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Saturday 2:00-3:00
Academic Papers 11 (Royal Salon C)
Carey Christensen, Moderator

Student Laptops in the Entertainment Management Classroom: An Effective Learning Tool or a Distraction? A Pilot Study on the Use of Laptops in the Classroom

Armen Shaomian
Assistant Professor
University of South Carolina

    The use of technology in the classroom is being heavily promoted and encouraged across all departments, programs and universities nationally and internationally. WiFi is widely available on a majority of campuses, and institutions provide free software for students. But does the addition of more technology in the entertainment and music business classroom help create an optimal learning environment or simply distract the students?

    This pilot study examines the impact of allowing technology in classroom teaching. The study methodology required students to decide during their first week of classes whether or not they would be using laptops in the classroom, and had to adhere to the decision they had made for the entire semester. While a majority of them (N=56) chose not to use laptops, those who opted for laptop use (N=16) were seated in two specific rows of the classroom, so as not to distract those students who would not be using laptops.

    During the course of the semester, all students were given the same teaching materials and instruction. At the end of the semester, the results of the two groups were compared based on those using laptops vs. those not using laptops. Further comparisons were based on sex, major, and participation in class discussions.

    The results suggest that there was a slight negative impact on the performance of those students who used laptops. Specifically, the median of those students not using laptops was 86 and the median of those using laptops was 83. However, the difference in performance between the two groups is not statistically significant. This could be due to the limited sample of 73 students. Therefore, this study will be continued, extending the pool and database adding approximately 150 additional participants.

    The intent is to continue this study, comparing technology use versus grades and also a comparison on majors vs. minors in the entertainment management program. The results of this study will greatly assist educators in the most effective way of using technology in classroom teaching, as well as allowing students to use laptops and tablets more effectively in the entertainment classroom.

A Real-Life Approach to the Pedagogy of Social Media for M.I.

Rich Meitin
Music Industry Program Director
Minnesota State University, Mankato

    By the 2009-10 school year, it had become abundantly clear that professional social media was competing powerfully with traditional PR in the music industry, and replacing the latter much of the time. The current generation of young listeners has a thorough distrust of advertising, trade articles, and the like. However, young listeners do trust their peers, and some bloggers. I wanted to create new coursework to address these changes but I could not find any textbooks, or even enough on-point periodical articles, with which to create a class.

    So I turned to Ariel Hyatt, the leading professional practitioner of social media for music. Formerly a traditional publicist for major-label artists, Ariel had created a new and highly affordable web-based P.R. business model. At any given time, her practice could accommodate the needs of scores of artists (as opposed to the traditional PR model, which charges thousands of dollars each to a few artists, for P.R.). By working over a number of weeks with her, I was able to put together authoritative subject matter to underlie a social media class (in my case, at the sophomore level).

    But—how to implement this subject matter? I thought it imperative to practice with social media, not just study it. So, we took on real-world clients, from Ariel’s nationwide client base, from our Midwest region, and from our town. Students were divided into three-person teams, and tasked with helping clients conceive and articulate their needs, formulate an action plan, and divide the action plan appropriately (between clients and students).

    One major aspect of this approach is confronting the real-world messiness of clients: Some are far more constructive, informed, articulate and cooperative than others. So, a key class component became developing differential strategies of client management. Intriguingly, some of the most rewarding experiences came from managing bad clients. Students took pride in finding solutions for dealing with temperament, inconsistency, ego, etc. Some students even volunteered to take on the more difficult clients. Other students derived satisfaction from the measurable progress of working with better clients. Thus, as this class continues to be offered, our sophomores are presented with significant opportunities for interpersonal maturation, and almost all of them step up effectively to this vital area of growth. This year I will be teaching my fifth such class.

    Ariel has recently completed a professional social media book. Prof. Charlie Dahan of Middle Tennessee State and I developed a free teacher supplement to the book, which creates a largely ready-to-teach classroom option which I can mention in my session. In general, I propose to take teachers through:

•    Ways to structure a semester incorporating both subject matter and client practice
•    A model for implementing a client’s social-media program quickly and effectively
•    Ideas for teaching client-management skills
•    Student team-building strategies

At the end, free copies of Ariel’s book and the teacher supplement will be distributed.

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