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Read and discuss a text on social media, learn how to create participle clauses, how they can show cause and effect, reasons and event order
Grammar lecture: participle clauses
Time for the activities: ~20-30 minutes
These exercises develop your reading, voabulary and discussion skills
Before reading, complete the worksheet:
Connect the English definitions with the Swedish translations
You may work by yourself or together with your classmates
Once done with the vocabulary exercise:
As a group, we take turns reading the article We need to rethink social media before it's too late
Once done, discuss the text with your classmates:
Do you agree or disagree with what the author has written?
How optimistic are you about social media?
A Faustian bargain, also known as a 'deal with the devil', means to have traded one's ethical ideals for material or intellectual gain. For example, in the classic example Goethe's Faust (1808), Faust sells his soul to the devil in order to gain magical powers and knowledge. Why, do you think, the author argues that we have entered such a bargain concerning social media?
We need to rethink social media before it's too late
We need to rethink social media before it's too late. We've accepted a Faustian bargain
A business model that alters the way we think, act, and live our lives has us heading toward dystopia
When people envision technology overtaking society, many think of The Terminator and bulletproof robots. Or Big Brother in George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, a symbol of external, omnipotent oppression.
But in all likelihood, dystopian technology will not strong-arm us. Instead, we’ll unwittingly submit ourselves to a devil’s bargain: freely trade our subconscious preferences for memes, our social cohesion for instant connection, and the truth for what we want to hear.
Indeed, as former insiders at Google, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube attest in our new documentary, The Social Dilemma, this is already happening. We already live in a version of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. As Neil Postman puts it in his 1985 book Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business:
The technology that threatens our society, democracy, and mental health is lurking in our bedrooms, sometimes lying on our pillows, as we fall asleep. We awake to its call, bring its chiming notifications to dinner, and blindly trust where it guides us. We scroll insatiably, unsuspecting that the technology that connects us, especially now in a distanced world, is also controlling us.
A third of American adults, and nearly half of those aged 18-29, say they are online “almost constantly”. But, unlike the citizens of Brave New World, we’re miserable. As our time online has gone up, so have anxiety, depression and suicide rates, particularly among youth.
In The Social Dilemma, Tristan Harris, a former Google design ethicist and the co-founder of the Center for Humane Technology, points out that far before technology overpowers human strengths, it will overwhelm human weaknesses. Sophisticated algorithms learn our emotional vulnerabilities and exploit them for profit in insidious ways.
After nearly three years of working on this film, I now see “the social dilemma” as a foundational problem of our time, underlying many of the other societal conflicts that require compromise and a shared understanding to fix. If two sides are constantly fed reflections of their pre-existing ideologies and outrageous straw men of opposing views, we will never be able to build bridges and heal the challenges that plague humanity.
But there is hope. In The Terminator sequels, Arnold Schwarzenegger comes back as a good guy. “Who sent you?” John Connor asks. The Terminator answers, “You did. Thirty-five years from now, you reprogrammed me to be your protector.”
In the absence of time travel, the solution needs to incorporate the work and voices of devoted activists, organizations, scholars, and those who have experienced the harms of exploitative technology, which amplifies systemic oppression and inequality. We can’t rely on the people who created the problem to be the ones to solve it. And I won’t trust these social media companies until they change their business model to serve us, the public. Humans created this technology, and we can – and have a responsibility to – change it.
Jeff Orlowski, The Guardian, Sun 27 Sep 2020
Used with permission. Abridged.
Grammar lecture: participle clauses
Rewriting sentences into participle clauses
Time for the exercises: ~20-30 minutes
These exercises improve your writing skills and grammatical knowledge
You can complete the exercises by yourself or together with your classmate(s)
On your whiteboard, rewrite the sentences into participle clauses. Begin the sentences with:
The verb in the ING-form (present participle):
For example: While I was waiting for Richard, I made some coffee. ➜ Waiting for Richard, I made some coffee.
When I realised that it was too difficult, I asked for help.
As I was stepping on to the stage, I took a deep breath.
I handed back the wallet I took and I admitted that stealing was wrong.
The third form of a verb (past participle):
For example: I hid behind a pillow because the movie scared me. ➜ Scared by the movie, I hid behind a pillow.
Because the students gave the right answers, the class nodded in agreement.
Since he saw it from afar, he knew that danger was coming.
She was impressed by the cooking and decided to order another dish.
Having + the third form of a verb (perfect participle):
For example: Feke slept soundly after he had taught the entire day. ➜ Having taught the entire day, Feke slept soundly.
I got tired because I had been reading for hours.
Because he had lost his phone, he needed to buy a new one.
Since he had been single for so long, she thought she would never find true love.
A preposition + ING-form of a verb (present participle):
For example: I took a shower after I had exercised. ➜ After exercising, I took a shower.
I was sleeping and I accidentally kicked my cat.
I washed my hands for 30 seconds before eating dinner.
Begin with the verb in the ING-form (present participle):
Realising that it was too difficult, I asked for help.
Stepping on to the stage, I took a deep breath.
Handing back the wallet I took, I admitted that stealing was wrong.
Begin with the third form of a verb (past participle):
Given the right answers, the students/class nodded in agreement.
Seen from afar, he knew that danger was coming.
Impressed by the cooking, she decided to order another dish.
Begin with having + the third form of a verb (perfect participle):
Having read for hours, I got tired.
Having lost his phone, he needed to buy a new one.
Having been single for so long, she thought she would never find true love.
Begin with a preposition + ING-form of a verb (present participle):
While sleeping, I accidentally kicked my cat.
Before eating dinner, I washed my hands for 30 seconds.
Study the Quizlet.
My summary of the lecture ...