Thursday, April 05, 2007

Utah State showcasing features of Dragon Naturally Speaking 9.0

There is an interesting article in The Utah Statesman, the newspaper of Utah State University, about an upcoming series showcasing the
Functional applications of Dragon Naturally Speaking 9.0.

The purpose of this event, sponsored by the university’s Assistive Learning Technology Center, is to demonstrate how the speech-to-text application can be used by people with a broad range of disabilities, but won’t stop at just that. Jacob Miller, the coordinator of the center is promoting it as software that can be used by anybody. He claims that Dragon has helped him improve his typing speed by 430%, although he considered himself a decent typist even before using it.

The article goes on to give some pretty strong endorsements from other users of the assisstive technology software, emphasizing different features of the program that one might not know about unless he were a regular user of it. This also serves to demonstrate the applicability of the software across a wide range of disabilities.

One point Miller makes about the broader use of this specific program is that the state of Iowa now requires high school students to learn how to use it. Hmmm. Interesting concept there, mandating use of assistive technology by all students.

Miller also discusses a possible alternative use of Dragon in that article which my former colleague and I had begun to explore last year----------- using Dragon to provide real-time captioning of a professor's lecture on a deaf student’s laptop.

Aside from providing a good informational article about Dragon Naturally Speaking 9.0, the concept of having an open series of events where all students are encouraged to stop by to see what this powerful software can do is a fresh idea for an innovative outreach program. In a world where good ideas are often sought out and emulated, I think this is one definitely worth a repeat.

Good work, Mr. Miller.

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