Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Proloquo2Go: New iPhone App Assists the Disabled

Sam Sennott ’04, along with a colleague, has recently released the Proloquo2Go, a complete communication system for the iPod Touch or iPhone that helps those with developmental disabilities to communicate. Sennott was recently interviewed on Patrick Black’s Teaching All Students blog:

I originally became interested in working with people with disabilities at age 19 when I volunteered at the Michael Carter Lisnow Respite Center in Hopkinton, Massachusetts. It was like a second family for me in no time. I was holding babies with cerebral palsy, leading crafts and outings with adults with developmental disabilites, and starting to learn about teaching and job coaching. It inspired me to get a dual certification degree in special education and elementary education from Gordon College, a fantastic small school by the ocean on the North Shore of Boston, Massachusetts.

Read the rest of the interview, and browse Sam's website, along with this article on the Proloquo2Go in USA Today. And be sure to see the Proloquo2Go in action.


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

President Carlberg Receives High School Alumni Award

On Friday, May 22, 2009, R. Judson Carlberg received the Alumni of the Year Award—from his high school! The B.M.C. Durfee High School Alumni Association in Fall River, Massachusetts, honored R. Judson Carlberg as one of only two distinguished alumni. President Carlberg, a 1958 alumnus (yup, that’s him in his senior yearbook), was awarded the honor at Nagle Auditorium on the Durfee campus last Friday.

Dr. Carlberg is the seventh president of Gordon, and also serves on a variety of boards, one of which is another of his alma maters, Denver Seminary, where he received his M.A., and M.Div. in 1965. Currently he is the only college president from a Christian college to be elected to the Board of Directors for the National Council for Higher Education Accreditation, which is based in Washington, D.C. It seems the Durfee high school grad is still a successful man on campus, and still loves basketball, orchestra and bands!


Monday, May 25, 2009

Recapturing a Homeric Legacy

Graeme Bird, assistant professor of language and linguistics, recently completed a chapter in a book titled Recapturing a Homeric Legacy: Images and Insights from the Venetus A Manuscript of the Iliad, edited by Casey Dué.

Bird says, “The book deals with the oldest complete manuscript of Homer’s Iliad in existence, Venetus A, which resides in the famous Marciana Library in Venice, Italy. This manuscript dates from the 10th century A.D., but it contains, as well as the Homeric text, detailed commentary dating back to 1,300 years before that.

“In May 2007 a multinational team of scholars and conservators, including myself, traveled to Venice in order to obtain high-resolution images of the manuscript; this book deals both with unique features of the manuscript itself and with the technology involved in acquiring the images.”


Friday, May 22, 2009

Magical Music—A Collaborative Project

Michael Monroe (music faculty) writes:

One thing I really value about our Music Department is the sense of community among the students. Last year when my music history class got to early 18th-century comic opera, particularly the popular and freely borrowing style of John Gay’s The Beggar’s Opera, I got into a spontaneous discussion with the class about the possibility of replacing a paper-writing project with a group opera-writing project. We chickened out for a variety of reasons, but the idea stuck with me, and when I was planning for this year, I realized we had a class very well-suited to the task.

Read more about this collaborative project involving Monroe and his students—Andrew, Austin, Beth, Chris, Christine, Diana, Dina, Ian, Jillian, Joe, Kassandra, Katie, Mary, Nate, and Paul...


Thursday, May 21, 2009

Bagpiper Rob Knectle Leads the Class of 2009

Saturday, May 16, Rob Knechtle ’09, communication arts major, led his class in the Commencement procession . . . with his bagpipe! We wondered about his unique instrument and decided to ask him about it before he left Gordon.Q: When/where did you start playing the bagpipes?
Rob: I started playing when I was 14. My cousins and brother picked it up as well while we were vacationing in Nova Scotia. We began taking lessons at the Gaelic College on Cape Breton Island, and I continued to do that each summer
Q: Where do you practice while you’re at Gordon?
Rob: I practice outside if I can. If I play inside, it’s usually too loud. I often go to the Gordon woods to play, but since I’m living off campus, I’ll play at the beach instead.
Q. Do you play often for Gordon?
Rob: I’ve played at Homecoming and a few other events, about four or five times a year.
Q. How do you feel about leading the class procession for graduation?
Rob: It’ll be an honor to lead the class. It feels like an appropriate ending to my time here. I’m a little nervous about leading such a great group of people I’ve come to love.
Q: Who will take over after you leave?
Rob: I heard there is an incoming freshman who might play, but my cousin also enjoys the instrument, so he might pick up where I left off.
Q: You will continue to play the bagpipes once you leave Gordon, right?
Rob: Most definitely. I’d like to learn a few other variations of the instrument, such as the Irish pipes that are played on the soundtrack of Braveheart.
Q. What are your plans after graduation?
Rob: I’m going to be working at a sports camp back home in Connecticut for the summer, but I’d like to visit Scotland at least once.


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

From Greece to Gordon

What do Greece, field hockey and Gordon College have in common? The answer is Ariande Niavradaki. The ’09 biblical and theological studies major, originally from South Africa and Greece, moved to the Boston area with her husband, Peter, in 2007 for his residency in pediatrics and internal medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital while Ari attended Gordon.

Read more of Dani Zorn’s article about this Gordon athlete...


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Using Adaptive Technology to Learn through Dyslexia

Because many students struggle with disabilities while at Gordon, the Academic Support Center (ASC) acts as a liaison between students with disabilities and faculty, setting up appropriate accommodations like recorded audio books, quiet testing areas, extended time on tests, notetakers during class and special advising. They also help with time management, study skills, specialized advising, issues related to learning disabilities and ESL as well as general troubleshooting.

When it comes to adapting to dyslexia, Katie Whallon is a pro. A sophomore business administration major, Katie uses the adaptive technologies provided by the ASC to achieve success in her courses.
Dyslexia is a specific learning disability that occurs when the brain lacks the neurological connections to decode phonemes, the basis of written language, which causes reading difficulties in otherwise bright students. Katie has overcome her difficulty to the point where she can read competently, but long assignments and dense texts still exhaust her mentally.

To facilitate her studies, she uses Kurzweil Educational Systems reading software. This program can read out loud from text files with nearly flawless precision, allowing students with dyslexia to simply scan their textbooks into a computer, load them into the program, and listen to their assigned readings. In Katie’s case, because she has developed her auditory comprehension to compensate for her reading difficulty, she can listen to the Kurzweil reader at up to twice normal speaking speed. People with dyslexia often develop such outstanding abilities, although the process of listening will always be slower than the average reading speed for students without dyslexia.

The adaptive technologies offered by the ASC make it possible for students with learning disabilities to thrive at Gordon. Still, Katie points out, “The software is not meant to substitute for learning but to enhance the learning.” For her these tools are not crutches but running shoes.


Monday, May 18, 2009

Packing for a Wildnerness Expedition

Nate Hausman, director of Adirondack programs writes:

The end of the school year means the beginning of the La Vida Expeditions season. Seventy-three Gordon students began their La Vida experience last night and this morning, joined by 18 La Vida leaders, or Sherpas as they are known on trip. The nine groups will all begin their 12-day wilderness trip here on campus with time spent on the ropes course.

Following the ropes course, the groups drive to La Vida’s base camp property in the Adirondack Mountains of New York. La Vida owns 75 acres just outside of Lake Placid, home of the 1930 and 1982 winter Olympics.

Groups spend the next nine days traveling through the largest state park in the continental U.S., either backpacking or canoeing. 2009 marks La Vida’s 39th summer of ministry in the ADKs. Please pray for all the students and staff as they journey into the wilderness to hear God’s still small voice.


Thursday, May 14, 2009

Seniors Wrap Up Academic Year with Public Presentations

From pacifism, human trafficking, and the sleep patterns of college students, to Bronte, Medea and Madison Avenue, seniors at Gordon in their final semester explored a wide variety of academic and theological interests to complete their studies. Graduating students across disciplines presented original research, creative projects and public talks about their work as part of their course or thesis requirements.
Read more about student research and other projects...


National Voices in Modern Abolition Movement are 2009 Baccalaureate and Commencement Speakers

Two prominent leaders in the modern antislavery movement have been chosen to address the Gordon College Class of 2009 during the 117th graduation ceremonies.
For the graduates’ final worship service on Friday, May 15, Rev. Gloria White-Hammond, M.D., will speak at the 5 p.m. Baccalaureate Service in the A. J. Gordon Memorial Chapel. On Saturday, May 16, at 10 a.m. on the quad in front of Frost Hall, Dr. David Batstone will address the class during the Commencement Ceremony. This year an estimated 375 students will receive bachelor's degrees in the liberal arts and sciences from Gordon.
Read more about these Commencement speakers...


Senior Project Turns to a Swashbuckling Adventure for Computer Programming

Pirates are all the rage–whether they’re stealing our imaginations in movies or causing a ruckus in foreign seas. At Gordon College they are making an appearance in the virtual world. “For whatever reason, computer geeks love pirates,” said Steve Brinton, associate professor of computer science. And this new computer program is no exception.
Brinton has been working with seniors Chris Pfohl and Adam Elnagger on their senior seminar project: CPirates–a computer program that uses a pirate game to teach computer programming concepts. “It was one of those dream moments,” Brinton said. He admits that learning to write programs that resemble something like the numbers trickling down in The Matrix can be pretty dry for students. “I try to make things as interesting as I can,” Brinton said, “but a lot of programming theory is not hands-on.”
Over the years Brinton noticed the increase of students playing video games in their spare time. Thinking outside the box, Brinton wanted to take something “dry” like learning theories behind computer programming and turn it into something more interactive. CPirates was the answer.
According to Pfohl, cocreator of CPirates, students write the programs telling their pirate ship what direction to move. If the code is programmed correctly, the ship should travel around the map. If the ship is programmed incorrectly, it will travel in circles or not move at all. This means Brinton can see if his lessons are sinking in or not by the way the pirate ships travel. So it looks like students are learning how to control a ship, but they are really learning how to control a computer.
CPirates is also designed to be competitive—allowing other programmers to see the progress of their classmates—and programmers have to watch out for more than just classmates. Pfohl and Elnagger have created sea monsters to navigate around, treasure chests to find, villages to plunder and other adventures besides ship navigation.
The program will continue to be developed with other students taking an active part in their and their peers’ virtual education after Pfohl and Elnagger graduate.


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

“Last of the Mohicans? James McCosh and Psychology ‘Old’ and ‘New’”

Elissa Rodkey ’04 is a current graduate student in the History and Theory of Psychology Program at York University in Toronto. Last August she won the Society for the History of Psychology’s Best Student Paper Award for her paper, “Last of the Mohicans? James McCosh and Psychology ‘Old’ and ‘New,’” presented at the 2008 American Psychological Association (APA) conference. As a result of her award, the APA journal History of Psychology has asked her to submit her essay for publication.

Russ Kosits, the 2008 program chair for the Society for the History of Psychology, said of her paper, “The committee thought Elissa’s historical problem—the difficulties with ‘old’ versus ‘new’ as a rhetorical strategy was both interesting and clearly articulated. We were impressed with her ability to succinctly summarize McCosh’s thought, and her nuanced deconstruction of the rhetorical strategy itself.”


Monday, May 11, 2009

Make Way for Ducklings . . . Literally!

After nesting for about a month in the safe and enclosed courtyard of Jenks Library on the Gordon College campus, 12 healthy yet confined ducklings emerged on Friday, May 8. The mother duck had laid her nest under the Registrar’s Office window, and when the staff found that the lucky day had arrived, they also realized the predicament the ducklings were in.
To free the mother and ducklings—Jack, Kack, Lack, Mack, Nack, Ouack, Pack, Rack, Sack, Tack and Uuack—the only option was to create a walkway through the winding hallways of the building. Enthusiastic students joined the Registrar’s Office staff and biology professor Greg Keller to block adjacent hallways and direct the mother, followed by her brood, through the building in a modified “Make Way for Ducklings” sequence. Crisis was averted when one wayward duckling was rescued from a deep hole on the way to the closest wetland. The mallard family is now enjoying a more accessible home on Coy Pond.
Dr. Keller is a conservation biologist. His research interests include how migratory birds are impacted by habitat fragmentation. Visit his website.


Friday, May 8, 2009

Jenelle Siegal ’07 Encourages Poetry

Jenelle Siegal ’07 is a middle school teacher at Beacon Christian Academy in Beverly, Massachusetts. Siegal, a fifth-grade English and creative writing teacher, helped organize a poetry reading at Barnes and Noble in Peabody, Massachusetts, last night. It featured poetry from students from fifth to eighth grades.
Siegal has been encouraging her students to experiment with poetry. She’s even been encouraging students to submit their poetry to publications. She feels poetry is a useful means of expressing themselves and helps students become more passionate. “I want to help give students the venue to make choices about their writing,” says Siegal. It is no surprise that Siegal wants to see her students thrive through their poetry since she herself has always held a passion for writing.


Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Barrington Alum Named President/CEO of John Hope Settlement House

Serving a wide variety of people in a multitude of ways requires a special person behind a special organization. John Hope Settlement House is fortunate to have that person in Peter D. Lee ’84B, LICSW. Since its establishment in 1937, John Hope, in Providence, Rhode Island, has served its community through civic, cultural and recreational programs. Focusing on the care and development of children, youth and adults; overall family support; and helping all people fulfill their personal potential, John Hope touches the lives of more than 10,000 people every year.
In February 2007 John Hope Settlement House appointed Peter Lee as its president/CEO. Lee was anything but new to John Hope. Starting out as a social worker for the Providence School Department, Lee went to work for John Hope as a caseworker in 1986. He exited in 1994 as director of social services. Among other professional choices and challenges, he served seven years as assistant director of Guidance and Student Support Services for the Boston Public Schools. He holds a Master of Social Work degree from the Rhode Island College School of Social Work and through the years has garnered a wide variety of field experience and wisdom.


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Group Gathers for Cancer Support

One in three people will be affected by cancer at some stage in their life. There are no statistics for the number of people affected by those diagnosed. Senior Austin Bashline was one of those impacted by someone’s cancer ordeal. “A family friend was in remission and had to go back to chemo. It’s painful to hear what she’s gone through—she’s been to hell and back.”
Even though he’s finishing his last semester at Gordon, Bashline wanted to do something that was helpful for others affected by cancer like he was. His personal experience and prior volunteer work in a hospital allowed him to witness all sides of cancer from lung biopsies to a counselor comforting a family after a loved one lost a battle. Bashline realized how important ministering to others was and how it can be implemented long after the initial shock. So he got the ball rolling for a new campus ministry aimed at helping those who felt like he did: helpless against fighting an unseen enemy.
The Cancer Awareness Ministry is still in the beginning stages, but its main purpose is to raise cancer awareness, give students concrete ways to come alongside those affected by cancer, provide support and comfort to each other and others, and even participate in fundraising events. “Raising awareness might be redundant, but it brings people together,” Bashline said, and that is part of the ministering aspect he’s looking for.
The ministry will be student-led, and people can get involved in any way they wish for as long as they wish. “A big part of ministry is getting people to engage at whatever level they feel comfortable,” Bashline said. So far he’s had a good number of people ready to get involved, and he is hoping this will not be confined to Gordon’s campus.
Bashline will not see the full effects of his ministry at Gordon because he is graduating this month, but the torch will be passed to freshman Alexandria DeMello.
“She had experience leading groups in high school and knows the importance of not doing things alone,” he said.


Monday, May 4, 2009

Tweeting during Church?

Scot McKnight, in his JesusCreed blog, recently posted this excerpt from a TIME magazine article, “Twittering in Church, with the Pastor’s Encouragement”:
“There’s a time and a place for technology, and most houses of worship still say it’s not at morning Mass. But instead of reminding worshippers to silence their cell phones, a small but growing number of churches around the country are following Voelz’ lead and encouraging people to integrate text messaging into their relationship with God.”


Friday, May 1, 2009

My Body for You: Meditations on Sacrifice as a Theme in Contemporary Art

“The martyrs’ lives, ‘laid down for their friends,’ let loose that fullness of beauty which is fused with its twins, goodness and truth. By its very weakness and failure to topple the rule of power, the example of these lives laid down cuts to the root of the poison tree of mob violence and injustice. The cross refashions the sword into a plowshare and unveils the arrogance of power.”
Read more of Bruce Herman’s recent article in The Other Journal at Mars Hill . . .
Image: Elegy for Bonhoeffer (2001).