english language learners and voice recognition software

It’s an exciting time in our careers to have a vast amount of apps at our disposal.  Truth be known, the multitude of apps can be quite overwhelming and it takes time to sort through and find that ‘right’ app tailored to the learner’s needs.  I would say this has been a  challenge but all worth it when that effective app unleashes its power.  Oral language acquisition often arrives sooner than does reading or writing.  For this reason, I wanted to find an effective voice recognition app that could record an ELLs oral English and display their ideas in text form.   Even beyond that, one that could record an ELL’s first language, capturing their thoughts and ideas and then translate and display  in English text.

WordQ for the ipad does this nicely.  It is similar to WordQ on desktop computers in that it has word recognition as students type, but it also has the bonus feature of voice to text.  It is also much more effective than the Dragon Speaking app which can have difficulty recognizing words from students with accents from their first language.  WordQ for the ipad also has more sharing capabilities.  The Google translate app for ipad is also more powerful than the traditional online version with more languages and a powerful voice to text tool.  This Google app also orally translates a student’s first language into English text.  It’s an amazing feature that can unlock our ELL’s ideas in L1, previously blocked by a language barrier.


what are we proposing?

(*First Learning About Blogging* Blog as it happens! I’m trying to remember what happened months ago and it’s tough. I’m trying to get caught up on the events leading up to today, but it would have been much more effective and efficient if I had been blogging along as events unfolded. A lesson learned.)

Our proposal centres around game-based learning and gamification. We want to focus on using games, game design and gaming technology to enhance student learning, especially with English Language Learners and students on Individual Education Plans.

Our hope is that the game aspects will transcend any language or ability barrier so that all can succeed. Levels out the playing field, if you wish. We are also considering that students will be more engaged in the learning process, will take more of an active role in their learning and will enjoy coming to school more.

I have concerns. I’m unsure how parents will receive the news that their child will be “playing games” all year. On a similar note, I am not sure how my colleagues will view this project. Seriously? You’re going to let students play all day?

The key here is sharing of information. Our group will hold community information sessions and we’ll be sure that our staff team, including administrators, clearly understands what we are attempting to undertake. We’ll be welcoming so that others want to ask us questions and observe our classrooms.  Outside of our school, we need to consider Board-wide impact of our project and beyond that, national and international communities need to be informed.

Transparency is crucial. Which leads back to this blog: I want to document every minute of my thinking, reflection, successes and failures.  Nothing hidden, no questions avoided. We’ll also be tweeting along the way. Our students will be blogging their learning.

Anyone else I need to consider sharing information with?  Any other way I can share?


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