In January of this year I fell and broke my wrist in two places. This accident left me with limited use of my left hand for over 4 months. Typing with one hand was very frustrating when I was able to produce typing speeds of up to 65-70 words per minute before the accident. In need of finding a better way to interact with my WIN 8 computer I turned on “Speech Recognition” found under Programs > Accessories > Ease of Access. The first time this program is turned on it goes through a tutorial. While I learned to use the program, the computer learned how to interrupt my spoken words. It was mindboggling to see how quickly I could put my thoughts up on the computer screen. Not only did the computer type the words I said, it also responded to my spoken commands. Now that my hand is almost 100% recovered, I may never fully return to the old days of pounding my keyboard. On my iPad I use Dragon Dictation for the same purpose as Speech Recognition.
There are lots of programs and products that provide accessibility for people with special needs. Please use this discussion to share your experiences with assistive technology.
I also use Dragon Dictation and really enjoy how well it works. When I showed it to the Language Arts teacher chair, she was thrilled and told how it will help reluctant writers start a project. I showed it to the Special Education teacher chair and he was SO EXCITED. He could easily see how this will help the Special Education students write more cohesive stories. I then showed it to my principal. He's almost convinced this is a reason to go to a 1:1 environment - especially for the Special Education students. Finances seem to be holding back this wonderful change. Now ... should I tell him the great news about WIN 8 or not? What say ye?
Microsoft in Education put together a publication called, " Accessibility: A guide for educators". This guide helps teachers with assistive technologies in the classroom and supports students using the accessibility features found in Microsoft technologies. I have attached a copy of this very helpful publication to this post.