Friday, January 15, 2010

Can elementary school students use speech recognition (i.e., Dragon Naturally Speaking)?

We have used DNS with students, but usually with older students. There is a lot of practice that is needed, learning to correct the software when (not if) it makes mistakes. For those who cannot use a keyboard (due to physical disability), and meet all the other criteria (ease with computers, need to type longer material, quiet environment), it is great. For those with learning disabilities, who have difficulty with spelling, there are more barriers (since you need to be able to spot errors and spell corrections).

However, I always say that each person is an individual, and I wouldn't say that an elementary school student couldn't use it. Usually, what overcomes these barriers is a need and desire to use the tool to meet the goal, some level of maturity, and training on how to use the program so that your voice file gets better with time, and not worse.

Here is a personal story from an adult with cerebral palsy who used it from elementary school.
click here.

And here's a video of a high school student with a learning disability who started using it at age 9. (note that the video is dated- from 2007)

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