Every operating system has its text to speech, but many people like Google Docs’ Voice Typing system for its simplicity.
Like many text to speech programs, you still need to speak the punctuation, like saying, “comma’, or “period.” Some errors do occur, but the system is definitely getting better.
For smartphones, the Google Docs app also integrates with Google Docs on tablets and desktops, allowing you to switch devices without losing any work in progress.
Developing a regular practice for using speech to text for all types of note-taking can improve overall learning efficiency and organization.
VOICE TYPING: (https://youtu.be/kBLuo9kWgyg)
Check out this homeschooling parent’s post on how her dyslexic 6th grade daughter uses Google Docs voice typing.
“We don’t use speak-to-text just for writing assignments like research reports, book reports, and writing stories! We use it for EVERYTHING. If she needs to answer a comprehension question on a worksheet in Science, for instance, she uses the speak-to-text feature on my phone to speak her answer, which records it for her, and she can copy her answer onto her own paper, with the correct spelling so that I can actually read and understand her answer when I’m grading it. We use it for Math word problems when a descriptive answer is needed as well – it’s so helpful for ANY subject, and she uses it all day long.”
In this example, the student, Laynie, doesn’t have dysgraphia and what is helpful about how Laynie uses technology is that she is allowed to take notes through dictation, but still learns the correct spellings by recopying notes in her own writing. Dictation is really helpful in this case because if she were required to write out all her answers at once, she might get lost with her ideas and lose her place (working memory) before she could figure out how to spell them and get them down on the page.
The use of this technology can also be seen as a interim support before she is writing by hand independently.
Obviously for students with dysgraphia, this period of having to dictate work or type with word prediction might have to be continued longer.
Tech expert Jamie Martin mentions several Google Docs Add-ons that can also be helpful for students:
The Text Help tool has virtual highlighters that can also export text for citations. EasyBib is a great tool for converting references into the appropriate format that a teacher requests. Mindmeister converts lists into mind maps. They are all free.
Other handy add-ons for Google Docs are things like Easy Accents for foreign language accents, and Translate for translating foreign languages.