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Academic Technology Services blog

Injury and Education: Speech Recognition

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Computer-based speech recognition is getting better and can be essential in helping an injured student keep up with assignments.

An injury can make learning difficult, especially on the block plan. A concussion, if untreated, can permanently harm a student’s ability to think and react. Treatment usually involves complete boredom: limiting stimulus and light (no music, no reading, no watching things) for a long time. (Here’s an effective test for concussion) and here’s Kristi Erdahl’s study on concussion testing.
Other students are physically injured – imagine trying to type papers with a broken wrist or arm; imagine trying to participate in a geology field course with a broken leg.

One tool for getting around an inability to type is speech recognition software. Windows (Vista and later) and Android (later versions are better) come with speech recognition built-in and do a pretty good job. There’s also Siri for iOS and a free Nuance Dragon app.

Google Chrome also has voice recognition and there’s an app, Dictanote, which will even recognize multiple languages (Spanish, German, and several others!), which could be especially useful for students in upper-level language classes. Dictanote is available online and offline as a Chrome app.

Last week, Apple announced its latest OS, Mavericks. With Mavericks, they’ve finally started to catch up with Windows in the dictation or voice recognition department, as they’ve made it possible to download all the files necessary for dictating to your computer without being online. I have not played around with it much, but this is a good step forward.

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