Field of Science

iPhone biodiversity app?

In the Phactor's ever expanding universe of things he doesn't need comes sci.spy, an iPhone app for recording biodiversity. So far the web site appears to be a gallery for demonstrating poor iPhone photography. My first reaction was to add this to my ever growing list of things no one needs, but a bit of reflection suggests that if you used properly this app might encourage an interest in natural history among kids, who all seem to have cell phones now. So maybe this app is actually useful. Having let students use digital imagery to record field and lab specimens, it is always instructive to quiz them after having seen one of their images. How many petals did that flower have? Did it have any spots? Was is fuzzy or shiny and smooth? Did it have a fragrance? Don't know, well, you only looked and shot, you didn't observe anything. Delete the image and start over. Yes, delete. Once you know what you want to record, what you need to record, then take the picture, or 3 or 4. The lesson is simple, anything that encourages a superficial approach must be redirected or it is useless. So about sci.spy; use with intelligence or don't use it at all. Why if things keep progressing like this, the Phactor may even have to get a cell phone, or not. Any users care to comment?

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