My students often show up to class wired for music, facebook and texting. While I don't control the computer time during group work, I have a rule that electronics are stowed away while class is otherwise in session. Despite the speculation that today's young people, born with mouse in hand, can multitask like nobody's business, I don't believe for a minute that students can absorb what's going on in my classroom while playing games on their cell phones. In fact, one student was so oblivious that I quietly walked up behind her and whispered, "So what game are you playing?" She answered me, equally quietly, as though keeping it down so as not to attract the instructor's attention, while her team members looked on in amusement.
We all know electronic multitasking while driving can get you - and other unwitting drivers unlucky enough to be nearby - killed. But we don't usually think of indoor multi-tasking as carrying legal and ethical ramifications. It turns out that the sort of inattention my student displayed while playing her game can have serious ethical and potentially legal ramifications if you choose to multitask when you ought to be minding your fiduciary duties - say, in a Board of Directors