Last month, I was working on a Google Document and clicked “Tools.” I discovered a new option called “Voice typing.” Just as the name suggests, it allows the user to dictate instead of type.
Simply, click on “Voice typing” and a microphone will appear on the left side of your Google Document. Click on the microphone icon and allow Google to access the microphone on your device. Voila! Voice typing will turn your spoken words to text on the document.
When the microphone is red, anything you say will be written as text. Just like your SmartPhone talk to text feature, it will recognize words like “comma” and “period” and insert the punctuation if you say these words as you dictate.
I have students every year who injure themselves playing sports and are unable to type for weeks on end. I have students who have never taken a keyboarding class and still hunt and peck when typing an essay, which is an incredibly time-consuming endeavor. I have also found this feature very helpful for students with 504 plans or IEPs who benefit from the myriad ways that technology can help them to complete their work.
I’m quick to remind students that anything dictated will require careful editing since our speech patterns do not always translate into strong writing. When we speak, our tone tends to be more casual yet academic writing demands a more formal tone. Our spoken sentences are often long and benefit from revision. When we speak, we use our tone of voice to emphasize particular words or phrases. However, when we write we rely on dynamic word choice and proper punctuation to highlight important points. I’d argue these are important lessons for a generation that is more likely to record their thoughts than write them down.