Gunston Coders Return to Dartmouth Lab

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Gunston Coders

L to R: Claire Johnson of Church Hill, Will Urquhart of Queenstown, Nick Basham of Trappe, Brynne Kneeland of Stevensville, Cliff Peng of Centreville, Cora Duncan of Centreville, Katie Easter of Grasonville and James Pratt of Chestertown.

The Gunston School sent a group of Computer Science students to visit Dartmouth College’s DALI digital arts lab over the weekend of January 19-22. The students took part in coding and prototyping activities provided by the lab, had an opportunity for questions and answers going both directions, and showed DALI staffers projects that they have been developing at Gunston.

“It was great to see that the DALI lab staff have chosen to extend and broaden our working relationship”, said trip leader and CS teacher Joe Thompson. “This year, in addition to the planned ‘hacktivity’, we were invited to both a Design Resident workshop in the software Sketch for Dartmouth undergrads, and were given a tour of a digital music production facility with a DALI staffer.”

The trip was led by Thompson and Gunston College Guidance Counselor Kellee Webb. “DALI is my kind of facility”, said Webb after the visit. “Their heavy emphasis on collaboration and creativity are excellent fits for our school’s methods and mission”.

“Once we were invited,” said Thompson, “we built a weekend around our visit, as we did last year.” Arriving late Thursday evening, the students toured the campus Friday morning, lunched in the undergraduate Dartmouth Commons, then headed to the DALI lab for a full afternoon of coding, including working with the lab’s new VR (virtual reality) gear. “They are doing interesting VR work with NASA to help astronauts on long-duration missions deal with stress,” said Thompson. “We were very lucky to get a look at that equipment and software, to see where VR is headed”.

“I have gotten used to the idea that our visits are not just welcomed but useful to this lab,” said Thompson. “CS education at the high school level is rare, and we take their suggestions for tweaks to our program very seriously. They can see their suggestions in our students’ work.”

This year’s students included 7 sophomores and one senior. Katie Easter, Claire Johnson, Brynne Kneeland, Cora Duncan, Will Urquhart, Nick Basham, and James Pratt, all Gunston ’19, made the trip, as did Cliff Peng ’17.

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Letters to Editor

  1. Jeanette Sherbondy says:

    This is a wonderful project for the Gunston students. It would be wonderful if we could support our public schools and give these kinds of experiences to all interested students in Kent County, not just to a privileged few.

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