During a faculty dinner a couple of weeks ago a faculty member from the computer science department, Dean Stevens, and I somehow got on the topic of student use of compters, specifically Facebooking, during class and the effects. We got interested in finding empirical evidence for the belief that engaging in Facebook during a lecture would lead to poorer retention of the material presented.
Currently we are collaborating on digging a couple of studies out of this idea: First, how much to students use Facebook during class, what applications do they use the most, and do students perceive it as a problem for retention when they use it during class. Secondly, we plan do to a controlled lab study involving memory retention and the use of Facebook.
We are in the early stages and will hopefully be deploying the first suvey research in a few weeks. Additionally, I have a couple of psychology students working with us (what a new concept for me and exciting!).