Technology is always changing, but how does education and technology advance together without one or the other suffering along the way. Like it or not, technological tools and education share a similar path in what I consider a very fickle relationship. Here are five things I think are quickly changing in the Law School environment.
1. With the Socratic method central to the Law School educational process. We have known that our classroom environments demand an effective audio capturing capability that can handle the input from multiple participants throughout a room. With today’s technology you can effectively deploy a solution that is fairly cost effective. Easy right?
Capturing audio and video of a classroom is one thing, but what if we saw an incredibly revolutionary step forward technologically that transforms the already effective Socratic method. How do we give the student and the professor even more ability to dialogue and present arguments from where they are in the room with the power of the visual medium? This revolution is on the horizon. Giving the students the ability to “drive” mediums in the classroom from their seats is a quickly approaching reality. The trick will be costs. How can we deploy such a capability without having to wire every seat?
2. Skills based assessments are time consuming to conduct and are difficult to simulate. The demonstration of skills and assessing skills in an efficient, effective, and timely manner for the student and the professor has yet to evolve without the use of technology. With the dawn of new technological advances such as Panopto, this learning environment tool has truly taken this need in a fresh new direction. I think we are only seeing the beginning of how we use technology to meet this need.
3. The “upside down” method has changed the classroom experience in various educational environments. Though we are not sure if we will see this happen more often in the Law School environment. The use of tools such as Panopto give faculty the ability to create the class session and allow for students to view classes on their schedule or make up session when not able to attend. Though this will require evaluation in educational accreditation, the opportunity for learning to custom fit the student and therefore provide for a greater opportunity of success has much potential here. The challenge will be technological advances that engulf students in the educational environment and provide effective evaluations of learning.
4. The Tablet medium has not yet fully infiltrated the Law School environment, though it is quickly coming. Many questions have yet to be answered of these more mobile devices we have grown to love for personal use. I think the jury is still out (pardon my courtroom jargon) on their use in classroom at this level of education. We are bound to see the death of the laptop transform the classroom environment, but how? Whether we will see the mobile device add to the experience of the laptop computer in the classroom or replace the laptop computer in the future is still unclear. Thus far we have yet to see the tablet effectively replace the laptop. Rather it has become a learning companion to the Laptop. With mobility the key for all students we are already beginning to see the demand for the replacement of the bulky laptop take hold.
5.All of our devices still demand power or charging and various connection types rarely become a legacy standard. Will battery technology take a leap forward any time soon finding us not needing a charge on most of our devices after 2 to 3 days? I can only dream. Even still, 10 years ago we would have never imagined a educaitonal campus filled with wireless capabilities for internet connections and miles CAT5 widely unused. We have already begun to see USB become a standard wall plug and furniture fixture accompanying the standard AC electrical socket. Yet, is this really the right step to take. Will USB stand the test of time and become a legacy standard? We have already seen the form factor of USB evolve in some applications with the advent of USB 3.0.