Dragon Naturally Speaking is commercial voice recognition software.
There are free versions which are very good such as windows 8 speech recognition and one on MyStudyBar (see Day 3).
I have to admit however that I’ve fallen in love with Dragon and, where possible, I buy it for my students. It is, in my opinion, by far the best speech-to-text on the market.
WHAT DOES IT DO?
It basically types whatever you say, and the longer you use it the more accurate it becomes.
WHO IS IT USEFUL FOR?
Students with dyslexia
Students with ADHD
Students with ASD
Students with cerebral palsy
Student who are wheelchair users with restricted fine motor skills
Students with messy handwriting or those who tire easily
CAN IT BE USED IN THE CLASSROOM?
Yes, if the student feels confident enough to do this and the teacher doesn’t mind (you don’t need to talk very loudly with Dragon).
CAN IT BE USED IN AN EXAM?
Yes, it can be used as student’s usual way of working instead of a scribe.
HOW CAN MY STUDENT TRAIN IT, THEY CAN’T READ THE STORY?
This is a common question. For Dragon to create an accurate profile it needs to learn how you pronounce words. Part of the training comes from reading a selected story out loud. If the student can’t read then an adult can quietly read the story to them and the student just repeats what they have to say. It can take a while but I find most students don’t mind.
WON’T THE MICROPHONE PICK UP WHAT OTHER STUDENTS ARE SAYING?
No, the headset uses a proximity microphone which will only pick up a voice which is close to it. Obviously if another student sticks their head close to the mic and speaks it will (and this is likely to happen until the novelty wears off) but generally someone sitting next to them will not affect the mic.
DOES THE STUDENT HAVE TO SPEAK CLEARLY.
It does help but as Dragon learns your voice, it can be trained to recognise various pronunciations. Consistency is most important as if you say a word differently each time Dragon won’t recognise it.
HOW DO YOU TEACH STUDENTS?
This is something I’m still learning. Some pick it up really easily – I have an A’level student who used it for his mocks after having it for two weeks. He much prefers it as he used to get frustrated that no-one could record his words fast enough. He’s now more independent and in control.
Other students take much longer.
One wonderful student I trained wrote an ebook on BookCreator describing ‘How to train your Dragon’.
One of the things she came up with were the 10 commandments – this came about as you have to use a command voice for things like underline, new line and bold that and then a normal voice to dictate. She would mix up commands with commandments so we embraced it.
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