Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Making use of wearable cameras to better teach legal skills

Professor Debbie Borman, a legal writing professor at Northwestern and incoming Chair of the AALS Teaching Methods Section, thought our readers would be interested in a program organized by the TM section at the recently concluded AALS annual conference in San Francisco last week since it addressed a very innovative use of classroom technology that most associate with law enforcement. That's right, body cameras and other wearable video technology. The panelists discussed using this technology to help students better assess their body language and speaking styles during mock legal skills exercises such as moot court and simulated negotiations.  

As Professor Borman describes it, the panel discussion, which was called "Using Technology to Unlock Engagement
and Learning,” featured Professors Alyson Carrel (Northwestern) and David Dowling (Chapman) who demonstrated how wearable technology can be helpful in several ways in the context of legal skills classes. For instance, the panelists told the audience how they've been using small, wearable cameras in their mediation and negotiation classes to help students better assess their speaking styles and body language. The panelists discussed how this technology allows students to tweak their communication styles in subsequent exercises in ways that resulted in noticeable improvements and greater self-confidence. In particular Professor Borman observed that wearable technology would also be useful in moot court activities as well. As she explained after watching the panel's presentation: “Such technology enables students to get immediate feedback about distracting body language as well as feedback that can help smooth out vocalizations for more success and confidence in oral argument.”

It sounds like a very successful, informative program all the way around. Thanks for sharing.



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