The presenter stated the act of speaking is a far more natural and efficient way of generating words than moving your fingers on a keyboard. I agree since I would consistently see the delay in typing and losing the thought in my former students and with my own children.
The presenter of the webinar also taught how dictation software jumpstarts the writing process by:
- Increasing writing flow by helping to alleviate writer's block (a blank page creates pressure);
- Resulting in more language production (longer and more detailed essays);
- Assisting in the pre-writing phase by writing more freely without worries of mechanics and spelling errors;
- Helping teach correct spelling and capitalization;
- Improving sentence structure with a playback feature, which helps writers recognize sufficient verb usage and sentence structure;
- Better leveraging their oral language skills by enhancing their writing fluency; and
- Taking better notes since while note-taking, only 5-10% of words said are written.
The most jaw-dropping part of the webinar was when they showed a writing sample of a child who had a severe learning disability and had struggled for years with writing.
His parents and teacher began to cry when the child used the software for the first time. He was now free to express himself. I can only imagine how happy and relieved that child felt, and I wonder how many other children can benefit from this type of teaching tool as well.
My first concern about using this software were the SAT/ACT tests. But after pondering on that for a few minutes, I knew that students get many chances to practice written timed tests while taking SAT/ACT prep classes in high school. I was no longer concerned about writing essays by hand in high school and college since most assignments are now typed and stored on a thumb drive or emailed to the teacher. Boy, how times have changed.In addition, I knew a lot of editing skills would still be used since the technology is not foolproof. Students will still need to proof their sentences and edit their work just like they do with typing other assignments.
My good friend, Nancy, was just as curious as I was on this dictation quest, and she decided to post the topic in the Institute for Excellence in Writing IEW Forum to see what other parents and educators had to say. Their feedback was overwhelmingly positive. My favorite comment was from a home educator-
How many people do you know with carpal tunnel syndrome? I think we are going to realize that a lifetime of typing isn't such a good idea and switching to dictation is a better option. I am deciding to help my daughter to go that way too. No worries for me about being "too early" or "messing up her ability to type." Last year I was a little worried, but after seeing how fast technology is changing, I worry no more.
Great point! I had not even thought of carpal tunnel syndrome, which is rapidly rising due to the increased amount of time we spend typing.
After reading through the comments, Nancy and I concluded that our children will be expected to do the same amount of work as other students who are using technology. The reality is people will also be expected in the workforce to do more in a less amount of time. Dictation devices will definitely give our children an edge. Why spend 2 hours on an assignment when their peers are spending 30 min?
How much will I use dictation software with my children and at what age will I introduce the more intensive software? I haven't made those decisions yet, but I do know I will be integrating dictation into our writing assignments in the future. The results are too powerful for me to ignore. (By the way, this is not a sponsored review.)
For the PC- Dragon Naturally Speaking
For the MAC- Dragon Dictate
Enjoy helping your writer blossom,