There’s plenty of evidence now that students who multitask in class don’t do so well, taking longer to read, paying less attention to lectures, and getting lower grades. (Students Think They Can Multitask. Here’s Proof They Can’t.) It’s obvious that technology supports that mindset and enables much multitasking.
That’s why it’s important to set clear guidelines and goals for the use of technology in the classroom. Using the honor system may not be enough. One instructor allowed mobile phones in the classroom only if the “TV Remote Rule” was followed: unless you’re actually using the phone for a class assignment (à la switching channels on the TV) it stays put on your desk. You do not play with it or use it for anything else while in the classroom. This is worth a try.