I began using Dragon Dictation a few years ago when my work with a group of struggling writers left me searching for a tool that could help them get the great ideas they were sharing aloud onto a page. I wanted something elegant: a tool that wouldn’t interrupt students as they were speaking but rather, quietly capture what they were saying and flip it into text.
At the time, I had a hunch that if those kids could see what others were hearing them say, they would recognize the power of their words and their potential to get them on paper. I was hoping to spark a bit of intrinsic motivation, and I wasn’t disappointed. What’s more, Dragon Dictation was free and simple to use.
Check out these four quick steps:
1. Once installed, users click on the red button to begin recording.
2. As they speak, the app captures their words. Once finished, a quick swipe of the done button initiates processing.
3. The speaker’s words are transformed into text that is easily revised using the keyboard.
4. Finally, writers can copy and paste their drafts into other applications, email or text them to themselves or others, or share them in their social networks.
Over time, writers of all ages and experience levels began using Dragon Dictation in a variety of ways. It’s a great way to capture fleeting ideas on the go, it enables writers to transcribe the feedback given and received during peer review, and it also allows writers to move as they write. I find that many of them need to.
Teachers can leverage this tool for assessment purposes as well, as it allows us to transcribe verbal responses to questions, deeper reflections, and conferencing dialogue. Rather than managing stacks of paper, teachers can house these transcripts online where they are easily accessed and analyzed. I like using Dragon to transcribe and email the feedback I provide to writers during our face to face conferences. It’s a good reminder of our conversation and one they can return to when I’m not available to help them.
These are just a few ideas of course, and I’m confident that others could share many more. Do you use Dragon Dictation in your classroom? How is supporting the learners you serve? How is helping you become a better teacher?
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A former English teacher, Angela Stockman is the founder of the WNY Young Writer's Studio, a community of writers and teachers of writing in Buffalo, New York. She is also an education consultant with expertise in curriculum design, instructional coaching, and assessment. Read more from Angela at Angelastockman.com.