Let me start off by saying that today’s blog post has been written using the talk to type software of MacSpeech Dictate. I purchased the software this past August in hopes that it would help me solve one of my more difficult dilemmas as the teacher: providing thoughtful, detailed feedback to student work. With our team goal this year aimed at having all of our students blog it was going to be vital for me to be able to give feedback quickly and thoughtfully to as many students as possible. I figured I would give talk to text software shop (a shot) since it will allow me to read blog posts and comment verbally as I read them without typing.
I found the software useful for the first time while grading lengthy student lab reports this past week. Instead of trying to jam in comments between singlespaced lines I was able to essentially write full letters of feedback to my student e-mails. I look forward to bringing them to the lab to read their e-mails with their lab reports in hand and receive genuine, complete feedback.
What struck me during this experience was how much I was able to write in such a short amount of time. I realized that if we put this technology in the hands of our reluctant writers or students who struggled with typed assignments because they lack Ability or skill in typing there (their) over all output may improve. Moreover, at assistance time would be more freed up from accommodations that require dictation. Students could dictate work themselves while yet assist works with other children. Once the dictation is complete the edifice (ed assistant) could return and assist the student in the revision process.
The technology is by no means perfect. (I went back and inserted typed words above in red) Punctuation must be spoken and speakers must enunciate properly or risk misinterpretation (see edifice above). When we compare however the amount of student work that may be done without the use of such a tool I believe many will agree there is an advantage to it.
What are your thoughts on text to type software? Do you like the idea of using in schools or do you feel that giving these types of tools to students will not ultimately benefit them because they will be required to type elsewhere (we think)?