Before I begin this question properly I want to say that I feel responsible for my students, and I want them to do as well as they can do. I mention this because my question is about technology and distractions. I feel that many students are distracted by technology: they would sit in class texting and checking facebook if allowed. The issue that I (and presumably many others) face then is that students cannot reach their potential because they are distracting themselves. This frustrates me.
My question is:
What can a lecturer do to stop students being distracted by technology in their lectures?
There are two obvious approaches: ban technology, or pretend it is not an issue.
Ban technology: Pretend that we live in y2k. The main advantage is that the students cannot be distracted. Some disadvantages are that if students want to look at my slides at their own pace then they have to print them out (I have no scrolling boards so my lectures are frustratingly slide-heavy), which is far from ideal, and that some students who will not be engaged anyway will become disruptive (this can happen with or without taking attendance). Finally, "banning" technology doesn't do much to foster a happy or encouraging learning environment, as the students claim that they are grown ups and can decide for themselves while the ban needs to be enforced which generates fear (for some value of "fear").
Ignore technology: Pretend that noone is checking facebook. The advantage is that students can view the slides and take notes on their tablets. Technology is good and they are embracing it! Of course, many students will become distracted and I find this frustrating. Moreover, often students will become distracted by other people using technology, which is something I certainly don't want to happen (for example, during my undergrad I remember a very forward-thinking student bringing his laptop to a lecture. He sat in the front row playing Quake. The lecturer didn't notice, but everyone else was transfixed by this guys wonderful Quake-playing abilities. He was rather good...).
Currently, I have a sort of middle ground where I allow technology but ask frequent questions and get students to work on exercises at regular intervals. This helps distract them from their technology and lets me patrol for facebook users. But I still think that this is far from ideal.
So, I would love to hear any good ideas for how to stop students being distracted by technology in maths lectures.