LEFT TO THEIR OWN DEVICES, people will use things that might distract others. This happened to me yesterday as I attended an important half-day event concerning a review of a third level degree offering. Developing mobile content features in the proposed new course so I thought it relevant to bring the phone onto the field of play. I also use my phone in its off-line mode as a document reader and annotation device. But in the presence of others who had paper and pen, my open (and offline) phone was an unwelcome object. In fact, it earned a few glares, as though people thought I was going to pick up an incoming call. I understood the reaction because I know several people who believe you cannot be with them if your phone is in line of sight of the conversation. As the day went on, I thought about how I should structure a classroom activity around the acceptable use of laptops and mobile devices during meetings. Based on the tabletop reaction today, it's obvious to me that while we're educating people to multi-task, we are also facilitating the development of an unfortunate side effect because it's not unusual to expect meeting facilitators to want fully channelised attention to what's going on around the table, not what's developing outside the meeting room.