Sunday, May 3, 2015
"A New Era: Integrating Today's 'Next Gen' Research Tools Ravel and Casetext in the Law School Classroom"
This is a new article by Professors Katrina June Lee, Susan Azyndar, Ingrid Mattson (all from Ohio State Moritz School of Law) and available at 41 Rutgers Computer & Tech. L.J. 31 (2015). From the introduction:
The landscape of legal research tools is changing . . . again. In the not so distant past, law professors brought new research tools like WestlawNext, Lexis Advance, and Google Scholar into their classrooms. Now, in a technological blink of the eye, law professors must grapple with how to integrate the latest next generation (“next gen”) research tools, including Ravel and Casetext, in their classrooms. Should law professors teach these next gen research tools as part of the skills curriculum? If so, how?
In this article, we contend that law professors should integrate the new next gen research tools into the law school skills curriculum, and we propose a set of teaching ideas for doing so without sacrificing precious class time. Making the latest next gen research tools a part of the skills classroom agenda advances current pedagogical goals: teaching law students information literacy (e.g., research strategy, context, and source evaluation); teaching metacognitive skills; preparing students for law practice; and exploring professionalism and ethics issues. In Part II, we define “next gen” for purposes of this article. In Part III, we provide an overview of the pedagogical goals that form the major focus of recent literature about teaching legal skills. In Part IV, we give an overview of the newest next gen tools Ravel and Casetext and discuss how teaching these tools furthers those pedagogical goals. In Part V, we describe how, in our teaching and assessment pilot in a legal writing classroom, we introduced first-year law students to these tools. We provide post-exercise comments from students and offer ideas regarding how these tools may be integrated into future legal writing courses. In this article, the first to explore at length the teaching of the newest next gen research tools in the law school classroom, we aim to demonstrate that these tools provide an intriguing and exciting possibility for achieving the pedagogical goals of legal skills classrooms.