This here in the NYTimes brings to mind something that's been happening more and more often in my classes lately.
The article is about mistrials being declared because jurors are using their Blackberries and iPhones to do research on any given piece of testimony or on some expert's credentials or on a certain sort of medical technology, all of this during the actual trial -- none of which, of course, is legal.
I'm not surprised, since my students have been doing the same to me.
"Uh, well," I will say. "Oxford Convocation. We're talking early part of the fifteenth century here. I don't remember the exact year, it's a number, I'm bad with numbers, but the point is--"
"1406," some student will say from halfway down the third row, his Blackberry on his desk.
Or someone will ask me about an obscure linquistic point, and I'll brush it off, as I have always done, since we don't really need that level of detail in the class, and before I can finish saying so, someone else in class has Wikipedia open and is explaining it.
It's creating an entirely different, and very interesting, sort of classroom.