This Article presents a brief summary of the available research on those students who have used computers throughout their entire educational careers, including their strengths, their weaknesses, and how they differ from their instructors-many of whom did not use computers to any significant degree for research during college and law school. This Article asserts that these differences are cultural and argues that, in the interest of better educating and preparing our students to become lifelong learners who are equipped to self-assess their research, law school teachers must adjust their teaching styles to not only teach to these students' strengths and enlighten them about their weaknesses, but to also teach in a manner that reflects the way the students think and learn.
Because students are always plugged into technology and are always searching the internet, this Article advocates the incorporation of research throughout the entire semester as a fluid, ever-present component to teaching all other skills and concepts. Several examples are presented, including a closed-memorandum problem illustrating its dual function as a vehicle for introducing a deductive, analytical paradigm for written analysis and its use as a guide to, and self-assessment of, research. A second example involves a statute that can be used to introduce statutory analysis and interpretation as well as the close reading skills necessary to conduct an informed and complete research process.
Julie Spanbauer, Mind the Gap: Teaching Research As A Fluid, Ever-Present Concept in the First-Year Legal Research and Writing Classroom, 66 Mercer L. Rev. 651 (2015)