Smartphones replace Textbooks

In the news this week was the story that medicine students at the University of Leeds have been issued with iPhones so that they can access online text books via an app.

Why medicine students? Leeds claim it will be useful for them particularly because they spend much of their time off campus in surgeries, hospitals, etc. and so don't always have access to their learning materials. You might think that this is every student's dream, to be given a free smartphone and that it is also insanely costly for Leeds University (I believe they are iPhone 4s). However, the university said that at £380 per student it's a minuscule cost compared to the £50,000 to train a doctor. I further assume that at that price Leeds is not paying for a are they pay-as-you-go?

Anyway, the point is, is this the future? Are textbooks, paper and those big buildings occupying every university campus that we call "libraries" soon to be defunct? As Leeds point out, the best thing about a phone is that it is on you all the time, this has made the marriage of the phone and camera an absolutely genius idea in my opinion; I never used to have a camera to hand despite enjoying taking a photo or video clip of particular scenes/events, now the ability to share what I have witnessed is always available. Simiarly, the Wikipedia app on my iPhone is brilliant, if I am pondering over something, say a statue I have just passed and want to know who the bloke it was of is, I whack it into my phone and tada - all the information I could have ever wanted!

This is the idea of "unismartphones" I suppose, but... which seems more appealing, sitting at your desk writing an essay and browsing through the pages of a textbook or swiping through the virtual pages on a smartphone? I'll read the news on the train to work in the morning on my phone but if I'm reading for lengthy periods of time I know that I prefer the old school method. iBooks? Kindle? No thanks, I'll stick to paper 'n' ink.

Maybe this is my first bout of technophobia and mobile electronic libraries are the future of education. What do you think? Would you be satisfied having it all in one digital location or do you prefer to sit down with the book and absorb the information?
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