This is the first blog post but I am composing not through the tips of my fingers (mostly), but through my own voice.
I’ve long been interested in dictation software, and I have had some experience using Dragon NaturallySpeaking in the past, I was never really a fan. By the time it would take to go back and edit my own thoughts, insert things like, this, and get the text to be somewhat manageable in terms of being a written texts was always is too much. And the fact that the spoken voice is not nearly the same as the written, and I was not a big fan of Dragon NaturallySpeaking. That said, about a month or so ago, Sarah and I downloaded the Dragon app for iPhone’s once I began using the Dragon now know probably efficient was, and the fact that I barely had to correct it anymore, I was hooked. And long heard about MacSpeech Dictate, and I wanted to give it a try. So, I convinced my department chair to let me use professional development funds for this year to consider going to a conference urges the MacSpeech Dictate software and here I am. Blogging with my voice.
I find this an interesting development of the digital writer into the digital teacher. As you can imagine or even might think to yourself, why would I want to write by simply talking. While the fact that I can get many, many, many pages out in the time it would take me to get just a few words with my fingers, even though I am a fast typist, is simply incredible. I am able to produce volumes and volumes of text, even though it’s all not as good as what I would like it to be in some ways is catching my first draft thinking even as I’m thinking. Which of course can be kind of scary.
That said I’m absolutely fascinated by the possibilities that this dictation software offers. For instance, I could be out taking fieldnotes in the classroom using the software literally writing up my notes in the room for, or at least some of my work, at that exact moment. Having a conversation with a colleague where I judiciously use the microphone turned on and off and report different parts of my own voice we have those words and phrases that lead away from time and time again. Or, as in right now, to be used as a way to blog. It’s no secret that I have a blog nearly as much as I’d hoped to (as if any of us ever do anything we want you to want to like exercising or blogging for that matter). But now, with the idea that I could be using the dictation software to capture many of my thoughts, and use my blog as a way to share them, I am, indeed fascinated. I am also, sheepishly, aware of how many times I use commas in my writing and say words like fascinated.
So, I’m not quite sure what to think at this moment. I really do like the dictation software. I really do like the feeling of my fingers on the keyboard. I’m not able to compose things in my head nearly as well as when I see them on screen. For instance I was just trying to write an outline for a book chapter, and no sooner would I move from one idea that I would want to hop back to the previous one. But given that I’m using the software and I haven’t mastered all the commands, it’s very difficult to move around within the word processing program. There’ll come a point where I’m able to use the dictation software and my fingers to move synchronously and with the ease back and forth to different sections of the document. But for right now it’s still a bit awkward.
All that said, this really does he think about what the future writing look like. Of course, I’ve been thinking about this for many years, many of my ideas have to do with the idea of things being visual multimodal. Yet, I wonder with dictation software if I’m really in for a treat and will be interested in going back and looking at my own written words. Well, at least my spoken words, that are captured in written form. I do wonder when I look back at this as they are posted, and I do intend to post it nearly as it’s written right now, only with a few minor mistakes cleared up (NOTE: about two dozen minor errors have been corrected overall), I wonder what it will look like. Soundbite. We’d like. Will it actually someone am speaking? Or will it sound garbled, because my speech patterns and my writing patterns are not nearly the same?
All that said, the possibilities are very unique and I do wonder what I might be able to do with the software not only with my own children as they learn how to type and they could get huge chunks of text out and go back to practice editing area. What might it afford to my classes as well as my colleagues as we engage in research? I’m curious how are you using voice dictation software in your own writing and teaching any thoughts, suggestions, or websites that I might look to for examples of lesson plans and ideas.
And boy, if there was ever a year when I was going to participate in national novel writing month, this might be the one, now that I can just talk my way through it. Then again, probably not, because that takes some of the joy out of writing it.
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