In discussing with Lauren and myself the possibility of his teaching a class this afternoon, Prof. Andrew Berman of NYLS asked for examples of other educational efforts that have made use of virtual spaces. Using del.icio.us, I have been gathering links to sites describing such efforts here.
Actually, Prof. Berman asked whether virtual law teaching has been attempted before, and the answer (AFAIK) is “no.” Most efforts have been in the K-12 (primarily high school) setting, and of course in the military. Thus it is worth considering what aspects of previous efforts are relevant to our efforts in legal education, and what features of legal education (teachers, learners, setting, etc.) are different. For example, the River City Project emphasizes the value of a MUVE (and specifically, a game-based MUVE) in motivating students who may otherwise not be drawn to studying science. I imagine that motivation is not a great challenge to be overcome in law school, and most professional/adult, education.
During the conversation, Lauren proposed that students have the opportunity to build a space that would illustrate the core principles of property or real estate law that Prof. Berman is trying to teach. This was a brilliant idea, and I think it points to a learning mode that children utilize considerably more than law students: creativity. It’s worth considering where and how that value is important in the context of legal education.