Clickers for Court

Students use app-based clickers in class.One of the biggest challenges for law professors is teaching their students real-life skills that transfer into the workplace. Skills such as recognizing micro-expressions (a “break” in someone hiding their true feelings) can be hard to teach to students through conventional means, as it usually takes years of experience to become skilled at detecting them in court.

Nicole O’Byrne, law professor at UNB, has come up with what she believes to be a reliable training method to teach students to recognize these micro-expressions. Using Infuse Learning, an app-based clicker students can use on their phone or laptop, O’Byrne created a test that displays facial expressions for a split second before students answer to identify which emotion they saw expressed. One student commented that although the high speed of the test was intense, it got them used to trusting their gut instinct.

The results speak for themselves too. With a 16% increase in average score between the pre-test and full test, students gained valuable experience that they otherwise would have only received from time in the field.

Student response was very positive as well, with many students citing how interesting they found the material, and that the exercise itself was highly stimulating. The only drawbacks were technological ones, such as Internet speed limiting response time, and students with phone compatibility or screen-size limitations. 

O’Byrne maintains that with proper preparation with the technology, and with a reliable deck of micro-expression images, this exercise is powerful for teaching skills that will make a difference in the careers of the law students. 

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