UDL and the SLP: Speech-to-Text Software Part 1

Yesterday, I accomplished the impossible.

I got ALL of my progress reports done in one work day, while also seeing all of my students and going to meetings.

Yeah, I feel pretty awesome, not gonna lie.

One of my co-workers asked, “How on earth did you get it all done? Mine take forever!”

Well, if you’re reading this, I’m here to let you in on my secret. I had help from these sources:

  1. Coffee

  2. More coffee

  3. UDL software

Let’s back up a step… UD...What?

UDL (universal design for learning) software is built into many things in our environment to make things more accessible overall. When there is a UDL accommodation, it means that anyone can use it to make his/her life easier, but it isn’t an accommodation that is necessary for their functioning. When the accommodation becomes necessary to accomplish a specific task, it’s then assistive technology.

When I look at the strategies and tools that I use to keep me going, I’ve come to realize that I use A LOT of UDL technology. For example, I use my mobile assistant to make lists and send text messages through voice commands, I utilize Tile to keep track of my phone and keys, and I rely on text-to-speech software on my phone to read websites and text messages.

Yesterday, I utilized one of my favorite pieces of UDL/AT technology: speech-to-text software. If you haven’t discovered this nugget, please check it out. It’s built into almost everything we use for typing: computers, phones, and tablets. It’s easy to use, already installed, and (best of all), FREE.

Why use speech-to-text?

Not to toot my own horn, I’m a pretty fast typist. However, I also can talk faster than anyone I know. So I figured, if I could find a speech-to-text software that could keep up with me, I’d be pretty much unstoppable. As we all know, it’s much faster to say something than type it. After some years of trial and error, I’d like to introduce you to my favorite speech-to-text option:

Google Docs: voice typing

Google Doc speech-to-text software (which they refer to as “voice typing”) is the front-runner by far. It’s FREE, which is such a bonus. Many times, when I’m recommending accommodations to schools and/or families, I find it’s a lot easier to “hop on board” when there are free options. It takes the pressure off of paying for something that might not work long-term. Additionally, it’s easier to get started right away, as a financial barrier has been removed from accessing what a student may need.

Google Docs voice typing is also great because it is able to be used with a lot of different people. I’ve found that it works really well with those with articulation errors, individuals that stutter, and even those students that mumble perpetually. It’s been great for students who are simply slower than their peers at writing and typing. It’s helpful for individuals with motor or physical impairments that make typing difficult. It even works well for adults who want to type faster!

Also, Google Doc speech-to-text voice typing is very easy to use. With 2 mouse clicks or 3 keystrokes, it’s up and running. Check out below to get set up on your Google account.

Getting Started with Voice Typing

Open your Google Doc, select “Tools”, then scroll down to “Voice typing…”. Alternatively, you can open the speech-to-text software by selecting Command+Shift+S on a Mac computer or Ctrl + Shift + S on a Windows PC.

You may have to agree to let Google access your microphone.

Click on the pictured microphone to start. Once it turns red, start talking! Click the microphone again to stop dictating.

It also provides you with options to select many different languages.

Additional Help

Still having trouble getting it up and running? Google has a walk-through of getting started here.

More information

Stay tuned, as I’ll be posting other speech-to-text options as a part of this series. If you sign up for newsletters, you’ll be notified without having to check back in here. Why not let technology do some of the work for you?

Until next time...


Amanda ML Samperi

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