Learning Enhanced with Naturally Speaking
When Corel purchased WordPerfect in 1997, they continued to provide Utah schools with special pricing on licensing and ways to help teachers implement their products into the education environment.
Teachers found Dragon Naturally Speaking voice recognition software, available with WordPerfect 8 and WordPerfect Office 2000, to be an affordable tool compatible with all types of instruction.
Accessibility software can be used in all types of classrooms, but the application has special appeal in those classrooms where keyboarding skills cannot be taught or students must find another way to interact with the computer. Such was the case when teachers in Davis School District and Nebo School District made the decision to use Dragon Naturally Speaking and WordPerfect.
An Effective, Easy Approach
Since WordPerfect 7 and 8 were being used on most of the computers in the classroom and labs, it was only logical to add Dragon Naturally Speaking to instruction. State approved resellers assisted schools with the licensing and upgrade paperwork. In Davis District, several Special Education teachers chose to add the software to their labs to help students. The simplicity of adding voice recognition software to the computers in the labs and schools was apparent from the start.
Corel provides a CD with WordPerfect 8 that can be loaded at the same time as the application. A microphone and headset to be used with WordPerfect are also included and are easily attached to the CPU.
Teachers found they didn't have a difficult time learning to work with the software and hardware. "I didn't have to do anything to load or change my machines. The reseller I worked with loaded all the computers and demonstrated to us how to set them up for voice recognition. I've never had it so easy and the kids were thrilled to help. What a confidence builder this was for them," says Kathy Page, a teacher at North Layton Junior High.
Students in Nebo District were especially quick to use the resource. They adapted to the microphone and headset without any problems, and began using the voice recognition capabilities wherever they could.
In other classrooms and labs, students used the spell-as-you-go, GRAMMATIK and thesaurus features to gain a greater understanding of the use of language. "From the beginning, we had all of the students using the software so no one felt different. Everyone in the sixth grade wrote a report using Dragon Naturally Speaking. It was the first time we had total success with Social Studies reports," observes Mary Jane Call at Spanish Fork Junior High. "It was easy to see a way to utilize the application for students who have trouble with handwriting or even using their hands, but I never expected all of the students to pick up on the software so quickly, or for them to even see the need to use it. This was a great experience and we will use Dragon Naturally Speaking for years to come in all of our classrooms," Call adds.
Education for the Future
Corel infuses its products with enhanced features to make teaching and learning easier for teachers and students. Licensing programs available from Corel, integrated solutions to academic instruction, ease of use and networking make Corel a viable option for schools. By utilizing affordable, educational Corel packages, Utah schools will continue to benefit from this investment in the children and their future use of technology.
This article originally appeared in the 11/01/1999 issue of THE Journal.