Speech Recognition

My son is at university and has Dragon as part of his DSA allowance. I was talking to him about it yesterday and he said that he didn’t find it very useful as he felt it took him longer to write using Dragon than to type himself. He was given Dragon as his speed for free writing was 9wpm when he was in 6th form.  Has anyone else met a comment like this? I have to say that I’ve struggled to use the speech recognition that is free with Word but I probably haven’t given it enough time.  Any comments gratefully received.

Speech Recognitions Software

I began looking in to this as a result of the notice that Nuance were offering a cheap deal on Dragon 12. That didn’t come off but I’m glad that it began the process as it was something I’d been thinking about but hadn’t got going with. Amazon offer a fairly cheap deal anyway but I haven’t bought it yet for two reasons. The first reason was that I understood Dragon Premium was better than Dragon Home but Amazon were either offering Premium at the same price or for less than Home and that confused me. The second reason is that a colleague told me that you can get speech recognition if you have Windows 7 or Vista. I downloaded this last night but haven’t managed to get to grips with it yet.  It still feels slightly clunky. Does anyone know how much better Dragon is than the speech recognition on windows?   I’m using speech recognition on windows now but it is quite slow and I am having to read word by word and it’s still getting it wrong. It does say you have to be patient. I wonder if Dragon is like this? Any comments would be gratefully received.

One of the reasons I’m looking in to this is for a young woman I teach. She is severely dyslexic but has worked very hard and has made great progress. Even so, both reading and writing are quite slow for her. She’s in her GCSE year and is predicted good grades. She’s hoping to go on to A-levels. Speech recognition software could help her a great deal so I want to be able to recommend the best thing for her.

Read Write Gold

I have just bought Read Write Gold version 9 from Amazon. It cost me £45 as opposed to approximately £360 if you buy version 10. I really wanted to play about with it and see how it works so it has been a good buy. One of the schools I go in to has it but they don’t really use it so I wanted to get to grips with it so I can advise/persuade them better. It is very versatile; I am impressed so far. I need to use it with someone to really appreciate it though.

Further thoughts

We become very hung up on the statistics when we do an assessment and, of course, they are important. It is very important to report accurately and administer carefully. It is equally important though to pay attention to what is going on in the assessment process. I recently assessed a young woman in Year 8 who said on several occasions, ‘I’m so stupid; I’m an idiot’ Forgetting to report that would be as bad as getting the scores wrong. There are other more subtle things to pick up. When someone frowns or mutters these can also be important factors in the assessment process.

Thoughts on Assessment

I’ve been struggling to think of what to write on my blog. The thing that interests me most at the moment is assessment so I guess I’d better write about that and hope someone else is interested too.

I’m doing my CCET at the moment. As well as wrestling with statistics it has led me to think more carefully about what you are doing when you are assessing someone. This is good as it was partly the reason I wanted to do the course.

It has helped me understand why it is so important to stick to delivering the test as it was set up. Assessing someone is not something you can hope to do 100% accurately; the more deviations from the original set up you introduce, the greater the error you introduce. I did understand this before but I feel I understand it a great deal better.

I also find I understand the nature/nurture debate in a different way. This is an area I have thought about since I was an undergraduate many moons ago. Thinking about this in terms of specific learning difficulties is a developing angle. We are born with a certain make up and what happens to us develops that make up. That is obvious. But it is interesting when you think of this in terms of SPLD. A young person living in home where other members of the family have a SPLD will experience this in different ways depending on how those members have dealt with it. If the SPLD has never been recognised this will have a very different impact than if it has been recognised. Also, if remedial action has been taken to deal with the SPLD, this will also have a different outcome.

Joining the 21st century

I feel that I am being dragged by the bootstraps (or whatever that expression is) to learn to blog and twitter. I realise that I have been in a comfort zone with regard to my computer skills. Lots of things I can do but with very definite limits. Now I am being dragged over those limits and entering a place which is definitely not comfortable. I’m just hoping it will be one day.

Reading and writing backwards

The most puzzling young person I have assessed was in Year 11. I discovered that she read and wrote backwards. I have asked quite a few people about this but haven’t found any satisfactory answers. Her first language is English. Her cultural heritage is second or third generation Jamaican. Any ideas from anyone would be brilliant.