Wearables in the Legal Classroom

Implementing wearable technology in legal education: The case of Google Glass.

Nominated for the Wynand Wijnen Award 2015, The SURF Innovation People’s choice award, Wharton Star 2015 and Wharton Star 2016.

Traditionally Skills introduction to comparative law, a first year skills course in the European law school bachelor programme, was designed to introduce students to the skills required for their future jobs as lawyers. However, we recon that workforce-demands are changing, asking for a different kind of skill set amongst graduates. This skillset is often referred to as 21st century skills, which are needed to increase employability. Emerging technologies offer a toolkit to adhere to these changes and stimulate the development of 21st century skills, for example by creating a real-life context for learning, increase world readiness, collaboration skills. Second, as emerging technologies rapidly develop, the need to develop a skillset for collaborating in and with emerging technologies is becoming a requirement for learners and is considered a 21st century skill as such.

Therefore we decided to implement wearable technology, in the form of Google Glass, into the main component for this course, namely the moot court (a simulation of a real life court proceedings). By doing so students not only get aquatinted with emerging technologies but also develop a different skill-set to prepare them for the labour market. Furthermore we discovered that implementing such “cool” technologies stimulates student engagement as such: Students specifically asked if they could please be selected to use Glass, and even started posting Google-glass selfies on their Facebook pages.

250 students enrolled in the course, divided into 92 teams, are preparing a pleating that represents the interest of their specific client in a fictional case. Half of these students are randomly selected to use Google Glass during their actual pleating. These student will, instead of using paper based written pleating notes, will prepare virtual information in a format of their own choosing (image, text, etc.) which will be displayed in front of their eyes during their pleadings. Results showed that, when using wearables there was a significant effect of both academic enjoyment and test anxiety on the development of procedural knowledge. Hence, wearables can be used to increase the development of procedural knowledge through the increase of enjoyment and the reduction of test anxiety. Results of this project will be published soon.

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