Will disruption bar smartphones from classrooms and school laboratories, or will the devices’ value for research make them indispensable for education? In real science labs, the same question is arising, as described in the new issue of Nature|Methods in an article titled “The scientist and the smartphone”:
. . . The computer became an indispensable tool in the laboratory while the phone developed into a mobile device that has disrupted countless lectures at scientific conferences. But recently researchers can be seen talking on their computer and using their cell phone for running fancy—and sometimes powerful—software programs.
This metamorphosis of the cell phone into a mobile computing platform with voice capabilities is epitomized by the iPhone—one of a new breed of smartphone that is not only popular among the general public but seemingly ubiquitous among scientists. . . .
If the smartphone becomes a primary tool for a research scientist, it follows that students should apprentice the use of mobiles.