Saturday, April 19, 2014

Analysis of Adaptive Tech #1

I looked for a list of school based assistive technology to do this assignment. One of the first products that caught my eye was Dragon dictation. It is on all the iPads at our school. I am doing this review using the free Dragon dictation app downloaded on my iPad.

After learning some simple commands like naming your punctuation, it isn't too difficult to make reasonable sentences and paragraphs. I didn't choose to learn the entire tutorial.

According to the creators Dragon dictation is good for
– Physically challenged people who have lost the use of their hands or people with repetitive stress injuries
– Language-based learning disabilities like dyslexia
– English language learners for notetaking, paraphrasing, and fluency
– It can also be used for all students as a tool for QDL, or universal design for learning

I looked at a number of reviews. A quadriplegic loves it! He was the one who recommended looking at the tutorial when he wrote his review. Overall, though, reviews are mixed. The adults on Amazon and Best Buy were either enthralled or disgusted by the program.
Learning works for kids gave it a high-scoring, but I couldn't access the reviews without a membership.
The University of New Hampshire offers Dragon NaturallySpeaking, a $140 program, as one of their disability services for students.

Pros: although the paid app is much more effective, there is a free version for dictation on iTunes. It is a great dictation tool for people who have physical and language based learning disabilities. With the paid version, you can watch your words comes up as you dictate.

Cons: there is a learning curve. If you don't know how to punctuate, the program cannot help you. The program requires that you speak out loud, which is not always practical in a classroom situation.

I have an admission. I am a paper thinker. I had to write this out, then dictate it. I made some minor corrections, but I needed to stop the recording, check the screen, and fixed what I needed to fix. Did you recognize some of the obstacles I faced in using the program?

QDL should be UDL. I can see how, with practice, this could become a useful tool for someone with clear thoughts and poor writing or typing skills.  I can also see Dragon Dictation as a good tool for people without the use of their hands, or limited use of their hands.
It was hard to remember to, as I was speaking, add the punctuation. period. I looked up capital letters and it left my head when I came up to it!

Dragon Dictation app address:
There is also a link from the free app to the company website for more information on the paid programs.

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