Online Listening Activities for Students: The Smartphone

50-minute English Lesson

Online listening activities for students, like this one, help ESL students improve their listening skills. In this story, we talk about the smartphone.

Online Listening Activities for Students smartphone story
Smartphones are part of daily life

Read the story

Online Listening Activities for Students: Smartphones story

Almost everyone has a Smartphone. They’re used to make calls and send messages. However, they do much more. These machines let us connect with the internet, play games, take pictures and store files. A smartphone is like a phone, camera and small computer in one box.

Smartphones weren’t common until about ten years ago. Before smartphones, mobile phones were used to make calls and send text messages. The first smartphone was the IBM Simon. It was on sale in 1992. It was a simple version of the smartphone we see today. The Simon was a mobile phone with a touch screen that could send and receive emails and faxes.

In 1997, the Swedish company Ericsson made a new phone. It was called the “smartphone.” That was how the word “smartphone” started. Soon many companies started making smartphones. Nokia made the first phone with a coloured screen. Sony made the first smartphone with a camera.

Apple started selling the iPhone in 2007. It was the first smartphone with all the important features in one device. Soon most mobile phones looked a lot like the iPhone.

Smartphones make communication fast and easy. They are compact and convenient. They easily fit into pockets. Even though they are small, they are packed with applications and information. They perform functions that were not possible with older mobile phones. They have become an essential part of our modern life.

Listen without reading

Online Listening Activities for Students : smartphone audio

Audio

Here is the listening file for this lesson.

Listening level: 2
Audio file: 1:53 min
Story length: 233 words
Online Listening Activities for Students englishlistening.rocks
Smartphones are great for English listening exercises

Quiz: Smartphone

Did you understand the story?

Let's check with a True-False quiz.

English listening lesson: Gap Fill

Listen again to the online ESL story and fill in the blanks.

Almost __________ has a smartphone. They’re used to make calls and send __________ . However, they do much more. These machines let us __________ with the internet, play games, take pictures and __________ files. A smartphone is like a phone, camera and small __________ in one box.

Smartphones weren’t __________ until about ten years ago. Before smartphones, __________ phones were used to make calls and send __________ messages. The first Smartphone was the IBM Simon. It was on sale in __________ . It was a simple __________ of the smartphone we see today. The Simon was a mobile phone with a __________ screen that could send and receive __________ and faxes.

In 1997, the Swedish __________ Ericsson made a new phone. It was called the “smartphone.” That was how the word “smartphone” __________ . Soon many companies started making smartphones. Nokia made the first phone with a __________ screen. Sony made the first smartphone with a __________ .

Apple started selling the iPhone in __________ . It was the first smartphone with all the __________ features in one __________ . Soon most mobile phones __________ a lot like the iPhone.

Smartphones make __________ fast and easy. They are __________ and convenient. They easily fit into __________ . Even though they are small, they are packed with __________ and information. They perform __________ that were not possible with older mobile phones. They have become an __________ part of our __________ life.

ESL discussion questions

Talk about the online Listening lesson for EsL students story.

  1. What kind of story is this?
  2. Summarize the evolution of the smartphone.
  3. Inventions often start with a problem. What was the problem in this story?
  4. What are the pros and cons of a smartphone?
  5. How have smartphones changed the way we work, play, or study?
  6. Which smartphone is better, Apple or Samsung?

Synonym match

MATCH THE WORD OR PHRASE ON THE LEFT WITH THE CORRECT SYNONYM.

1. simple
2. feature
3. applications 
4. essential
5. modern 
a. contemporary
b. uncomplicated
c. indispensable
d. programs
e. attribute

ESL listening activity: anagrams

MOVE THE LETTERS. MAKE A WORD FROM THE ESL Listening STORY.

  1. IOSNERV
  2. MRRPEFO
  3. OMBLEI
  4. OCPCMTA
  5. RCENSE
  6. REIEECV

Writing practice

Write the five sentences. Put the words in the correct order.

  1. messages / They’re / used / and / send / to / make / calls
  2. smartphone / see / we / version / a / of / was / It / the / today / simple
  3. mobile / functions / that / not / were / phones / older / They / possible / with / perform /
  4. packed / small / information / Even / and / with / they / applications / they / though / are / are
  5. phones / the / Soon / looked / lot / like / a / mobile / iPhone / most

Another ESL listening story

Try another free online listening activity for ESL students? Test your knowledge of mountains, rivers, and places with the Geography Quiz lesson.

Watch a video and take notes

Did you like this online listening story about the iPad? Watch the video – a TV commercial in Japan for an iPhone – and take notes about what you see.

  1. Watch the video.
  2. Take notes.
  3. Make a list with at least seven facts.

Get the worksheet

Online Listening Activities for Students materials

Want to print out these ESL listening activities for new language learners? Click to download the PDF worksheet.

Click to see the answers for this online listening lesson for ESL students about smartphones.

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