Mapping the Law – Using Visual Mindmaps in Legal Education

Try to remember something, to pull something out of the recesses of your memory. For example, what you did with your significant other on your last anniversary or more specifically, what gift you gave your significant other at that anniversary. Having trouble pulling it up? (The brain is not a computer after all).

Now try to visualize where you were. Images help memory recall. Associating strong visual and mental images with verbal or abstract information makes that information easier to recall in the future.

Professor Jeffrey Ritter of Georgetown Law leverages the power of mental imaging in “Mapping the Law: Building and Using Visual Mindmaps in Legal Education.” The video is part of the Igniting Law Teaching conference hosted by LegalEd at American University, Washington College of Law. Igniting Law Teaching provided a forum for professors experimenting with cutting edge technologies and techniques in law teaching to spread ideas to the broader legal education community.

You can read more about images and memory devices in Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning, by Brown, Roediger, and McDaniel.

Summer Book Club: Education Edition

In between catching up on your fun reading – The Fault In Our Stars, The Goldfinch, or Gone Girl (if you’re really behind) – and those writing projects you’ve been planning to start, make some time to reflect on this past semester and year and check out one of these Top 10 Books on Teaching. We’re all suffering a little “dire predictions for legal education fatigue,” right? Let’s make a commitment to read something inspiring about teaching and learning this summer.

James M. Lang’s list, published recently in The Chronicle of Higher Education, includes some oldies but goodies (What the Best College Teachers Do by Ken Bain) as well as some newer titles to refresh our teaching goals and commitment like Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning by renowned cognitive psychologists Henry L. Roediger III and Mark A. McDaniel, along with Peter C. Brown, published this year. Make It Stick is definitely on my reading list this summer.