Friday, 11 September 2015

Voice Typing

Speech to Text

Last year, and already this year, I have received many requests from teachers looking for a speech to text tool to assist some of their students. There are definitely many products on the market which provide this tool. Some are very expensive and somewhat unweildy and some are free but do not work well. It would seem, that Google has come up with a solution they call Voice Typing. 

Voice Typing is a free tool that is incorporated into Google Docs and is available to anyone. To access voice typing, open a Google Doc, click on Tools in the Toolbar Menu and then select Voice Typing. When you are ready, click on the microphone to speak. Like most speech to text software, Google Voice Typing recognizes editing commands like "new line," "period," "comma," and "new paragraph." From what I have seen, it is very good. However, like most speech to text software it may have some difficulty picking up a voice in a loud room or distinguishing what the speaker is saying, particularly if they have an accent. Therefore, the students using Voice Typing will need to read their work to ensure it actually says what they want it to say. 

Some Words of Caution

The strength of Google Voice Typing and other speech to text software actually comes in the ability of the student to complete pre writing activities. I always said to my students that if you couldn't speak an essay/paragraph/thesis statement, there is no way you could write one. However, in order to be able to speak an essay, or write an essay, students must complete some prewriting work, whether that is an outline, or a writing web. Without the background work, I believe it would be difficult for students to use this tool. 

One thing I was thinking about as well, is how this could be utilized with our ELL families. Google Voice Typing recognizes 40 different languages. Combined with Google Translate, itwould be very powerful if used during parent-teacher interviews with parents who have difficulty expressing themselves in English.

I hope your week was awesome! Have a great weekend!

All the best,

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