Voice recognition software giving students the edge


Sponsored. Us Gen X parents may wonder if our kids really need voice recognition software to help them study and complete homework, when we got by with a foolscap binder, a Bic 4-colour biro and some Liquid Paper.

Fortunately for our kids, us Gen X parents would rather burn our Abba/The Cure/Nirvana vinyl collection than sound like out-of-touch has-beens.

Better than a Bic biro?

Dragon Voice recognition software - better than a Bic penVoice recognition software is getting better by the day, and one of the world’s leading developers of the technology is drawing our attention to its usefulness in the high school and university study environment.

Dragon NaturallySpeaking is recognised as the best voice recognition software on the market – www.pcworld.com said “it remains the best speech-to-text program for Windows”.

When you consider that speaking is three times fast than writing, using voice recognition software for study suddenly seems like a very smart idea.

Voice recognition software has a particularly valuable place in teaching kids with physical disabilities (thanks to reduced reliance on keyboard and mouse) and learning difficulties. But for any student who learns better in non-traditional ways, or who simply wants to be more efficient in their study practices, speech recognition software can be a very useful tool.

Using voice recognition software for school and uni

We enlisted the help of year 11 student Lucy to test drive Dragon’s voice recognition software, to assess how useful it would be for study. And perhaps even more importantly, we wanted to know if the press release promise ­– that the time Dragon NaturallySpeaking saved in study might translate to more time spent with family – would actually transpire.

Here’s what Lucy had to say about her experience with using Dragon’s voice recognition software for high school homework and study.

Hi Lucy. Thanks for agreeing to give Dragon NaturallySpeaking voice recognition software a spin. How did you use it for school?

I used it in a couple of ways. I used it to create notes from handouts I’d got from teachers. Teachers are always giving us handouts or articles, and part of our homework is to summarise that article in bullet form. Having it all transcribed and written down was really helpful.

“I found it really good for  making study guides for tests, which you make by summarising what you’ve learnt in class”

The other thing I found it really good for was making study guides for tests, which you make by summarising what you’ve learnt in class. So I’d go through my class notes, read out the heading, read out what I saw as important, and make bullet points. The subjects I used it for were for Modern History, English, a bit of creative writing, and business studies – it worked really well for these.

Did it save you time?

When I was reading through the sheets and making notes, that saved a lot of time compared to writing them out.

Can you see any other uses for a high school student?

I thought it would be good for ‘writing’ a diary, and also emails. I think also essay writing but for a more formal style of writing like that, you might need to refine the voice recognition more. And apparently you can also use the software to search the internet without having to type anything.

How did you find the experience of downloading the software?

It took a bit longer than I expected. Downloading and installing was easy; there were lots of helpful prompts. But once you download the software, you need to do a voice training session by reading a few short stories so it can recognise your voice. I think it took about an hour to download and install and about 20 minutes to do the voice recognition training. But you can also buy the software on DVD which would save on installing time.

And how about using the software?

It took a little bit of getting used to. It took me a few goes to remember to speak the punctuation. For example, you need to say “new line” when you want to start a new line or paragraph.

Sometimes it didn’t recognise large or unusual words. I found I had to go back and correct a few things. But the instructions did say that you could do the voice recognition test again, and it gets more personalised to your particular voice. So over time it gets even better.

“When I was reading through the sheets and making notes, that saved a lot of time compared to writing them out”

Is Dragon NaturallySpeaking something you would keep using?

Yes, for note taking and study guides, I definitely would.

Have you or your friends ever used voice recognition software before for school?

No we haven’t. My friends came over and were talking to it and thought it was really cool!

What’s the best thing about using this program?

Saving time by saying something and having it appear in front of you rather than having to write it out by hand.

And how did you use all this new, spare time?

Pretty sure I hung out on Facebook.

(And spent time with your family.)

And spent time with my family. And reading books.


If you have a high school or uni student in the family that you’d like to see more of (and who’d like to save time studying and writing notes and essays), enter our comp to win one of five copies of the Dragon NaturallySpeaking software. Just tell us in 25 words or less why you’d like to win, emailing us at contact@thekidsareallright.com.au before 5.00pm EST, Monday 24 November.

Dragon NaturallySpeaking is available for Mac and PC , on DVD or as a download, for $99.95 with a 30-day money back guarantee. Find out more on their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/dragonaustralia.

This post is sponsored by Nuance Dragon NaturallySpeaking software.






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