There are precedents where well known writers dictated their books. Winston Churchill, Alexander Dumas and Montaigne are said to have dictated their work to secretaries. The revising and editing of the work was done by hand after the dictation was typed out by the secretary. Even recent authors like Dan Brown are known to have used dictation software to write their books – saving money on secretaries. Stephen Hawking is a well known British theoretical physicist, cosmologist, and author who wrote a book called A Brief History of Time. He is almost entirely paralyzed and communicates through a speech generating device. Would his ideas in the book be any less valuable if you knew that he did not physically write a single word? So if dictation is good enough for Prime Ministers, and published authors why are we not using these tools regularly in the classroom if they are free? What skills do we feel students will miss out on? Why does this not translate down to students? State Testing?
What are your thoughts about online dictation tools? Are they finally robust enough to be used universally in classrooms?
If any of you are wondering if I typed this blog post or used an online dictation tool...does it matter?
FREE Web-based Dictation Speech Recognition Tools
- Online Dictation Speech Recognition
- Chrome Extension Simple Dictation
Here is how we use Online Dictation in the Pre-writing, Drafting process with some kids.
Other things to consider:
Pros for Online Web-based Dictation tools
- Allows us to model that speech can be written down and read back to you
- It can speed up the writing process.
- If you think verbally, you may lose good thoughts during the slow typing process.
- Typing becomes a non-issue for drafting writing pieces
- This strategy enables children from other cultures/languages to bring their different experiences into the classroom to share. Sharing dictations and then translating the dictation can enrich other students' experiences and allow the language barrier to be overcome.
Cons for Online Web-based Dictation tools
- Some people think visually ( writing, outlines ), rather than completely verbally ( speaking )
- Verbal communication is linear, where writing allows you to skip around. - - - - State writing tests are still paper and pencil