At the same time, no other technology is more despised. Law school technology crews are invariably asked to jam wireless networks in certain places at certain times. Let me be specific: Every faculty has at least one member who asks that the network be jammed during his or her classes.
But why? Consider the following:
- Yes, wireless networks facilitate Internet access. That means sports and gossip pages, personal e-mail, perhaps even online poker during class. All that is distracting, arguably in a way that crossword puzzles are not, since other students can see the offending screens. But a ban on wireless access simply restores the primacy of solitaire, hearts, Freecell, and Minesweeper.
- Jamming the network for one professor's benefit runs the risk of creating dead spots. And forgetting to restore coverage is simply the latest variation on the theme of careless or even inconsiderate behavior among professors. It's bad enough that we forget to erase the chalkboard or to raise the projection screen.
- The whole affair reeks of needless paternalism. Law students, with rare exceptions, are old enough to vote, to drink, and to enlist. They are also old enough to waste tuition and to receive (or deliver) informal social sanctions for engaging in poor, distracting uses of wireless technology during law school classes.
This item has been cross-posted at Law School Innovation.