Are We Ethically Bound to Use Student Engagement Technologies for Teaching Law?

The Law Teacher, 49:2, 219-241 (2015).

Deakin Law School Research Paper No. 17-20

33 Pages Posted: 22 Apr 2017 Last revised: 9 Sep 2017

See all articles by Elizabeth A Kirley

Elizabeth A Kirley

Osgoode Hall Law School York University; Deakin School of Business and Law

Date Written: June 1, 2015

Abstract

What conscientious law professor of first year, large format classes in torts, contracts, or criminal law has not pondered how to better engage students while easing their reluctance to speak out in class? While students entering law schools are quite adept with student engagement technologies (SETs) from undergraduate classes, some law faculties seem tied to the passive environment of lectures and PowerPoint presentations and hence reject SET methodologies as so much techno-wizardry. With the entry of webbased programmes into the expanding field of SETs, and increasing empirical evidence that active learning improves grades and closes gender and socio-economic gaps, the ethical question arises, are we not obliged as law teachers to employ them? This paper examines in three steps that gap between pronouncing from the podium and actively engaging learners by clicker response or web-based devices. Part I reviews the growing literature on active learning including SET-based methods. Part II examines two models of SETs, remote-based and web-based, for their comparative attributes and drawbacks, with a particular focus on law teaching. Part III details the author’s experiences with the clicker system teaching introductory law and criminology and offers practical suggestions for facilitating its use. The paper concludes that, in light of recent evidence of heightened learning success using active learning methodologies, and the impending complexity to education posed by wearable technologies, the ethical question of pedagogical competence grows in importance.

Keywords: law pedagogy, student engagement technologies, clicker, flipped classroom, active learning

Suggested Citation

Kirley, Elizabeth A, Are We Ethically Bound to Use Student Engagement Technologies for Teaching Law? (June 1, 2015). The Law Teacher, 49:2, 219-241 (2015)., Deakin Law School Research Paper No. 17-20, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2952188

Elizabeth A Kirley (Contact Author)

Osgoode Hall Law School York University ( email )

4700 Keele Street
North York
Toronto, ON M3J 1P3
Canada

HOME PAGE: http://elizabethkirley.com

Deakin School of Business and Law ( email )

Waterfront Campus
Geelong
Victoria, 3125
Australia

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