Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Publish with Dragon Dictation
I had the pleasure to meet M last week when I was in her room to help publish feature articles. I sat with her to work on getting her writing formatted. But what I found was really exciting. M is a fantastic researcher and writer. The information she found to answer her student generated questions was focused and spot on. Seriously, impressive for a third grade student.
But she really struggled with spelling. She could read her own work, and spelling didn't slow her down with her writing. But as a reader, following her thinking was challenging for me. We spent a half hour correcting her work. But what happens when there isn't an adult around to work one on one? I couldn't leave M without a tool. So I mentioned Dragon Dictation to her teacher and begged to come back to show M how to use it to publish her work. Here's what we learned.
First, we started with her written work. As you can see, it's very organized and ready to go. With M, we learned it was a good idea to read a paragraph at a time to practice fluency. Then we were ready to start the dictation.
Dragon Dictation is a remarkably simple app which makes it perfect for kids. And adults. The screen shows a list of your previous dictations on the left. Then your workspace is on the right. Tap the screen to start the recording. It's important to speak slowly and loudly. With M, we needed to go back and re-record at times because she was rushing or trailed off at the end. Another great feature of the app is that you can edit directly in the app. When we finished recording a section, M went back and matched up her work from Dragon to the paper and made adjustments when it wasn't correct. Like anything, it's a learning process. Dragon does not insert punctuation, so the student has to go back and add them in. Here is what we ended up with:
As you can see, it's not perfect. But for twenty minutes on an app she opened for the first time, it's pretty good. Dragon lets you export your work in a variety of ways. The route we chose was through simple copy and paste. You can email it, add to your blog, or move to a google doc.
I learned several things from my first visit with M. First, she was ecstatic to try it out. Second, it takes practice. You can't expect for it to work perfectly the first time. Students will need time to practice their fluency and volume to maximize the effectiveness of the process. Finally, like a lot of kids, M has access to a device at home that she'll likely use tonight to download Dragon Dictation and start using it. I see a lot of possibilities here.
Blogged from my iPad!