IELTS Podcast (Ep. 4) | Vocabulary Lesson 4: Technology

Magoosh IELTS Podcast

Vocabulary Lesson 4: Technology

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In this episode of the Magoosh IELTS podcast, your teacher Eliot Friesen explains how to use four words all related to technology: Device, Mobile, Innovation, and Revolutionize

The topic of technology is a popular source of questions on the IELTS Speaking test.

If you like this lesson, please subscribe on iTunes or Stitcher for more IELTS Vocabulary lessons, and check out all of our IELTS Podcast episodes here!

Download the complete list of IELTS Vocabulary words.

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IELTS Podcast: Episode 4 Transcript

(Translations: فارسی, Tiếng Việt, Português)

Welcome to the Magoosh IELTS Vocabulary Podcast. This is Lesson 4. In this episode, we will cover 4 words all related to technology: Device, Mobile, Innovation, and Revolutionize.

Don’t forget to check out our show notes for a link to your free IELTS vocabulary list containing these words and others, and visit for more great resources to improve your IELTS band score.

Let’s get started.

I’d like to introduce you to your teacher, Eliot. He is the Magoosh IELTS expert and, here’s a fun fact about Eliot: The first piece of technology Eliot ever owned was a cassette tape player.

Eliot Intro

Hello Magoosh IELTS podcast listeners, welcome to today’s show. I’m Eliot, the IELTS expert from Magoosh. Today, we’re going to look at four words that will be useful for the Speaking section of the IELTS. The topic of technology is a popular source of questions on the IELTS Speaking test, so we’re going to go over a few good vocabulary words that you can use to talk about the field of technology as a whole, as well as some specific pieces of technology.

As always, make sure to go to the link in the show notes to get the full list of vocabulary words.

Once again, the theme for the words in today’s episode is technology, and ways to describe different types of technology and technological advances.


So let’s get started. The first word on our list is device. So let’s start with that one, okay?

What does the word “device” mean?

Well, a device is any technological machine. I know this sounds pretty general, so let’s get a more specific look.

When we use the word “device”, we are typically speaking about an electronic item that allows people to get on the Internet, make phone calls, or possibly send messages. So usually when we say “device” we are talking about someone’s phone, or computer, or tablet. However, there are more kinds of devices than just the ones you use to connect to the Internet or call your mom.

Technically, any mechanical or electronic tool is a device. For example, while your laptop is a device, something as simple as a measuring stick is also a device. A device is any piece of technological equipment.

Don’t worry too much about being able to identify every single device. Just remember that most of the time when someone uses the word device, they’re talking about a phone or a computer. For example, you may have seen advertisements for services that allow you to watch television shows on “all of your devices.” Obviously these ads are using the word “device” to refer to things like phones, computers, and televisions – not measuring sticks!

So, that’s device.


The next word is mobile.

What does mobile mean?

Well, the word mobile describes technology related to phones, or other wireless devices that connect to the Internet or send calls and text messages to people

So you can see there is some overlap between “mobile” and “device.” To keep things from getting confusing, let’s be really clear about the differences between these two words.

The word “device” is a noun, meaning that a device is a thing — like a cellphone or computer. The word “mobile” is an adjective, meaning it describes something.

In this case, we use the word mobile to describe anything that is a wireless device. So a television is a device. A television that can wirelessly connect to the internet is a mobile device. However, you’ll mostly hear this word, mobile, used to describe cell phones, which we also call mobile phone, or simply “mobiles.”

So that’s mobile.


The next word is innovation.

What does innovation mean?

Well, an innovation is a new and valuable idea or an invention. The word innovation is also commonly used to refer to technological changes in general. A good way to remember the meaning of the word “innovation” is to think of an innovation as being something that is new and improved.

So, for example, when laptop computers were invented, they were considered to be a huge innovation — since before laptops came out everyone had been using clunky desktop computers. Laptops were like desktops, but new and improved.

While we can describe things outside of the field of tech using the word innovation, innovation is mostly associated with advances in technology, and that’s probably the context you will hear it used most on the IELTS.

So that’s innovation.


The final word today is revolutionize.

Revolutionize, what does that mean?

Well, when referring to technology, to revolutionize means to make a big, important change in the way we use technology. To revolutionize something is to alter it dramatically, so that it is much better.

It’s easy to get confused between innovation and revolutionize, because they both involve improving technology. However, innovation is a noun (a thing) and to revolutionize is a verb (or an action). That’s one difference. Innovation does have a verb form though, which is to innovate. So we’re going to have to get more specific about the difference between these two words.

Here’s a good way to think about the difference between innovation and revolutionize: To revolutionize something is to make a widespread lasting change in a field, while an innovation is any type of new improvement, regardless of whether it makes a widespread lasting change or not. These words mean two different things, though we will often see them together.

For example, the iPhone was an innovation, which revolutionized the smartphone industry. The iPhone itself was a new and valuable invention (otherwise known as an innovation!), which changed the way people thought of phones, revolutionizing the entire phone industry.

So that’s revolutionize.


Great! In this episode you learned 4 words related to technology–-for more vocabulary, download the full list of vocabulary in the show notes and tune in to the next episode.

If you like our show, help us out by leaving a rating and review in iTunes and don’t forget to hit the subscribe button. Until next time! This is Naomi at Magoosh wishing you happy studying.

By the way, improve your IELTS score with Magoosh!

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  • Molly Kiefer

    Molly is one of Magoosh’s Content Creators. She designs Magoosh’s graphic assets, manages our YouTube channels and podcasts, and contributes to the Magoosh High School Blog.

    Since 2014, Molly has tutored high school and college students preparing for the SAT, GRE, and LSAT. She began her tutoring journey while in undergrad, helping her fellow students master math, computer programming, Spanish, English, and Philosophy.

    Molly graduated from Lewis & Clark College with a B.A. in Philosophy, and she continues to study ethics to this day. An artist at heart, Molly loves blogging, making art, taking long walks and serving as personal agent to her cat, who is more popular on Instagram than she is.


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