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Dragon Naturally Speaking Assistive Technology Workshop

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Kelly Werth

on 13 June 2010

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Transcript of Dragon Naturally Speaking Assistive Technology Workshop

Dragon Naturally Speaking Welcome! Before getting started, turn to the person beside you and tell them three things about yourself that they do not know. Using the tools on your table group, now communicate to the person beside you one difficulty you have experienced in your teaching career. You cannot use oral language to communicate and must communicate by only using the materials available to you. Let's Reflect...why was that difficult? Imagine you are a student with a communication exceptionality in your classroom. What difficulties do they experience communicating their ideas and thoughts on a variety of tasks? Dragon Naturally Speaking Can Help!
Dragon Naturally Speaking (DNS) is a voice recognition software programme that allows the user to dictate information into anywhere you would normally type.
A person's words are transcribed onto the computer screen and into documents and can be read back by the computer. Most people speak 120 words per minute but can type only 40 words per minute. DNS allows people to transfer their words into text on computer programs much faster than they can type it. Dragon Naturally Speaking software has 3 main areas of functionality: dictation, text-to-speech, and command output. Dictation involves speaking words and/or phrases into a microphone and having them converted into text in a word-processor. Text-to-speech allows the user to listen what DNS has translated their speech into text. The user can make corrections or changes after listening. The user can also have sections of text read to them. Command input allows the user to issue commands and have DNS complete them (e.g., DNS can save and open documents just by using commands as opposed to clicking with a mouse). DNS is used by schools, businesses, and personal users to provide individuals with greater opportunities for independence while working on computers and with word processors. Dragon Naturally Speaking as an Assistive Technology Device DNS is changing the way students of all ages and abilities learn. In Ontario public schools, DNS is available in schools for students with physical and learning disabilities. Because it is a speech recognition software, DNS has been shown to help students with learning disabilities make significant gains in the areas of reading, writing, and spelling. DNS helps students at all learning levels better exploit their full potential just by speaking! Dragon has proven especially helpful for students with language-based learning disabilities, such as dyslexia, because it enables them to transfer their ideas into print more easily. DNS is loaded onto SEA equipment or school network computers to provide students with full access to the program as they require it. SOMETHING TO TALK ABOUT... In your table groups or with a partner, discuss how Dragon Naturally Speaking could be used as an assistive device for teachers. Using Dragon Naturally Speaking Let's try it out together! Using the handout provided, we will walk through the process of setting up a User File and using DNS as a speech-to-text software device. Advantages of Dragon Naturally Speaking Disadvantages of Dragon Naturally Speaking Students with disabilities can work at a speed comparable to that of most of their peers. When given the proper training, students can become extremely fluent with the program. As the user files expand and become more accustomed to the student's voice commands, the student can speak with 99% accuracy using the program. For students with physical disabilities, Dragon offers them the ability to access their computer independently and function within an inclusive setting. Dragon grows with the students, so as their voice changes, words are pronounced differently, or their vocabulary is expanded, the programme continues to register and save these changes. Dragon Naturally Speaking is a relatively inexpensive program for school boards, parents, and students to purchase. Dragon Naturally Speaking allows students to communicate exactly what they want, while assisting in spelling, grammar, and punctuation learning. Students with exceptionalities may feel uncomfortable speaking aloud in class while the rest of the class is working quietly. Studies have shown that students who already feel segregated from their peers because of learning disabilities are hesistant to use software and resources that highlight this segregation or difference in learning ability. The program requires a sophisticated headset microphone to operate, which can be expensive and not always easily available for students. Considerable time needs to be dedicated for training students on the many functions of the program, which can be cumbersome or difficult to complete for classroom and special education teachers - particularly if they need training themselves. User files must be saved on the computer the student is working at. If they do not have access to a regular computer or laptop, they need to have additional tools to help them transfer the files from computer to computer. The software (if purchased by the school board) cannot be installed on home computers. As a result, students might only have access to the software while at school and cannot complete activities or assignments at home. This also dis-engages the parents from the tool. Now It's Your Turn! How can you take what you've learned and apply it to creating a training session for one of your students? Working with the members of your table group or a partner, you will create a training user file that you could use to teach the basic features of Dragon Naturally Speaking to an exceptional student. Your training user file will be used just to teach the basic applications of the program so that a student could get started using it independently. Use the informational handout given to you and the "Suggested List of Items to Cover" handout to help you organize and create your training user file. REFLECT... How did it go?
What was easy and fun to complete?
What was difficult and frustrating for you?
Imagine how exceptional students will feel...what could you do to lessen the frustrations for students and make using the program a positive experience for them? Dragon for the Future: Dragon Naturally Speaking is a positive assistive technology device for students to use beyond the realms of education. It can be used in the workplace and at home to foster independence for students with disabilities. Online Banking
Internet Searching
Social Networking
Word Processing
Video Viewing
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