Voice recognition softwares are programs that recognize and translate spoken language into written text. To use Voice Recognition (VR) software, sometimes called speech-to-text, the user must train the computer to recognize their voice. The software and hardware enable the user to talk naturally to the computer, which will record exactly what they said and record it as text. Users can also speak commands enabling hands-free computing. Researchers have found that students with LDs demonstrate improved writing performance using VR compared to handwriting (Higgins & Raskind, 1995). Specifically, writing fluency and vocabulary have been found to improve using VR (Lee, 2011; Higgins & Raskind, 1995). Individuals with physical disabilities and traumatic brain injuries have also shown increased writing performance VR products (Bruce, Edmundson, & Coleman, 2003). Students who are already proficient writers have not been shown to make improvements in their writing using VR (MacArthur, 2009).
There are some difficulties with using voice recognition for writing (MacArthur, 2009). Students must learn to speak clearly, avoid intrusions (like um), and dictate punctuation. Due to these limitations, extensive training must be provided on VR software. Software accuracy is often not 100% (though this has steadily improved with newer technologies) and students need to learn new editing skills (MacArthur, 2009). As VR requires a quiet environment (so that the microphone can pick up the user’s voice), it may be impractical to use in a school setting.
Research: Due to the experimental nature of the information cited in this description, this information is to be trusted as valid and reliable.
Effective in circumventing problems for children with writing learning disabilities
Can be used regardless of impaired vision or physical disabilities
Can assist writers in writing fluency and vocabulary
Extensive training required
May be impractical to use in a school setting
Students may require a private, quiet location in which to use voice recognition tools
Special Consideration: Workflow
Exact prices change frequently, which is why only approximate ranges are listed.
$ - Under $5
$$ - Between $6 and $50
$$$ - Between $51 and $250
$$$$ - Over $250
Bruce, C. Edmundson, A., & Coleman, M. (2003). Writing with voice: an investigation of the use of a voice recognition system as a writing aid for a man with aphasia. International Journal of Language & Communication Disorders, 38, 131-148.
Caverly, D.C. (2008). Techtalk: Assistive technology for writing. Journal of Developmental Education, 31, 36-37.
Daniels, P. (2015). Using web speech technology with language learning applications. JALT CALL Journal, 11, 177-187.
Higgins, E.L., & Raskind, M.H. (2004). Speech recognition-based and automaticity programs to help students with severe reading and spelling problems. Annals of Dyslexia, 54, 365-392.
Higgins, E.L., & Raskind, M.H. (2000). Speaking to read: The effects of continuous vs. discrete speech recognition systems on the reading and spelling of children with learning disabilities. Journal of Special Education Technology, 15, 19-30.
Higgins, E.L. & Raskind, M.H. (1995). Compensatory effectiveness of speech recognition on the written composition performance of postsecondary students with learning disabilities. Learning Disability Quarterly, 18, 159-174.
Honeycutt, L. (2003). Researching the use of voice recognition writing software. Computers and Composition, 20, 77-95.
Lee, I. The application of speech recognition technology for remediating the writing difficulties of students with learning disabilities (Order No. AAI3501541). Available from Linguistics and Language Behavior Abstracts (LLBA). (1323345375; 201303874).
MacArthur, C.A. (2009). Reflections on research on writing and technology for struggling writers. Learning Disabilities Research & Practice, 24, 93-103.
Written by Bronwyn Lamond, Last Revision May 2018