I’ve worked with my current Head of Department for 25 years. He was second in the department when I started in the school. I can distinctly remember him saying in about 1991 words to the effect of – you will NEVER get me using a computer, I am telling you now ! – Well, I wouldn’t say that he’ll ever be Sir Tim Berners-Lee, if you know what I mean, but I doubt very much that he’d be able to function in work or at home without his PC and his laptop now. Never is a very long time, especially where technology is concerned.
I say this because of something that happened in the quiz in the rugby club last night. It was a very tight contest all evening. On the questions we scored 70 ( just me and two social quizzers ), Rob’s team, Lemurs ( joint runner up in Brain of Britain 2012 – 5 team members ) scored 71, and the Vestas ( cast of thousands – one of whom often sits with a book in her lap, at least another two of whom have been seen using their phones to look for answers – not that I am bitter, you understand ) scored 69. Great performance from our team, I thought, getting so close to Lemurs. The annoying thing was that I’m sure we could have drawn with Lemurs. It happened like this – Brian asked the question “Two members of which famous group of the 1960’s wrote songs under the pseudonym Nanker Phelge / Nanker and Phelge ? The problem was this. I heard it as which two members of a famous group of the 1950’s . . . Now, Brian is adamant that he said 60s, and there’s certainly no reason for him to have said 50s, so it must have been my error. Would I have known it even if I’d heard 60s ? No, not known it. But would I have guessed it ? Possibly so.
It struck me, though, that maybe it won’t be that long before reading out a pub quiz off pieces of paper becomes less and less common. As I said at the start of this post, never is a very long time where technology is concerned, and you find it being used and adapted by even the unlikeliest people, in the unlikeliest places. Many places nowadays would surely have the facility whereby you could plug in your laptop to the big screen projector, and show each question simultaneously with you asking it. It would certainly avoid mistakes like the one I made last night. I’ve been to a couple of charity quizzes where they have actually done this. Is it coming do you think ? Certainly if it was possible to connect the laptop to the big projector, as I do at school, I could do some quite different quizzes down the club – and for all I know lots of places are already doing this.
As regards last night, though, to be fair I have to put my hand up and admit that it’s my own fault. We could even have won the questions had I put down that 2 pi R is the circumference and not the diameter of a circle. D’oh !