But my syllabi have an informal policy on cellphone use in the classroom:
The First Thing You Should Do Each Day When You Come Into Class… (after getting comfortable, turning off you cellphone and pulling out your notebook & pencil)
…Is To Take OUT Your Calculator And Have It Ready At All Times (it doesn’t do you any good all closed up in your book bag, or at home)
Calculator = Good, Cellphone = Bad.
This is a Physics class after all. In addition, I inform my classes that any pager or cellphone that goes off during class will be accused of being involved in a drug deal, often to humorous comment. It is, for the most part, an effective policy.
And I Don't Normally Participate In This
The linking of YouTube videos in blogs is something I've avoided, but I saw this one referenced on John Scalzi's AOL blog By The Way, and so am including a link to a professor dealing with a cellphone student during lecture. I mean the man is clearly distracted -- I can't even figure out what the hell subject he's teaching.
But Will The University Back Him Up?
Mrs. Dr. Phil wondered if his school would order him to make restitution -- assuming said cellphone shattered or was otherwise damaged. Or whether they'd back him up at all. Would it make a difference if he was tenured? Ga-ah!
In my own case, I doubt I'd be so confrontational. Touching a student or their property? I don't think so. If I did get the cellphone, I'd pull its battery and hand it back. I understand cellphones are much lighter and easier to carry around without their battery packs...
Still, I have warned my students about the dangers of cellphone use in my classroom, so if any of my students are reading this -- it's on the record, folks.