Consumer Education

Technology – advantages and disadvantages

Group activity to encourage learners to think about the pros and cons of different types of contracts for personal and home technology. Includes sources of further information and keyword recording sheet.

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Technology: Setting the contextActivity 2 Technology advantages and disadvantages

This document provides activities to use with learners/ participants/ service users; the material has been written to include education focuses on literacy, numeracy, functional skills and English for speakers of other languages within a formal education setting. However if you wish to use the activities within an informal group or as part of an awareness raising campaign you will only need p6 onwards

Learning resources are not designed for tutors/ educators to advise their participants on specific cases; where necessary participants should be directed to the appropriate advice agency.

Unit/ Activity focus / Consumer education objectives / Literacy, language and numeracy objectives / Literacy curriculum refs / ESOL curriculum refs / Key/ Functional Skills curriculum refs
Participate in discussion about the advantages and disadvantages of different types of contracts for personal and home technology / Identify some advantages and disadvantages of different types of contracts for a range of personal and home technology products / Clearly express and listen to ideas and experiences about being a consumer / AL SLd/L1.1
AL SLd/L1.2
AL SLd/L1.3 / AE Sd/L1.1
AE Sd/L1.2
AE Sd/L1.3
AE Sd/L1.4 / KS C1.1
FS Sp&List L1
T STC Activity 2 Technology key words images: copy and enlarge to A3 – one set for each group of learners
  • T STC Essential information Technology: one for each learner
Appendix 1 Key words record: one for each learner (optional)
Flip chart paper and pens for each group
  • Coloured stickers



  • Write up the following three main category headings and elicit from learners the range of technology products they have and/or regularly use from each category, e.g. landline telephones, mobile telephones, televisions, radios, computers/internet, other hand-held devices such as i-Pods and palm-tops:

–Mobile phones– Digital TV– The internet and broadband

  • Ask learners to call out which providers they use for each of these.
  • Ask learners to identify some of the main types of contracts that are available i.e. pay as you go, fixed term contracts (e.g. 12 or 18 months), multi-service packages.
  • Divide learners into groups. Ask them to discuss and record on a flipchart some of the advantages and disadvantages for each type of contract. If they are willing to, they can tell each other about their different technology contracts, the reasons they chose them and whether they are satisfied with them. Elicit feedback on each type of contract such as:

Type of contract / Advantages / Disadvantages
Pay-as-you go /
  • No nasty surprises re. bills
  • You can keep within budget
  • Can work out more expensive than some contract deals
  • You often have to buy mobile handset separately
  • You can run out of credit at inconvenient times

Fixed term contract /
  • You can get very good deals which include different benefits such as free handset for mobile phone contracts
  • There can be a tie-in to the contract

Multi-service package /
  • You only have one contract
  • If you shop around, e.g. by using a price comparison website, talking to different providers and checking the small print carefully, you can get very good deals
  • Some multi-service packages can be more expensive than separate contracts
  • You have to do research to find out whether it’s a good deal for you or not

  • Elicit some initial feedback from learners about how confident and knowledgeable they feel they are in relation to each technology category and contract type.
  • Divide learners into groups and give each group a letter, for example A, B, C and so on.
  • Give each group a set of Technology key words images. Ask each group to brainstorm and record any questions they have prompted by each image. These can include questions about technology and contracts and any other key words, terms and abbreviations that they do not understand. Give a few examples such as:

–What do 3G/4G and Bluetooth mean?

–What’s the difference between analogue and digital?

–How do you use a price comparison website?

  • Display the image sheets with questions on the wall or on tables in clusters with the same page number.
  • Re-organise the groups so that each new group has a member from A, B, C and so on. Give each new group a different coloured highlighter pen. Ask learners to move around in their groups and discuss the questions on the sheets. Where possible, learners explain the answers to each other. If there are any questions which no-one in the group knows the answer to, they need to highlight a line under the question.
  • Encourage learners to use the internet or dictionaries to find out the meaning of any new words. These words and their definitions can be recorded on Appendix 1 Key words record.
  • Read out the highlighted questions from each cluster. Give out different coloured pens or small coloured stickers. Ask learners to tick or use a sticker next to all of the outstanding questions which interest them. Explain that these can be used to help identify and negotiate the main topics to cover as part of the work on this module.
  • Hand out copies of Essential information Technology as a record of the learning to date. Ask learners to find the four websites named and ask what each one is for and whether they will use any of them to find out more information.


Setting the context Activity 2 Technology key words images

Key words:


Setting the context Activity 2 Technology key words images

Key words:


Setting the context Activity 2 Technology key words images

Key words:



Setting the context Essential information Technology Page 1 of 1


  • You can use postcode checkers on a range of websites to find out about services in your area e.g.

- for providers which offer broadband services in your area


- for the availability of Freeview

  • Price comparison websites can help you to work out whether you will save money if you switch providers. However, make sure you consider other important criteria as well as the price, such as the quality and reliability of the service and the cost of technical support.
  • Check that multi-service packages such as TV, internet and phone deals combined, really do work out cheaper than single contract deals.
  • Before signing a contract, make sure that you read and understand the small print. Get help from the organisations in the box below.
  • The small print can include restrictions such as a tie-in – where you are committed to a specific contract length, such as 18 months.
  • Ofcom regulates the communications industry. Its role includes protecting consumers. See

For advice and information:

Contact the Citizens Advice consumer service at or call the help line on 03454 04 05 06

Welsh language: 03454 04 05 05



Appendix 1 Key words record

Key words record

Topic, date or letter of alphabet

Word or phrase / Meaning