College teacher!! Do you ask students to put their laptops down? Their cell phones away?
There seems to be a difference of opinion in this area. If you are interesting, they will pay attention. If you are not, they will surf the Web. But how do you create a community in a room where only a portion of the students are engaged in any one moment? Where do the threats of “this will be on the exam” end and the real learning begins?
More research is coming out on students inability to multi-task in the classroom. To learn and run other important daily tasks. If you have the time, here is a great blog post detailing some of the research: The Age of Distraction: Getting Students to Put Away Their Phones and Focus on Learning.