I tried to articulate my feelings on smartphones over on Gheorghe:The Blog, but the short and sweet versions is this:
1) I hate them;
2) I've completely banned them in my class and told my students I'm treating them like cigarettes, if I lay eyes on a smartphone, I'm confiscating it;
3) my school has embraced them, and now has a BYOD policy . . . Bring Your Own Device . . . which means students can use them in the hallways and at lunch, and can utilize them in class if the teacher allows it;
4) I think BYOD is lunacy, as do many other teachers, because it's hard enough to focus on chemistry without having a gaming system, social-networking conduit, camera, audio recorder, app center, and general panacea for all boredom in your immediate possession;
5) there's plenty of research citing the fact that test scores go up (6 percent on average and double that for lower achieving students) when smartphones are banned . . . and that writing notes down on paper is a powerful cognitive tool that aids in processing ideas and higher level thinking;
6) I believe people in the future will view our obsession with smartphones and their ubiquity with the same nostalgic horror that we view the "good old days" when people could smoke cigarettes on airplanes . . . and I believe that there are similarities between cigarettes and smartphones-- they are both portable addictive dopamine dispensers-- and folks in the future will laugh and laugh when they read descriptions of how we sent our youngsters to school and out driving (in human controlled cars!) with these incredibly distracting devices; they will view this period as a bout of temporary insanity, akin to when you could light up your cigarette or cigar any damn place you pleased.