'Magnetism is one of the Six Fundamental Forces of the Universe, with the other five being Gravity, Duct Tape, Whining, Remote Control, and The Force That Pulls Dogs Toward The Groins Of Strangers.' - Dave Barry.
Pens and notepads will not be the only things marketing students reach for when they turn up to lectures at Kingston University in the UK this semester. They will also be making sure they have their remote controls at the ready so they can take part in a new 'audience participation system' that is bringing their lessons to life.
The interactive electronic voting technology, similar to that used by studio audiences on the television quiz show 'Who Wants to be a Millionaire?', now allows the students to register their answers to lecturers' questions at the touch of a button.
The system is being pioneered as a teaching tool at the Faculty of Business and Law and has already had a big take up amongst students.
Principal lecturer George Masikunas said it was an easy way to check how well students understood new concepts as they were discussed and initial feedback had been very encouraging.
Principal lecturer Andreas Panayiotidis, who was responsible for introducing the system with Mr. Masikunas, said the new teaching format had raised attendance at lectures and improved grades. He puts the improvement in student performance down to the quick, interactive nature of the classes creating a livelier atmosphere for learning.
It's a great idea. And one that might also have applications in industry. Especially in those long somewhat monotonous management sessions that we all frequently have to attend.
Imagine how the Monday Morning Management Meeting with your VP of Engineering or VP of Marketing might be enlivened by the use of such a tool. Instead of simply listening while ideas and concepts are laboriously delivered with the aid of the now mandatory, too-often-abused Power Point Presentation, you the listener would have the ability to pass comment as the presentation unfolded.
Here's how it could work. Imagine that one set of buttons on the remote is allocated to a set of positive comments about the presentation - such as interesting, bold, thoughtful and innovative - while another set might be more negative, informing the speaker that his presentation is totally off the mark, dull, uncreative, or lacklustre.
As the Power Point Presentation progressed, the manager could then see how his remarks were being met by his captive audience.
Of course, I don't expect that every manager will be happy to embrace the technology right from the word go. Not at all. There will inevitably be a few Luddites who see its use as a threat to their role within the company. And they will inevitably try to play down the importance of it.
But such individuals won't be found in those companies who believe that the views of their employees are fundamental to the creation of a dynamic thrusting entrepreneurial business. Then again, I've been wrong before.