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Getting Started

If speech recognition is built in to my computer, is it worth buying Dragon or WordQ+SpeakQ?

If you have a Windows or Mac computer, we think yes - we think Dragon NaturallySpeaking is more accurate than the built in Windows system. WordQ+SpeakQ, on the other hand, works differently to Windows or Dragon and is designed specifically for people with significant literacy difficulties. It combines word prediction, speech feedback (text-to-speech) and speech recognition and so it may suit you better or it may not - it depends on the individual user.

Should I use the speech recognition on my phone or tablet, or on the computer?

Dictating using Siri on the iPad, for example, is simpler than the computer programs - you just switch it on and talk - but it also does much less - you can't format text or control the device in the same way that you can with the computer-based systems. Another consideration is that speech recognition on your iPad, iPhone or Android device needs an internet connection to work - this is not the case on a Windows or Mac computer where the speech recognition is done on the computer itself .

Getting Started with Speech Recognition

Speech Recognition is not magic and it requires skills across language, literacy and ICT. It is not for everyone, and so you might like to use Bridgette Nicholson's Evaluation for Potential Use of Speech Recognition tool to consider whether it is right for your learner. If you think it is worth exploring, the best way to get started with speech recognition is to try it: choose a system and follow the tutorials and other guides listed in our pages on each system.

If you are going to use speech recognition on your computer, get a good microphone. We recommend a microphone with a USB connector such as the Andrea NC 181 USB. We've tried lots of mics over the years and we think this one is most reliable.

We strongly recommend using the procedure outlined in Speech Recognition as AT for Writing, by Daniel Cochrane and Kelly Key, which uses the following approach:

  1. Consider It! - Is SR an appropriate tool for the student and the learning tasks? Not every student can use SR, and you can't necessarily use it for every learning task.
  2. Try It! - SR is not magic. You must teach the student to use SR, and to compose and dictate.
  3. Assess It! - What does SR offer compared to handwriting, typing or other writing tools?
  4. Implement It! - If SR looks like it is a viable tool, how can it be introduced into class and at home?

Happy talking (to your computer and also to each other) !

An alternative perspective of speech recognition and the various systems available can be found on the Cloudwards web site.