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Dynamic Scholarship at Deerfield Academy

Innovative Courses Give Deerfield Academy Students a Sharper Edge

 At Deerfield Academy, students from 38 countries are contributing to a 221-year legacy of academic excellence—one that is continually adapting to address a changing world. Through its dynamic curriculum, Deerfield Academy encourages you to explore and develop skills that will help you to be successful in college and beyond.

Beyond the Box at Deerfield Academy

Deerfield Academy’s courses are designed to help prepare you for your future. STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) courses include dynamic topics such as robotics and electric vehicle engineering, and in the Humanities students thrive in small classes where teachers facilitate lively discussions. As an example of interdisciplinary work, you might be interested in a new advanced elective course in Distant Reading: An Introduction to Digital Humanities.

A New Kind of Language Immersion with Distant Reading

Distant Reading (the class takes its name from the book by Franco Moretti) is an interdisciplinary approach to computer science and English; it introduces you to new ways of engaging with literature—teaching you how to ask important questions, solve problems, and formulate arguments. Your classroom work might include reviewing a passage of literature, modeling out several pages of analysis with code, and then discussing it.

One project that Deerfield Academy students recently completed in Distant Reading was exploring the question: Which rap artists have the greatest use of internal rhyme in their music?

For this assignment, students imported rap lyrics, converted words to phonemes (distinct sounds), tallied the number and locations of phonemes, then charted and discussed their findings.

Interdisciplinary Classes = Interdisciplinary Learning

Distant Reading and the other innovative courses at Deerfield Academy aim to maximize your learning in an innovative way. “In this class, we’re not really focused on learning programming, actually,” said English teacher and Director of Research, Innovation, and Outreach Peter Nilsson. “Programming is the medium, not the message. Instead, we’re focused on skills and character traits.”

Nilsson added that succeeding at programming requires more than learning syntax and commands, it also includes skills such as asking pertinent questions, breaking down problems, and formulating arguments based on evidence—all skills that will help you to develop autonomy, curiosity, and self-discipline. These are the attributes that will contribute to your success at Deerfield, as a college student, and as a professional.

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