TED Talks: Jigsaw Listening – Mobile phones


mobile phone use

Ted Talks Worksheets and ppt discussion


Two worksheets (in print or paper-free ppt versions) related to TED talks on the subject of the (mis)use of mobile devices, followed by a ppt discussion/debate on using mobiles in class. Students have to negotiate and agree on what is and isn’t acceptable and draw up a code of good conduct. I find it very useful to do this early on in the course, as learners in different contexts (and especially of different age groups) may have different perceptions of mobile ‘etiquette’.


Each of these activities can be used independently, but I find they work very well together, especially if you can use the two talks as a jigsaw listening before moving on to the debate:

  • In-class activity: The discussion on mobile use in class is a stand-alone activity, but it is very helpful to watch one or both of the TED talks on the subject beforehand to generate ideas. There are equivalent worksheets and ppt (paper-free) versions of the activities for each TED talk.
  • Jigsaw listening: Two groups in different rooms work through the exercises on their assigned talk, controlling the subtitles  & repetition of sections as they wish. Learners re-group and summarise the talks to each other before debating the issue of mobile use in class.
  • Jigsaw listening: Flipped version. Learners are set a different talk and corresponding worksheet for homework. They summarise talks to each other in the following class before the class discussion.

This activity was inspired by Anastasia Dedyukhina’s plenary talk at Innovate ELT conference, 2019.


TED Talk 1 Adam Alter (2017) Why screens make us less happy

TED Talk 2 Anastasia Dedyukhina (2016): Could you live without a smartphone?



There is a worksheet (paper and ppt version) and teacher’s notes with key for both talks, The debate on mobile phone use in class is on ppt only and has accompanying teacher’s notes,

TED Talk 1 (worksheet) Adam Alter – Why screens make us less happy – student

TED Talk 1 (ppt) Adam Alter 2017

TED Talk 1 Teacher’s notes Adam Alter – Why screens make us less happy – teacher

TED Talk 2 (worksheet) Anastasia Dedyukhina – Addicted to phones – student

TED Talk 2 (ppt) Anastasia Dedyukhina 2016

TED Talk 2 Teacher’s notes Anastasia Dedyukhina – Addicted to phones – teacher

PPT discussion Mobiles in class

PPT discussion Teacher’s notes Mobiles in class. Teacher’s notes


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