Questions for ‘When smartphones go to school’

teen texting

The typical U.S. teen with a smartphone sends many, many texts per day. Scientists are finding that sometimes this online activity can be beneficial in classrooms — but only if it also is ‘on-task.’

Tomwang112/ iStockphoto

To accompany feature ‘When smartphones go to school’


Before reading:

1.    Do you have a smartphone or tablet? How often do you use it during the school day?

2.    Do you ever find your mobile device distracting you from other things that you knew you should be doing?

During reading:

1.    What percentage of U.S. teenagers have access to a smartphone?

2.    How many text messages does a typical U.S. teen send each day?

3.    List at least three physical tools that a mobile device can replace in the classroom.

4.   Based on the article, what are some ways that Internet access can help students with classwork?

5.    In Jeffrey Kuznekoff’s study, what happened to students’ test scores when they were allowed to text and tweet freely during class? How big a difference was this?

6.    In Kuznekoff’s study, what kind of text messages did not lower students’ test scores?

7.    According to this story, what do scientists say about people’s ability to multitask?

8.    List three settings where people in the article use smartphones when they shouldn’t.

9.    What are some types of addictive behavior that cellphone users show?

10.   How can your mobile device habits become embodied in your muscles?

After reading:

1.    What are your Internet habits? Do you always check social media first thing in the morning, for example, or text your friends during study hall?

2.    If you use a smartphone or tablet, what are some ways you can take advantage of it without letting it distract you?


1.    There are an estimated 21,240,000 U.S. residents between the ages of 15 and 19. If 73 percent have a smartphone, how many people is that? Use the median number of texts that teens with cell phones make (based on the number in the article) and compute how many texts all of these U.S. 15 to 19-year-olds would likely be making, collectively, each day. Show your work.

2.    Based on the article, how much better did the students that Jeffrey Kuznekoff studied do on a test if they hadn’t texted or tweeted on unrelated topics during a lecture? Now assume that test had 25 questions and that the average score for the students that had not texted or tweeted at all was 22 correct answers. Roughly how many correct answers did the group get that had been allowed to text and tweet on anything? Show your calculations.