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4. Is voice recognition appropriate for all students with writing difficulties?

No. Voice recognition IS a promising technology, but like all other technological solutions, it is not necessarily appropriate for every student who experiences difficulty with writing. In exploring the use of voice recognition technology by a particular student, one should consider several skill areas that come into play:

Cognitively, students are asked to attend to several tasks at the same time. For example, students must be able to compose orally while operating the system through oral commands. They must be able to tell which aspect of the program is voice recognition and which is word processing. In other words, students will most likely fair better if they are somewhat flexible in their thinking and are able to juggle several tasks at once.

Linguistically, students must eventually understand the differences between written and spoken forms of language so that they can adopt a more formalistic style of talking for writing. They must be able to dictate in a word-by-word manner and simultaneously monitor both their written language and the system.

Academically, students must have sufficient word reading skills to accurately read alternative word lists and distinguish between visually similar words. They must be able to detect when the system makes a mistake. And, they must have sufficient phonetic spelling skills to prompt the system to generate the correct word when it has made a mistake.

Behaviorally, students must be motivated to learn the system and improve their writing skills. They must persevere through training and accept that they use a methodology different from the one most of their peers use. If students bring a positive attitude to the process, they can help themselves a great deal.

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