I’m building an interesting relationship between myself and my computer. I recently started using voice recognition software from Dragon. This means I can now speak into a headset and the words appear on the screen. This is going to be particularly useful when I’m writing long documents for the MA but it’s also good for writing blog posts and emails as well as other documents.
I have to say though that it takes some getting used to. I think I’m fairly lucky considering that I’ve got a middle-of-the-road English accent so it isn’t producing as many mistakes as it could (because it’s made for my kind of accent) but neither is it perfect. Occasionally it does “write” what it thinks I’ve said rather than what I have said. But the really clever thing about this software is that it learns from its mistakes and it learns to recognise the voice that is using it so that writing becomes more fluid and there are less mistakes the more you use it. I’m finding that I’m able to write much quicker and whereas I might be able to touch type around about 30 words a minute I can speak many more which means writing is now becoming a quicker process. This is going to be particularly useful when I come to write my 20,000 word dissertation.
I also have some software called Text Help and one of the functions of this program is that it speaks text back to you. This is useful if you want to check for mistakes in your work because often hearing the mistakes is easier than seeing them, particularly for dyslexics. But this means my relationship with my computer is slightly different from normal. I am talking to it and seeing it react as well as listening to it. All of this should in theory speed up the process of studying and increase my accuracy. It’s impossible for Dragon to hear my speech and write a word that doesn’t exist so there shouldn’t be any problems with spelling but that doesn’t mean there aren’t problems because obviously if it picks the wrong word and I miss it then that changes the meaning of a sentence. Editing my work has taken on a new dimension.
It’s important for dyslexic students and dyslexic people at work to get all the help available to them. This kind of equipment cannot only speed up your work you can improve your efficiency, effectiveness, and accuracy. I had to really fight to get it as a student but I’m so pleased that I was successful and I would recommend never giving up on trying to get what you are entitled to. In fact I would say that this software would be useful to most people.