Bar News - April 20, 2007
Justices Go on the Air to Connect with Students
By: Dan Wise
More than 200 students from seven high schools—Concord, Colebrook, Londonderry, Merrimack Valley, Portsmouth Christian, Thomas Aquinas, and Timberlane Regional—participated in a live, one-hour interactive videoconference with four of the five members of the NH Supreme Court.
Students were able to listen to the judges’ comments and pose questions during the March 29, 2007 videoconference, which was conducted by the Granite State Distance Learning Network, in cooperation with the Court, the NH Bar Association and NH Public Television. The discussion was broadcast from the NH Technical Institute in Concord.
In the NHTI studio, the judges were face-to-face with a small group of Concord High School students while students from the other schools were linked via two television links that were viewed on large screens in the classrooms. The justices fielded more than a dozen questions that were interspersed with video clips from a recent NHPTV documentary on the NH Supreme Court.
Some of the schools had advance visits from NH Bar volunteers who provided an orientation to the Supreme Court and the appellate process. The justices also reminded students and teachers at the schools that the Supreme Court has live Internet Web-casts of its oral arguments, and that attorneys are increasingly making use of these telecasts to become familiar with the experience of oral argument.
“The students came back enthusiastic about their experience, and with a greater appreciation for the role of the judicial branch,” wrote Ray Gamble, a teacher from Portsmouth Christian Academy. “They were also very impressed with NHPTV’s ability to link the broadcasts from multiple remote sites.”
Both the NHBA Law-Related Education program and the Supreme Court’s communications office said the teleconference was a helpful first step in exploring the use of the teleconference network maintained by the Learning Network, which is an arm of NHPTV that connects many New Hampshire schools.
“It was pretty interesting and cool how we talked directly with them and the other students,” wrote one student who viewed the teleconference from his school.
Students were asked to describe what they had learned from the teleconference. One student replied: “the way the actual justice system works [is] nothing like it is shown on network TV shows like Law and Order.” Another wrote about the additional elements of the job for the justices: “Yes, I think it was good that the justices spoke about more of what they do besides oversee cases, as well as how long it takes to become a justice.”