"students who use their mobile phones during class lectures tend to write down less information, recall less information, and perform worse on a multiple-choice test than those students who abstain from using their mobile phones during class.”
What to do though? Device use is hard to patrol, hard enough that I've usually found the effort exceeds the reward. And students believe (wrongly) that they can multitask and learn effectively.
I'm going to follow up Maryellen Weimer's suggestion: Rather than a "policy," I'm going to respect student autonomy and simply tell them what the research says, including a link to this Kuznekoff and Titsworth paper.
So, I’m wondering if the place to begin isn’t by confronting students with the evidence. Kuznekoff and Titsworth suggest including highlights of their research or that of others on the course syllabus or, I would add, to the course website. Their article references a number of studies if you think a longer list might be more persuasive. If your style is a bit more in-your-face, you could come to class with a copy of several of these studies and when you see behaviors that look suspicious, stop class and talk briefly but specifically about the research. Students who text should do so knowing that the behavior has consequences—points, grades, and most important of all, learning are at stake.Will this necessarily work? No, but it should at least put a bug in students' ears: If an overwhelming body of research says phone use is harmful academically, then you'veve got to be awfully special to be the exception to the rule.