Integrating Virtual Reality Technology Into Criminal Law Education

Criminal law is a very interesting subject, and while reading could be fun, a massive pile of books might not entice anyone to go to law school. Furthermore, even if people get past thick textbooks, another obstacle presents itself in the form of law jargon that is often difficult to understand, especially for new students. Everyone wants to become educated, and there are better and more enjoyable ways—thanks to high technology—to achieve such goal.

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Some professors at Westminster Law School are capitalizing on a new form of teaching system. Instead of classes with mundane books, they are using gaming and virtual reality to explain concepts, do simulations, and study pieces of evidence.

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Virtual reality is the newest form of gaming technology that is now being used by a wide spectrum of industries outside entertainment. It lets the player immerse himself in the game to such an extent that it feels as if he were in the game itself. The Westminster Law School collaborated with the university’s Department of Computer Science to create a virtual reality game that aims to immerse criminal law students in the subject. It is called Real and Virtual Reality Law or REVRLaw, and it is now in its testing phase.

The university is currently determining its effectiveness in helping students learn about criminal law. With the program, participants explore a real case scenario using VR technology. Apparently, getting to experience the situation ‘firsthand’ is so much better than just reading about it from the books.

“Instead of students only learning from books, the idea was to give students the chance to understand criminology by actually interacting with a crime scene environment,” said Markos Mentzelopoulos, a senior lecturer in the university’s computer science department. “It’s a way for them to explore case studies in different ways, taking advantage of VR’s immersive properties.”

Michael J. Donohue is a criminal defense lawyer representing men and women charged with felony and misdemeanor crimes, as well as juveniles charged in Juvenile Court. He runs his own law firm, DONOHUE LAW, in Allentown, PA.


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