications have controls over accuracy and therefore both may contain incorrect information. The main advantage of the Internet is that inaccuracies can be readily corrected. In addition, the Internet potentially allows many sources to be checked. This means that each source may be able to be compared with other sources for consistency. In the same way that publications are reputable due to internal standards such as editing and refereeing, the same is true for websites. Wikipedia is an example of a highly reputable source of information.
Long distance flights use significant amounts of energy but are probably insignificant in terms of the total energy used. Howeve,r air travel provides many benefits including allowing people to travel easily and cheaply, which broadens experiences, enriches lives and educates people. It allows people to travel for business purposes and improves relationships and understanding between countries and allows access to cheaper goods.

Topic Vocabulary
Scientific breakthrough – A scientific breakthrough is a major discovery in science.
Innovation – Innovation refers to the creation of new ideas or products.
Sedentary lifestyle – A lifestyle that involves little physical activity such as working at a desk job and doing little exercise is referred to as a sedentary lifestyle.

Sample Essay – Mobile Phones
There are many problems caused by mobile phones. What are the advantages of mobile phones? What are the disadvantages?

It is clear that mobile phones have bought many advantages to people’s lives because of their convenience. Mobile phones are not only a very useful communication tool they also serve many other purposes including storing information, providing learning tools and entertainment. However, mobile phones need to be used appropriately otherwise they can become intrusive. In this essay the importance of mobile phones will be discussed.
The original purpose of mobile phones was to offer people a convenient communication tool that allows them to be contactable wherever they are and aids communication. An important consequence of the ability to contact people is that mobile phones can also act as safety devices and are routinely given to children for safety reasons and also give a level of comfort to women who are out late at night.
However, the modern mobile phone or Smartphone has developed far beyond its original purpose and has many advantages. Phones are commonly used for entertainment and allow people to listen to music when they are performing other activities such as travelling on public transport, exercising or waiting for others. Mobile phones also play an important role in people’s work lives and allow them to access e-mail and calendars irrespective of whether they are in the office or not. A further important feature of mobile phones is that they have the ability to run sophisticated software that can be used for learning. For example, language learners often have dictionaries, flashcard and other language learning applications on their phone. An important aspect of mobile phone usage is that they allow people to be entertained, to work or to learn when they have time that they could not previously use for productive purposes such as when they are waiting or travelling.
Although it is difficult to argue that mobile phones are not powerful and useful tools, it is important that they are used wisely. Being accessible means that people can be interrupted at any point in time and phones can become intrusive. For example, it is important that people have time away from the work environment but a mobile phone may mean that they can be contacted any time of the day or night. In addition, mobile phones may cause people to become anti-social and focus on phones rather than the people that they are with. Furthermore, phones can be distracting and unsafe if people are focusing on their phone rather than their surroundings.
In summary, mobile phones are an extraordinarily useful tool but it is important that people use them wisely and ensure that they have private time, interact with other people and remain safe at all times.

Essay Notes
This question is a routine and should not trouble students in terms of ideas because almost all students will be very familiar with the use of mobile phones. The main risk for students in this question is that they focus too much on examples rather than ideas.
The opening sentence of the essay outlines the topic and the importance of mobile phones in people’s lives. The essay has two ideas sentences; the first outlines the advantages of mobile phones (useful for communication, have many other purposes), while the second lists the disadvantages (they can become intrusive). A thesis statement is used to give the aim of the essay, which is to describe the importance of mobile phones.
The first body paragraph is simple and covers the main purpose of mobile phones (allows easy communication) and their role in keeping people safe. The second body paragraph is unusually long and contains key ideas around the benefits of mobile phones in entertainment, business and education. This paragraph uses a number of examples (email, calendars, dictionaries and language learning tools) and all are very short as the purpose of examples is to support ideas and make them clearer to the reader. In this case it is sufficient to name examples rather than fully describe them, as all examples will be familiar to the reader. The third body paragraph is also long and describes the drawbacks of mobile phones (can be intrusive, can be anti-social and unsafe) and there are no examples.
The conclusion is short and very general because the essay is unusually long and the reader will already be sufficiently familiar with the topic.
Essay Vocabulary
Contactable – Can be contacted.
Intrusive – Intrusive is when a person or object interferes or gets uncomfortably close and disturbs or disrupts other people.
Sophisticated – Complicated and highly developed.
Applications – Application is another word for software.
Accessible – Can be easily accessed.
Anti-social – An anti-social person is somebody who does m

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