Laptops and the internet have changed the way law students conduct legal research, prepare for class, and participate in class. By and large, however, most professors stick to the Socratic method and do not integrate technology in the classroom. Professors should join the revolution and use technology to help prepare students become better lawyers.
I am a big believer in practical skills classes. The use of videotaping in those classes was instrumental to helping me learn. Watching yourself is one of the most educational experiences any student can go through. Most students and attorneys will critique themselves more harshly than anyone else will—which is a good thing. The professor’s critique is helpful, but being able to watch yourself is even more revealing.
Professors could also use Skype as a means to broaden the classroom. It probably has some limited applicability, but it has some appeal from any form of international law class, allowing students to communicate with other legal professionals around the globe. Clever institutions could perhaps even hire an adjunct professor from another country, and have them teach a class over Skype.
Even using PowerPoint presentation can help students learn. Use the bullet points as discussion points, or even, dare I say, do not hide the ball and provide students with the big points from each class. Students still need to learn how to apply the law, even if they know what it is.
It goes against the grain to change the law school classroom experience. But professors can use technology to help their students learn more effectively, and ultimately, become better attorneys in the process.