SEMinar is a series of cross-disciplinary learning days introduced in the 2019-20 academic year. An innovation intended to enrich and enliven the school experience for students and faculty, they break-up the school routine and enhance our educational mission. Faculty from all departments work together to create mini-classes underpinned by a theme.
The theme for 2019-20 is What does it mean to be human?
The courses offered on our first SEMinar day in September 2019 included:
Robotics & Humanity
Teachers from the Spanish, history, and English departments will ask students to consider how robots can illuminate our humanity or lack thereof. Students taking this class will create and perform a short play to deliver their answer to this challenging question.
Faculty from the math and English departments will teach students to make desserts characteristic of various cultures, including Rice Krispie treats, Mandazi (Kenyan donuts), and 杏仁餅 (Chinese almond cookies).
Narrative Video Games
Storytelling is usually something the audience passively receives. But what do we make of stories that rely on the audience to make the story progress? In the past decade, narrative video games have become extremely popular, and demonstrated the depth of storytelling possible in this often-maligned medium. Students taking this class will look at how we tell and internalize stories, explore the history of video games, and play several games to help them answer the big question: are video games good platforms for telling compelling stories?
Learning & Memory
Learning and memory are in part, biological processes that shape a person's identity. Most organisms have developed biological tools to help them learn, retain, and recall the information they need. Teachers from the health and science departments will introduce students to the biological underpinnings of memory, explore what constitutes a memory, and conduct memory exercises to illustrate memory's advantages and limitations.