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Tales from an Instructional Technologist in the world of legal education and beyond…

CALI 2008: Using Animation in Class-Bring your Hypos to Life

Marjorie A. McDiarmid, Professor of Law @ West Virginia University College of Law

Teach about 125 students Evidence in Fall. Students have difficulty thinking of applying how Evidence works in practice. It is like learning how to play chess without ever seeing the chess board. She uses turning point technology to group responses based upon the original decision to sustain or overrule. You can see if people made a mistake on the first question whether that mistake carries forward. What we are doing is giving people a slice of a courtroom example. In her view, she doesn’t need a complicated 10 or 15 role play to get to the point where she can get to with this technology.  The other pro is that you can put something like this together in 15 minutes. It is much more labor intensive to build a role play. The advantages of using this methodology, is that it is more attention getting and in some fundamental way, more concrete. The students are seeing how those questions get asked in a courtroom setting and she can teach the students the skill of how to hear it. It has to involve not only training of the mind, but absorption of the materials as they come and reaction time. 

Vox Proxy is the software she uses to create the animation within PowerPoint (see a demo PPT here). The high price is around $200, but there is educational pricing that is much less. There is also a thirty day free trial. Vox Proxy does not work on a MAC. She did a quick demo of how you can add characters, movement and dialog to the simulation.  If you are looking for something a little more advanced, I did a quick search and found someone who stated Antics is like “Vox Proxy on steroids”. She feels the animation makes concrete the situations that students may have trouble visualizing. Then, she can get the audience engaged when she employs the TurningPoint technology.

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