"We no longer live in a world where a substantial 'fact bank' in our heads is required"
said teacher Joe Overton* last week, speaking to the Association of Teachers and Lecturers.
Mr Overton's idea seems to be that people don't need to remember lists of facts any more because they can always look them up on their smart phones.
Oh yes, I can't wait to be in a plane where the pilot's reading the manual as he's coming in to land. Especially as the phone signal is quite likely to wipe out his connection with Air Traffic Control.
And what fun to see a referee scrolling through the rules on his smart phone as the most blatant foul in the history of the game takes place right in front of his screen.
Still, I'm sure a surgeon can operate one-handed while he consults his electric memory (to sterilise a phone just drop it into boiling water). We just have to hope that no trolls have been tramping through the HOW TO SAVE A LIFE website lately, that's all.
I don't know, though...I must admit I haven't actually got a smart phone, myself, so perhaps they're truly wonderful. I know some of you read The Word Den on your phones (and you're really extremely welcome), so perhaps you can help me, my memory not being a hundred per cent reliable, with these facts.
1. Where did I leave my glasses?
2. What's the name of that flower I saw the other day?
3. And how on earth can I understand how things fit together if I only know the stuff that's showing on my phone?
Word To Use Today: fact. This word comes from the Latin word factus, which means something done, from facere, to make.
* I've seen Mr Overton's name given as Jon, too, but of course he won't mind my having got it wrong. It's just a fact, after all, so why should any of us bother?