When riding on a bus with a group of students, I asked who had their cell phones. They asked why I wanted to know & if I would take them away. I then explained that I wanted them to program my cell number in so they could call me if they got lost (not likely, but just in case).
I was disheartened that kids’ immediate reaction when a teacher asks about their phones is fear of reprimand or punishment. I then realized that most of the “distraction” of electronic devices is in students trying not to get caught. Their cognitive capacities are taken up by keeping track of the teacher’s location & how/when they will reply to the text they just received. For many students it becomes a game – one they enjoy more than this “game” we call school.
What if students were encouraged to have their devices on them as useful tools, & they were educated on when/how to use them (although I think most of them already know)? How much mental effort do we as teachers & they as learners waste in this “catch me if you can” game?