Well, here we are again. Another school year is over, report cards are done, and my classroom is packed up into cupboards and boxes.
In between, the lazy days of summer, road trips, and spending some quality family time outside, I’m hoping to post more regularly on this site. It’s time to play with some technology to start dreaming about what we can use in the classroom next year.
The laundry list of educational technologies that I want to explore this summer is long. Technology is the kind of thing that is constantly evolving â€“ what was once cool and cutting edge three years ago is now obsolete. (I used to love my MDG flip tablet netbook, but now it sits on the shelf compared to the new iPad 3.)
- First and foremost, I’m looking for a better way to blog using voice recognition software.Â
- Right now, I use Dragon Naturally Speaking to dictate my posts into Windows Live Writer.
- It works better than dictating directly into Internet Explorer, but the problem is the moment you insert an image, Dragon Naturally Speaking doesn’t play well with Windows Live Writer anymore.
- (The Dragon software still transcribes everything you say accurately, but the inserted images seem to confuse Dragon Naturally Speaking so that sometimes the speech software accidentally overwrites a few characters from the previous line.)
- UPDATE (Jul 10): Dragon NaturallySpeaking works fine in Microsoft Word 2010 and doesn’t accidentally overwrite any characters if you have an image or table.
- I downloaded the trial version of SpeakQ and WordQ. WordQ is a great piece of assistive technology software that predicts what students are typing. SpeakQ is an add-on to WordQ that let students say the tricky word that they’re having difficulty spelling. At first glance, it didn’t seem anywhere near as accurate is Dragon Naturally Speaking, but I think the point is to help students dictate one or two tricky words, as opposed to transcribing entire writing assignments.
- On that note, I also want to check out the Windows speech recognition software in Microsoft Windows 7. Using the same Bluetooth wireless headset that uses Dragon Naturally Speaking, the free speech recognition software didn’t seem as accurate is Dragon Naturally Speaking, but obviously I have my biases. (I also haven’t finished the language training with the Windows speech software.)
- Apparently Siri is coming to the new iPad 3 when Apple launches iOS 6 sometime this summer. Right now, there is a little microphone button beside the spacebar on the standard on-screen soft keyboard on the iPad. This button launches iPad dictation software, which is pretty accurate (92.8% of the words correct using the rainbow passage.) I assume Siri uses the same voice engine.
- Looks like Google will be building voice-recognition software directly into the desktop version of Google Chrome. Definitely want to check out how accurately it transcribes what you say. Right now, there are Google Chrome extensions to add some voice-recognition functionality, but it doesn’t work everywhere. For example, the Voice In chrome extension adds a microphone button to all text input fields, but you can’t use this chrome extension to dictate into Google Docs or to dictate a blog post into your WordPress site.