Advanced Composition

Reading & Writing in Digital Environments

Author: Ashley.N.Simon

Research Project Sources

When searching for my voice manipulation research topic I plan to use lots of videos. I think videos can show what happens inside the voice. These sources will be able to explain my findings in more depth. I also plan to use articles from different known voice doctors. I will also use studies on my topic to support my findings. I have searched for different journals in the USM library and have many different sources I could use. One great thing about my topic is there is many different ways to use my sources. There are many different ways to manipulate the voice and using those different ways to find specific sources to match.

Here is an example of a source for voice manipulation:

Research Proposal

When trying to find a topic for my research project, I didn’t quite know what to pick. I have so many interest and picking one is super difficult. But after considering my options, I have decided to do my research project on the voice (not the television show). I would really like to learn how the voice is produced. What has to happen in the body to produce a sound? What happens when you put bad TeachingVoiceWorks-sthings into the body? Does it affect your voice? What produces different sounds? What happens inside the throat? Do the vocal chords react different ways when making different notes? How do the vocal chords move when talking versus singing?  The voice has always been interesting to me. I love to sing. I probably sing every minute of the day, and when I’m not singing I have a song in my head. It’s the one thing that I escape to. Since this is a passion for me, to actually dig in and discover the happenings of the voice can really benefit me. In my project i would like to include video findings of his the vocal cords work. I think a visual approach is the best way. Here is a starting article on my topic: How The Voice Works

Not just a game, but also a Community

Minecraft, developed in 2009, was designed for users to create their own virtual world. This game has many features to it, for example, having two game mode options. The player can either use create mode or survival mode. In create mode, the user gets to break blocks to create certain designs. images-10

Players can also build towns, villages, basically anything they can imagine. In survival mode, the ‘main’ player must eat and drink in order to stay alive. They must build villages and walls to surround them to keep “creatures of the night” out. Many refer to the game, as a “sandbox” meaning there is no right way to play. Players literally get to play for hours crafting whatever they choose which is why gamers of all ages love this game. But there is a certain group of individuals who take to this game more than the average, and these incredible human beings are those with Autism. In this review I would like to discuss how the game Minecraft has a positive affect on the Autistic community.

For those who are unfamiliar with ASD, simply explains, “Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and autism are both general terms for a group of complex disorders of brain development. These disorders are characterized, in varying degrees, by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors.”


Many ASD children have different ways to communication. They use something that interests them to get others around them involved in their own conversation. For some this type of communication can be through video games.

Children with ASD tend to be more creative which is why Minecraft appeals to them so much. These kids are given the freedom to express themselves. They get to set the standards of creation in their own unique way. This gives them the control of predictably. Minecraft also allows them to gain focus. They can go in a deep thought process about how each block can meticulously mend with another block, which gives them this sense of focus. Minecraft can also give the children a talking point to other peers. They can break out of their shell if they know someone else likes the game. It gives the children more confidence in themselves.

I have seen with my own eyes how this game has helped with children, for example, my fiancée’s little brother, Luke. He has High-Functioning Autism, which is more commonly know as Asperger’s. He is currently 14 and a freshman in high school. Four years ago I met him, not knowing what he was diagnosed with. I knew something was different about him because he could not maintain focus, did not communicate very well, and had an uncontrollable temper. The first time I learned that he had ASD, I did not know how to act around him or what to say to him. I wanted him to feel like he could be comfortable around me and be able to express himself. I tried regular conversation but did not break through that wall. It was not until I took interest it what he was doing did he open up to me, and that interest was (of course) a video game. The types of games he has played has changed since he has gotten older but one has remained the same, Minecraft. He plays this game all the time. When we were at church waiting for service to start he would be on his Ipad playing this game, or when we were as lunch he would play on his mom’s phone. He was obsessed with this game. I used to get him to show me how to play and he would laugh at me when I could not figure out what buttons to press. During him playing this game I could tell his receptors were on. He knew every conversation being held and how to respond to every question being asked of him. This game kept him focused and more responsive to others. I understand how strange that must sound, but it is the truth. The reasoning behind this logic is that some ASD children’s mind goes in all different directions making them unable to keep on a train of thought. This is why being plugged into this game can be very important.

There have been many discoveries with the game Minecraft. Stuart Duncan, a blogger with Autism who also has an Autistic son, created a website called Autcraft. This unique website was created to benefit individuals with ASD who play Minecraft. It allows them (along with their families) to be in a safe place and connect with other people just like them. Autcraft benefits people with ASD by giving them an outlet within the game.


There are certain aspects to this website that make it standout. There are these workers called ‘Helpers’, “jrhelpers”, and “srhelpers.” They help these families find there way through the world of Minecraft. The people of Autcraft are always working towards new discoveries within the game, for example, building upon their existing worlds. Many children have benefitted from this website but according to an article by Kimberly Gillian from the game “has quickly become a godsend for parents and therapists who credit it with their children’s incredible developmental gains.” The one drawback to this website is that it has a limit. Many people have to be waitlisted to gain access to the game, because the sever can only hold so many. According to the Autcraft website “waiting time for assessment of applications is approximately 2 weeks, due to recent increased interest in our server.” This could mean that some children will not ever get a chance to experience the website.

Minecraft can be used to benefit everyone. According to Charlie Warzel from BuzzFeed, “Minecraft — and specifically Autcraft — gives autistic players the chance to meet and talk with likeminded children, hone crucial social skills, and learn to feel comfortable with themselves and in their new environment.” Its unique qualities generate a fun atmosphere where we can connect with Autistic children like never before.

A look into H.A. Rey

After searching through the H.A & Margret Rey Digital Collection, I found it quite simple to use. The collection was, of course, expansive and full of documents but not to difficult to sort through. I think the most difficult thing about the site is it being so expansive. I feel like there could be a way to group the documents under certain tag names so that I, the researcher, could have an easier time looking for different findings. For example grouping all H.A Rey’s postcard together or letters to different people. I think this would help the website be more concise and give the website more clarity.

As I was looking through the pages of the digital collection I found several
illustrations by H.A. Rey that I really liked. I found the ones I lNew_Year_Card_1942iked the most were the ones he used in his post cards. It shows that drawing was not just his job but his life. It shows he loved to draw and wanted others to see that as well. I love the way I can see the time put into these illustrations. If i were to receive a post card with this type of illustration it would make me feel special. It shows character and i can just see H.A. Rey through this. I can not wait to study H.E. Rey as we continue through this project.



Public Review Proposal: Video games and Autism.

In my public review I would like to discuss how video games are not only a great tool but also a behavioral management to children and young adults with Autism. According to, “Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and autism are both general terms for a group of complex disorders of brain development. These disorders are characterized, in varying degrees, by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors.” I believe that video games have become an outlet to children with these types of personalities. I personally relate to this topic because my fiancé has a brother who is diagnosed with Autism/Asperger’s. He is 14 and in his freshman year of high school. Over the past 4 years I have seen him grow and use technology as an outlet. When we would go to dinner he would play on his Nintendo DS. When at home, he would play the x-box, or Wii. He would use the gaming as a way to disconnect with the conversation going on in the room. This was my opinion until I did some research as to why he would do this. As it turns out, many Autistic children/young adults use technology (videogames) as a source of disconnection. But it is not the disconnection I thought it would be. Instead of it being a way to be out of the social conversation it is more of a focusing tool. Being in the video game brings them into a virtual reality that makes them focused. They limit themselves to the screen and in that brings them into the conversation by being able to focus and listen.

Though it is a great focusing tool there may be another side to this. Video games can influence people very well and depending on the child there could be a more violent side to it. I have seen this in my fiancé’s little brother. If we were to play a game with him and he lose, most of the time he can’t handle it very well. He will throw the controller or say something disrespecting and I believe this mostly comes from being in the virtual world for too long. I believe there is a happy medium and I cannot wait to find out more.


Last night I was sitting in my apartment supposedly watching The Wizard of Oz with my two friends, but were we really watching it? I was into the movie because it’s my favorite movie but I maybe answered a text a two during, but I look over to my right and BOTH of my friends are on their phones looking at what the Internet has to offer. If this was just a one-time thing I wouldn’t be so compelled to write about this subject but since this is anytime we do something I feel like I need to say that I believe that the Internet is making our generation dumber.

Growing up as a kid, my friends and I didn’t have cell phones our entertainment was playing teacher, jumping on the trampoline, or watching The Land Before Time really late at night. These things are still around today but the difference was we were living life together, no distractions, just us laughing at each other and not what somebody tweeted. There was a connection that people don’t have today.

When I got my first phone I was of course fascinated but my parents taught me how to handle my phone. I wasn’t allowed to have it at the dinner table or if we were out with family. I learned how to actually have conversations in real life and in the virtual world. I learned to have fun with my phone and without it, but now people think they can’t have fun without it. There is always someone better to talk to or look at than who is in the room in that exact moment. I can’t have a conversation with anyone these days that can’t check his or her phone once in the conversation I am trying to have. It’s rude. Our generation is rude. It’s so hard to find someone who actually wants to hang out and just be.

Not only is the rudeness being constantly on the phone but the fact that I end up having to repeat myself because they aren’t paying attention it what really gets me. According to the article by Nicolas Carr, “When we’re constantly distracted and interrupted, as we tend to be online, our brains are unable to forge the strong and expansive neural connections that give depth and distinctiveness to our thinking. We become mere signal-processing units, quickly shepherding disjointed bits of information into and then out of short-term memory.” This proves that when we are distracted we miss what other people say or do. We are left out of the moment.

So what can we do to fix it? We need to get this generation to have intelligent conversations, and by that I mean just paying attention to each other. Lets just take it one step at a time. I challenge you guys to go to dinner with your friends and leave the phones in the car. Try to be in the moment and not in the virtual world. Something special is bound to happen, and you guys might end up closer.

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