By Erin Clossey
One hundred and thirty-nine years after its founding as a school of oratory, Emerson College is reasserting its voice.
Over the past year, Emerson has emerged as a leader in envisioning roles for voice-enabled technologies in an educational setting, with the launch of three campus-wide skills for Alexa, a hackathon, a pilot program using voice as a classroom study aid, and the awarding of an Amazon fellowship to advance voice at the College – the only non-engineering school to get the grant.
Now, in partnership with Voice First Events, Emerson is hosting a one-day conference on Wednesday, August 7, to explore the intersection of voice-first technology and education.
“The world is moving to voice after print and web and mobile,” said Emerson Launch Director Sanjay Pothen, who organized the conference and is leading voice initiatives on campus. “Our vision is that as the world moves back to spoken word, Emerson College has the chance to lead the conversation.”
The Voice of Education Summit will be held at the Paramount Center, and will feature representatives from technology companies and educators who study voice or use voice in their classrooms. Speakers will address both the pros and cons of voice technology, Pothen said.
Pothen will present “New Life for Liberal Arts: Emerson College Embraces Voice-First Technology.”
Just as website and app developers need creatives to make the programming useful and attractive to humans, voice developers will need people who have a thorough grounding in the arts, communication, and liberal arts to dream up new applications for voice and make it really sing.
To complement that, Emerson is working on creating a “Voice Hub,” with a minor and a professional studies certificate in voice design, and looks to create partnerships and build pipelines to jobs after graduation, Pothen said.
“A liberal arts degree is going to be more valuable in this new voice world,” Pothen said.
The Voice of Education Summit is open to the public, with discounts for students, educators, and nonprofits. Emerson Community members can attend free of charge, Pothen said. Register here.