September 2, 2007
Is a paperless classroom inevitable ... desirable?
A new piece from Legal Times (available here from law.com) has me wondering whether the traditional casebook is on the way to extinction and whether that would be a good or bad reality. This piece is entitled, "Skilled E-Scholars Click Their Way Up: An interactive electronic casebook brings digital learning to law classes," and it is authored by Prof. Diana Donahoe of Georgetown. Here is how it begins:
Are your students surfing the Web or checking their e-mail during your class? Most law professors would answer this question with an exasperated "Yes!" and wonder what steps they can take to win the war against technology.
Some professors have banned laptops and other wireless devices from their classrooms. But I believe this digital energy can be harnessed -- not discouraged -- in order to facilitate learning in law school. I have therefore taken a different tactic and joined the digital generation on their side of the laptops by creating an interactive, electronic casebook called TeachingLaw.com (Aspen Publishers, 2006).
This e-book, which is being used in law schools from the District to California, combines nonlinear text, interactivity, immediate feedback and multimedia with rich legal content into a convenient online package to meet the needs of the "digital students."
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I suspect that it will take a long time for e-text to catch up with the affordances of paper. I've been using a tablet PC and its capabilities still pale in comparison with a notepad. That said, on at least one dimension -- the spinal health of students -- we need to find a way to slim those casebooks down!
Posted by: Gene Koo | Sep 12, 2007 11:54:50 AM
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