Teaching the Smartphone Generation: How Cognitive Science Can Improve Learning in Law School

31 Pages Posted: 14 Apr 2013

Date Written: February 1, 2013

Abstract

Today’s law student enters law school as a digital native, constantly “plugged in” and accessing information at a moment’s notice, often during class time itself. Yet scholars agree that these students are entering law school with weaker reading and reasoning skills than prior generations, due in large part to the way students multitask through life. This article aims to address the problems caused by the intersection of these two issues by applying cognitive learning theory to the law school environment. Part One examines the characteristics of our current students by describing their skills and learning styles upon arriving at law school. Part Two examines cognitive learning theory insofar as it can inform our teaching andragogy: specifically, how do today’s students learn, how can we help our students learn better, and what effect does their multitasking have on learning? The final section suggests ways for students and educators to better translate the information offered in class into knowledge. Ultimately, this article suggests teaching students about metacognition and effective study techniques while also encouraging professors to design and plan their courses by adopting cognitive learning theories and using more visual aids, visual exercises, and assessments to help students better learn the material.

Suggested Citation

George, Shailini, Teaching the Smartphone Generation: How Cognitive Science Can Improve Learning in Law School (February 1, 2013). Maine Law Review, Vol. 66, No. 1, Winter 2013, Suffolk University Law School Research Paper No. 13-10, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2245882

Shailini George (Contact Author)

Suffolk University Law School ( email )

120 Tremont Street
Boston, MA 02108-4977
United States

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