IN THE LATE 1990S, HARVARD LAW SCHOOL INVESTED A LOT OF MONEY TO renovate and modernize some beautiful old classrooms. Among other things, the school’s administrators decided to install new chairs. The old ones were incredibly uncomfortable—hard, plastic, and form-fitting. The chairs harkened back to an earlier era of education, when students were expected to sit still and ramrod straight, responding to hard questions and taking notes as the hoary old professor at the front of the room drilled the laws of evidence into their brains.
Having decided to update the chairs, Harvard Law School decided it would make sense to install an Ethernet jack at each student’s seat, along with an electric outlet for laptops. This renovation happened ...