Friday, 9 December 2011

Objective Proficiency p 70. Digital Human: Home. Extra Speaking

The Digital Human is a BBC Radio 4 programme that explores life in the digital age.

In this episode of The Digital Human, Home, the presenter,  Aleks Krotoski, asks what turns a space into a place and whether we really need bricks and mortar anymore, when home can be anywhere you can go online.

mortar: a mixture of sand, water, lime and cement used in building for holding bricks and stones together.

Discuss these pictures and questions: 

1. Is your sense of home focused strongly on the comforts of home and your many possessions acquired over your lifetime? Is your sense of home very much tied up with the physical?
Because of the rapidly growing usage of smartphones today, phubbing is now a very common practice found in our daily lives. Do you believe that this practice is seriously affecting our communication? Are you guilty of phubbing yourself? The fact that our world is suffused with digital technology is not everybody's cup of tea. Why do you think this is so? What are the benefits and drawbacks of the ubiquitous nature of the new technologies?

Phubbing: (blend: phone+snub) (snub somebody to insult somebody, especially by ignoring them when you meet) the activity of being impolite in a social situation by looking at your phone instead of paying attention to the person you are with. Phub (V). Phubber (N).

suffuse with: /səˈfjuːz/to spread all over or through somebody/something.  E.g. Her face was suffused with colour.

not somebody’s cup of tea (informal) not what somebody likes or is interested in. E.g. An evening at the opera isn't everyone's cup of tea. He's nice enough but not really my cup of tea. 

ubiquitous: /juːˈbɪkwɪtəs/ seeming to be everywhere or in several places at the same time; very common. E.g. the ubiquitous bicycles of university towns.

2. Would you be able to create a digital space that you could call home? Do you know of any couples who have created a virtual home through sites like skype and successfully continued their relationship? Do you Skype with anybody?

Skype: (V) to speak (with somebody) using Skype. E.g. Skype somebody I'll Skype you later. Skype (with somebody) She Skypes with her grandchildren.

3. Do you think that cars and houses are as important to millennials as they used to be to previous generations? Has online access become home for a vast majority of millennials? Would you mind  living as a digital nomad renting a communal pod with wifi access that you could make home? Would you buy into the idea that home is mobile? Can home be anywhere, as long as there is online access? Do you think that access is more important than ownership for the millennial generation? Do you embrace the notions of co-working and co-living? Would you feel comfortable in an open-plan environment? Do you think there is a market for affordable, flexible, multi-location, co-living in the urban cities near you? Would something like this take your fancy? Do you think that as we are going into the urbanization and overpopulation of big cities, physically-based social networks will become more pervasive?

co-working: /ˈkəʊwəːkɪŋ/ the use of an office or other working environment by people who are self-employed or working for different employers, typically so as to share equipment, ideas, and knowledge. E.g. the whole idea of co-working is to bring bright, creative people together and let the ideas collide. The area’s newest co-working space.

co-living: shared housing designed to support a purpose-driven life. A modern, urban lifestyle that values openness, sharing, and collaboration. E.g. No dad, it's not a hippie commune. It's co-living. It's kinda like co-working, but in a house. Get it??

catch/take somebody’s fancy: to attract or please somebody. E.g. She looked through the hotel advertisements until one of them caught her fancy.

pervasive: existing in all parts of a place or thing; spreading gradually to affect all parts of a place or thing. E.g. a pervasive smell of damp. Her influence is all-pervasive (= it affects everyone and everything). A sense of social change is pervasive in her novels. The increasingly pervasive subculture in modern society 

4. Will digital technologies change how and where we decide to live in the future? The TV used to be the focal point of domestic life. Do you think this is changing? How will this impact the arrangement of our furniture and the layout of our houses in the future? In what way can the new technologies help our society to be less isolated and fragmented and more connected? Is this going to have an effect on the way we live in the future?

focal point: a thing or person that is the centre of interest or activity. E.g. In rural areas, the school is often the focal point for the local community. He quickly became the focal point for those who disagreed with government policy.


Should home be found within ourselves? Should it be the friendships, values and passions that we have around us? What is home to you? Do you agree that "home is where the heart is"? What is the difference between a house and a home for you?

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