A high school teacher of mine recently posted on Twitter, asking for advice on how to get her students to use their Chromebooks for class purposes instead of playing games on them. My advice: let them keep playing games. Most people reading this will think, "What the heck did she just say?" but trust me, I have reasons.
In 8th grade, I took geometry, and my teacher, Mr. McMillan, had optional homework, which he called "practice." Math was my strong suit, and after doing the "practice" for a while, I started to slack off. After all, I wasn't getting any credit for it.
Well, my grade began to drop and after getting a C on my interim, I realized that my bad math grade was due to my lack of "practice." From then on I always did the "practice," checked my answers and asked questions about certain problems I wasn't able to understand. By the end of the grading period, I had brought my grade up to an A. To this day, I still think that Mr. McMillan is a genius for making homework optional. This made me realize that although something may seem better short-term (like not doing homework), I had to look out for my long-term grade.
I am not saying that we all have to do homework in order to be successful. In high school, there were many classes that I pulled my phone out or went on websites on the Chromebooks, but that was because I knew the material. Even in college, I had a required course where I had learned basically everything in 5th-grade science, so I played Sudoku most of the time.
I believe that if a student knows and demonstrates knowledge of the information, they should not be forced to waste their time to relearn it. Their time should be put to use by challenging their minds like I did with Sudoku, or sleeping because we all need more sleep. However, I only stopped paying attention when I knew that I knew the material, and I recognized that when I had trouble, I needed to concentrate more. That's something I had to learn for myself.
In college, some classes don't require attendance, and in almost every class, you are capable of doing other things on your laptop. It is the students' responsibility to make sure that they are getting good grades, and that involves making the decision to go to class or sleep through it, to pay attention or do work for another class.
So in high school, why should it be any different?