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Day 19 – Speaking Dictionary – #28daysofwriting – Assistive Technology

Some students who use speech recognition (Day 4 – How to train your Dragon) may not wish to use this tech in the classroom.

I do encourage where possible – see this video which, although old, explodes the myth that it can’t be used in class.

Understandably however some students wish to be a little less obvious. Predictive text can help here and it is in-built these days – there are also apps such as Ginger, Writer and WriteOnline which can help.

A problem still remains however for those with very poor spelling, if a student spells library ‘lbry’, no predictor, no matter how clever, will pick this up. Here is a list of spellings from a student with dyslexia compared to someone with better phonological awareness – imagine text prediction with the list on the right.


What I have found to be quite useful is using an online dictionary with speech recognition enabled.

A free one is Merriam Webster (it does need to be online to work). The student can simply speak the word and the dictionary will find it. Students can then have the word read out to them as well as the definition.

So, below I have just said ‘pedagogy’ into my iPhone and got the lovely Daniel reading it out for me:


Simple press the red loudspeaker and Daniel will say the word; he will also read the definition if you ask nicely.

On a laptop options are similar using predictive software and speech recognition in tandem but what I like about the iPad is how discrete it is – if lots of students are using tablets then even more so.

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