Posted by: MandyS | March 3, 2014

Technologies to watch

In Technology Outlook: UK Tertiary Education 2011–2016 (Johnson and Adams, 2011), various technologies are identified which are likely to have an impact on ‘learning in the future’. Some more short term e.g. cloud computing, mobiles, open content and tablets, and some more longer term e.g. augmented reality, telepresence and smart objects. I have completed the table but found the ‘my organisation’ bit a little difficult. My organisation is the OU and I am fairly certain that it is likely to have implemented a good proportion of these technologies already or be in the process of doing so. However, my interest is the Law Programme,  and this is a different story. The introduction of technology is limited to the use of i-tutorials, podcasts and forums across the modules and OU Live for the introductory ones and certainly none of the ones referred to in the report.

So which three would I like to see adopted? I am a firm believer in adopting technology into legal education which is likely to mirror that already in use in the profession. Believe it or not, the use of technology abounds in the legal profession . Many years ago, live links were introduced into courts to avoid the expense of prisoners being brought to court for administrative hearings. The technology was quite simple, but the practicalities comical; remembering to remain seated so one did not go out of view of the camera being the most notable. Live links are now the mainstay of many proceedings and in America it would appear that virtual courtrooms are becoming the norm also. CPS lawyers were given Tablets to prosecute with about three years ago when the ‘files’ became digital and the tech savvy defence have not been slow to adopt the advantages of paperless practice. On that basis I think two of my technologies would be firstly Telepresence; I am intrigued by this and see it as an alternative to video conferencing, which has already been trialled for mooting. A brief spot of research reveals virtual classrooms have been trialled at Universities in London to allow students the opportunity to experience court room procedure and legal negotiation (Education without walls). I would think it may also be useful for mooting, but I will have to investigate this further, and Tablets; the report refers to Northumbria University researching the value of using iPads in legal education so this is something I would like to follow up.  The third one was a bit more difficult and I have looked at all the technologies to see which might be the most useful to the Law Programme. I think open content is perhaps the most obvious as it provides the students with the opportunity to engage with materials which they might not otherwise have access to.



  1. Hi Amanda

    I do agree with your view about adopting technologies that are already in use. There is considerable interest in using the devices that learners already own (BYOD Bring your own device). This often associated with mobile devices.



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