Every month since 2005, EDUCAUSE has published two-page reports about learning practices and technologies, the "Seven Things You Should Know About..." series. Reports cover a wide range of topics: gamification, clickers and open-ended response systems, MOOCs (there are two such reports on them), and infographic creation tools.
...And something from 2005 called "Google Jockeying," which might still be useful. We have heard many faculty debate smartphones and laptops in the classroom recently. Some have embraced the trend toward more devices in the classroom, seeing advantages everywhere—like these 60 suggestions about using Twitter. Others, concerned the devices are too distracting for students prone to multitask anyway, have asked students not to use them. A 2012 study by three Canadian psychologists suggests the devices may be distracting to the students who aren't using them, too (Here's a pdf). The Google Jockey offers a potential compromise.
Google Jockeys work with the teacher in class to search, relay, and possibly display information from online sources. The teacher, the report tells us, “might prompt the jockey to visit specific Web sites or search for particular terms or phrases.” Fellow students might make similar requests, too.
In 2005, when internet connections were fewer and less mobile (now, almost every student brings one and possibly more), the Google Jockey shared a single connection with the class, while freeing the teacher to do other things. Now, as a way of organizing connections, the Google Jockey might help faculty who worry that we have become too connected to the internet and too disconnected from each other. The Google Jockey might strike a nice balance between allowing devices to everyone and allowing them to no one.