by Paul Maharg on 25/09/2006

Giving a talk to the final KODOS conference in the Netherlands, Spelend leren in virtuele werelden, Delft, 27.9.06.  The question I set myself was basically how far can we go in the use of simulation in professional legal education.  Slides are under Publications to the left, but the short answer is, all the way.  There’s no reason why an entire professional course can’t use a simulation environment.  To a greater or lesser extent there will be f2f activities & learning events, but it’s certainly the case that in every module on the Diploma in Legal Practice, for instance, the simulation world can be used as a learning and assessment tool.  Can it be used in undergrad courses too?  For many of them, I don’t see why not.  Why don’t we, then?  That’s the more interesting question, to be answered in part by TLE 2.0 and its evaluative data…

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1 Patricia McKellar October 3, 2006 at 15:08

I’m coming to this conclusion too. Paul,Karen, Sefton and I did a paper recently at the Society of Legal Scholars Conference and the last slide finished with some thoughts on where legal education is going. There were two really interesting thoughts- the first was the blurring of the professional and the academic educational structure. This is inevitable with the rise of the web 2.0 technologies and applications like e-portfolios and PLSs which will allow students to carry through the management of their learning into the professional sphere. Practitioners too are keen for this type of synergy. Last week I was talking to the Legal Education and Training Group of City Solicitors in London and they were ready to embrace this idea that learning from your alma mater didn’t stop when you were no longer there.
But to come back to the original point-our talk also raised the issue of the blurring of the real and the virtual world in learning. There is a growing awareness of this happening in other aspects of our lives which has even found its way into The Times of 2nd October which ran a report about the indie band the Hedrons who will become the first British group to host a virtual concert on Second Life, the online fantasy world. The groups avatars will play at the virtual Hedro Dome while the real group will perform in the studio with their movements being fimed and synchronised with the avatars. This explosion in the fusion of the real and the virtual points the way to the increased use of simulations in education at any stage in the educational process. It’s a different way of thinking and learning and one which are students are going to be completely familiar with.

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