Dragon Dictate


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My first foray into University studies was in the early 90’s. This was a time where bulletin boards were actually boards that hung in corridors with things pinned to them. There was no such thing as a laptop, computer rooms were places where one would go to sit at a desktop to type out an assignment. Lecture notes were photocopied and handed out, and ridiculously expensive text books were lugged from tutorial to tutorial.

When I returned to University this year I realised there was a whole new vocabulary to learn. I now borrow books from an elibrary and download my lectures via podcast. I read text books on my ipad after purchasing them from an online book store. I attend discussions in online forums and post answers for tutorial questions via blog. I’ve joined Facebook groups with fellow students and have talked in realtime via Skype with a classmate while she’s been in one country and I’ve been in another.

The world of study feels so much more flexible than it once was. So much can be done in the comfort of one’s home. The difference is my home has changed quite dramatically from the early 90’s. I now have children and being a parent while attempting to study provides its challenges. There have been many times that I’ve been preparing dinner for my children while my laptop lay dormant in the corner – and it’s during these times that a persistent idea has crossed my mind, if only I could just write the essay while I stood here peeling potatoes.

This is where Dragon Dictate comes in.

Last week I was sent a piece of software to download, software which promised the ability to dictate my words onto the page with accuracy and speed. With the reminder that talking is three times faster than typing I felt compelled to give it a try.

Dragon Dictate means that I no longer need my fingers to type. After dictating a few sentences the software was able to not only help me get my assignments on the page, but I could answer email, write notes, and put a blog post together. I know that voice recognition can be tricky, but the software was able to listen to my voice, take note of my inflections and build on my vocabulary. The more I used it, the smarter it became. I was able to read ebooks on my ipad while reciting sentences onto my laptop. The ability to think out loud and take whatever was in my head and put it straight onto the paper was addictive. My shopping list, reminders or prompts for the following day, and email were now something I did while doing something else.

The software appealed to all of the children for different reasons, but it was our third child who could see an end in sight with his constant struggle with handwriting. Often we’ve joked that his scrawl is the result of his brain working faster than his hands. Dragon Dictate meant that he could articulate his idea and get something decipherable into a document.

Do you have a student in your house? Can you see yourself using Dragon Dictate? Comment below and I’ll put you into the running to receive one of five free downloads.

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