Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Speak it!

     Earlier today I received an email from a colleague that was searching for a way to display text on the computer screen by simply speaking to the computer. Enter the Dictation&Speech feature under system preferences! Before trying out the feature, make sure your computer is updated to 10.8-Mountain Lion, a newer version of Mac OSX in order to access the Dictation&Speech features.
Speech to Text can be used in the classroom for a variety of ways! Students can retell a story without having to struggle with finding the letters and spelling words on a keyboard. They can simply focus on the goal of the lesson and details they remembered from the story. They can respond to questions on a particular text, produce answers for a quiz or test and simply produce more legible assignments. In math, students can also practice math facts by reciting a math sentence and watching it appear on the screen!  
Check out my "What's Up Dude?" video to see Dictation in action! Note that in order to include punctuation when dictating a sentence, you specifically need to say the name of the punctuation mark you want to use-to produce a question mark, simply say “question mark” at the end of the sentence for it to appear! 

Follow these steps to launch the Speech to Text feature:
Open System Preferences > Double Click Dictation&Speech (under System) > Set Dictation to the On button > Select the shortcut to enable Dictation > Set Language > Open up Pages or Microsoft word > Press shortcut key > Say your word/sentence/paragraph > Watch as the computer types the words. If you want your computer to read back the sentence, simply press Opt+ESC and voila, the computer is speaking to you! 


Visit this youtube clip for a detailed explanation on how to turn on Dictation on your MacBook computer.

Thursday, November 7, 2013


     I attended my very first Apple Education seminar last week The seminar was geared towards using iPads and Mac computers with students in Special Education. THANK YOU to all of the presenters who shared their stories and information on apps and various features that the iPads and Mac’s have to offer!  


One feature that I have tapped into and utilized since seeing the benefits at the training is the Photo Booth application on the Mac Computer.  I use it as both a reward and learning tool in my classroom.  Photo booth produces photos and videos using image effects that make silly faces such as “Space Alien” and “Bug Out” as well as back drops that virtually place you riding on a roller-coaster or swimming in an aquarium. A great way to utilize Photo Booth in the classroom is by having the students complete a task, respond to questions or simply interact with the teacher or another peer while being recorded using one of the backdrops or image photo effects. Once recorded you can play it back for the student and teacher to watch together and enjoy! An increase in interest, motivation and overall performance can be shown just by using this simple tool. 
And finally, one presenter, Bill Ziegler, an Apple Distinguished Educator from Bucks County, PA, shared a story of a young man named Bern. Bern is a Guidance Counselor for the Bristol Township Schools, hockey coach, college football announcer and motivational speaker. I would like to end this blog by sharing with you a message from Bern on the “Priceless” impact technology can have and has had on all people with disabilities. Trust me when I say this is worthing watching: