Beth Holland

Food for thought…

Finding Your Voice in the Digital Age

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I first understood the concept of voice in the eighth grade. A teacher recommended that I read Pat Conroy’s Prince of Tides. Conroy’s rich descriptions of scarlet sunsets, chirping insects, and the smooth tidal flow of Savannah sucked my imagination to a new place. For years, I sought to create those same sensory experiences in my own writing. When I started writing college, I quickly learned that lavish descriptions also needed complex plot lines and developed characters. At that stage, my voice became more succinct and had a point.

Throughout my career, I’ve focused on voice and tone in my writing. When multi-syllabic, verbose language lost its appeal, I switched back to the blunt. As my audience shifted, so did my tone, but it was not until I attempted screen-casting and podcasting did I realize that voice in the digital age carries a new connotation. With audio and video recording, voice now encompasses more than the written word, and sets up a whole new challenge for those of us who teach anything having to do with the English language.

My first foray into the digital world – not including this blog since I am still primarily communicating via text – came this fall. I needed to create a dynamic presentation for my 3rd graders for Grandparents & Special Friends Day. This simple video took hours. I struggled with my facial expressions, my rate of speech, the tone of my voice, and the integration of multiple tools.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

By the time I created my second video podcast for the Parents’ Association, I thought about not only my literal voice and presence, but also how to integrate music, edit effectively, and try to maintain a flow of the content. Recently, I discovered that Tufts University allowed video submissions this year as an essay supplement.

Share a one-minute video that says something about you, upload it to YouTube or another easily accessible website, and give us the URL. What you do or say is totally up to you. (Unfortunately, we are unable to watch videos that come in any form other than a URL link.) – Source: 2009-2010 Supplemental Essay

As video becomes a more common, and more commonly accepted form of communication, how do we prepare our students to find their voice with this dynamic medium? The submissions, on YouTube, range from the artistic, to the over-the-top, to the outright stupid, and Lee Coffin, dean of admissions at Tufts, did qualify to ABC news that these videos were in addition to three traditional essays. However, it does raise the question that we may need to expand our concept of writing beyond the written word.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “In My Shoes- Tufts Application Video“, posted with vodpod

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Author: brholland

Researcher, Writer, and Speaker

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