Speech to text software (such as Dragon Naturally Speaking) is gaining influence in the classroom environment as an accommodation to support students who struggle with writing. SET-BC supports loans of speech to text software for students who have limited ability to access a traditional computer keyboard and/or mouse and require an alternative method for them to demonstrate their knowledge.
To increase student’s independence in using this software SET-BC recently partnered with the Saanich school district in the delivery of a “Dragon Camp” for students. On April 7th students learned the basic commands and applied different training and user adaptations to effectively create an autobiography by the end of the session. Dragon campers learned about microphone selection and calibration, correcting recognition errors to increase accuracy and how to maintain an effective voice file.
The software program types out what the speaker dictates into a microphone that is connected to the computer. Speech-to-text software programs like Dragon Naturally Speaking increases the rate of written output and reduces fatigue for students who struggle with traditional keyboard and mouse input. The Dragon Trainers for the camp were Irene Ennis from the school board office, Amanda Vlitos (teacher), Leanne Hart (ESL teacher), Liz Lavdovsky (EA), and Wendy Moilanen (EA). SET-BC consultant, Doug Bowes, helped the counselors and campers adjust their computers and microphones for the best voice recognition possible.
The campers enjoyed their day and are excited to practice and hone their new skills to improve their written output with Dragon Naturally Speaking. Follow-up sessions, Dragon Clinics, will be held to address the needs of individual students and the issues they may be having with their dictating.
Effective implementation of speech to text software requires continual support. Moreover, there are a number of considerations to make when implementing Dragon Naturally Speaking with students in the classroom environment. For more information you may wish to view this Considerations Document.