Paul L. Caron

Saturday, August 3, 2019

How Two Law Schools Use Virtual Reality In The Classroom

Legal Tech News, Curriculum Comes Alive: How Two Law Schools Use Virtual Reality in the Classroom:

In recent years, law schools have injected a host of technologically-savvy initiatives into their curriculum, ranging from start-up incubators to online-centric coursework and beyond. But some law schools are looking to move their curriculum into a new dimension: the third dimension, to be specific.

The educational tracks at the 2019 American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) conference opened with “Virtual Reality in the Law Classroom,” a presentation of what two law schools have done with 360 video and 3-D modeling technologies to increase their students’ learning. Kenton Brice, director of technology innovation at University of Oklahoma College of Law, and Jenny Wondracek, director of legal educational technology at UNT Dallas College of Law, demonstrated that while the technology may seem futuristic, adopting it is feasible now.

For Brice at Oklahoma, the goal in adopting new technologies is to see them used in a way that integrates with what students are already learning. “We don’t actually have a class in 3D technology; we’re looking to leverage it for the preexisting curriculum,” he explained.

To that end, Oklahoma has explored virtual reality technologies in a number of different settings within preexisting courses, ranging from using professionally-created videos within the school’s Human Rights curriculum (such as the UN-created Clouds Over Sidra) to faculty-created videos with the school’s Transactional Law Practicum. One student, Brice said, even used the school’s VR capabilities to create a 360 video of himself at oral arguments, which he’d later critique. ...

For Wondracek at UNT Dallas, the genesis of her virtual reality journey happened when she walked past the school’s courtroom and found a line out the door of 1Ls looking to practice oral arguments. It was then that she thought, why couldn’t that practice be simulated? After a glance into a number of public speaking apps, Wondracek and the UNT Dallas team decided to build something themselves.

The result is a pilot program for advocacy, using virtual reality. The software simulates a courtroom setting, where students are expected to make their case (Wondracek focused on the Lizzie Borden trial for the pilot), and the software would grade the student on tone, volume, eye contact and time taken. The student presents to a professor at the beginning and end of the program

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