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Visual law teaching tools are available or in development at New York Law School’s ‘Dotank’

Product/Design : IT in Law Teaching

Short Description : Faculty at New York Law School are currently developing new ways to help students learn law by interacting with software programs outside of class. Current projects include the following:

Current projects include the following:

What Problem Does It Solve?: Faculty time is limited. Students learn most effectively when they can play a role, build an argument structure or take actions based on their understanding of the material. Multiple choice tests don’t probe true understanding. But essays are difficult to grade. The interactive systems we are working on allow students to build legal structures, play a role, or use interactivity to explore relationships between legal concepts.

How Does It Do That?: These systems are designed to be very easy to author. A non-technical faculty member can create a new exercise in no more time than it takes to come up with a good hypothetical for use in class. The student can then use these systems at their own convenience, between classes, to develop a better understanding of the subject matter. Because these systems use semantic objects, the student’s work can be evaluated (scored) automatically – and the student can “re-play” the exercises again and again to reinforce the learning experience.

Why Is It Different? : All of these tools are designed to allow a non-technical faculty member to author an interactive learning tool very quickly. The interactivity is designed to reinforce learning. The object oriented structure allows real time assessment of student performance. And playing with these interactive learning tools is fun.

Who Will Use It? : Teachers and students.

Other Potential Uses : Creation of educational objects for use by anyone on the web.

More Detailed Description : See the IT Gallery.

Lead Designer : David R. Johnson

Sponsors: New York Law School.


See also:

Peter Tillers on “picture thinking”

The Horizon Report (2006) (excellent survey of innovative technology-based teaching practices)

law/media/culture project

Visual Evidence, Argument & Persuasion (on picturing factual inference)

Better Ways to Make Your Case

Visual Imagery and Law Teaching (Gonzaga)


For “best practices” in digital discovery, see: Doar.

For an important judicial opinion on digital discovery, see: Doar (judicial opinion).