Dragon Dictation: App of the Week Lesson Plan #byod

Mini app lesson plans will help your students become more productive. This is an important concept for BYOD or BYOT teachers. You can do this lesson in 5 short minutes. I realized that teachers might like a peek inside how I teach this app to my students after @melissadenuzzo asked me to on Twitter. So, Melissa, here’s to you and all the other teachers out there – ask and you shall receive!

Why should we have an app of the week as a mini lesson plan?

I want my students to be productive geniuses. They are a human being not a human doing but they carry around a full blown secretary in their pockets, if they’ll learn how to hire it. If you are a BYOD school, you should do everything in your power to help students really “Bring it” using their mobile device and an app of the week is just one way to do it.

App of the Week

Each week I have an “app of the week” which is something that is free or low cost to make their lives better. I like to pick apps available on computer and most mobile platforms.

Link to the apps from Dragon: Nuance Mobile Apps –Mobile Assistant & Text Input Apps  – Nuance

This page gives you  a link to all of the mobile apps from Dragon, the maker of Dragon Dictation, but just look for it in the store for your mobile device.

Dragon Dictation is from the people who made Dragon Naturally Speaking for the computer. The app is robust and recognizes most voices.

Dragon Dictation is from the people who made Dragon Naturally Speaking for the computer. The app is robust and recognizes most voices.

What does Dragon Dictation do?

This free app takes dictation, like it says. Learn to talk into the app and you can dictate papers and more. It is a must share because students who are more verbal often prefer to dictate papers rather than type them. IF they are a slow typist, typically they are a faster talker. You can’t dictate in the app and will need to paste it into another one.

How to teach students about Dragon Dictation

Set up Dragon Dictation on your screen:

I plug in my ipad to my projector so students can see on the screen. You could demo on your iphone but I like having extra screenspace for my demos. Have Dragon up on the screen

 

Figure 1. Tap to record. Dragon Dictation is an essential productivity app for those who are slow typists or have long commutes. Here's how to teach students about it.

Figure 1. Tap to record. Dragon Dictation is an essential productivity app for those who are slow typists or have long commutes. Here’s how to teach students about it.

1) Open the app and dictate without stopping to add punctuation

When I demo this app, first I open it and dictate things – saying funny things about the class and they see the words.

I’ll just see who is in my field of vision.

“Molly looks beautiful today in her blue shirt. Zachary told me an awesome joke this morning. Nick is going to dunk tonight at the basketball game.” (I always like to say positive, encouraging, or funny things.)

2) Press stop. (Circle button)

At this point, I point out that when the buffer is full that it will stop on its own, but I prefer to stop it. All of the text will go into the app. If students don’t practice, they can talk for minutes and then realize that Dragon stopped after 1. (Remember that when you press record again it picks up where you left off.

3) Look at the text

I have them look at the text and ask them what is missing. (See Figure 2 below. Punctuation) They’ll also point out that some of the words need to be fixed (see Nick’s name and the word dunk in the example below.) And I’ll show them how to fix it.

Figure 2 - Dragon shows the words I just dictated. Note that I can't edit here, but I can touch the words and change them if there is a suggested word in the dictionary.

Figure 2 – Dragon shows the words I just dictated. Note that I can’t edit here, but I can touch the words and change them if there is a suggested word in the dictionary.

4) Press the record button again.

Now, I’ll say, “OK, so let’s try this and take it up a level.” Then, I’ll say something like this:

“New paragraph. Lauren is so amazing that her genius makes my eyes hurt. Period. Judy laughed so hard she fell off the chair. period. New Paragraph. Johnny ran out of the room saying quote There are zombies in here exclamation point end quote new paragraph.”

(Note, test this first — there are some words I never say into Dragon in front of kids — bench is one of them. Try it when you’re alone. It rarely transcribes the word bench.)

Figure 3 - Now, you can see punctuation, etc. (Note that I had to stop and start because I said the word bench instead of chair and I had forgotten that Dragon often types profanity when I say the word bench so I had to start over." Remember to test what you might want to say before doing this demo live.

Figure 3 – Now, you can see punctuation, etc. (Note that I had to stop and start because I said the word bench instead of chair and I had forgotten that Dragon often types profanity when I say the word bench so I had to start over.” Remember to test what you might want to say before doing this demo live.

5) Examine the text and teach students how to copy it into another app

Press the button in the top right corner (Figure 4) to access the features you’ll need including copy. I teach students to copy this and then go into Pages to paste and edit the text.

Figure 4 - Show students how to copy and paste out of Dragon

Figure 4 – Show students how to copy and paste out of Dragon

6) Talk about organizing apps for driving

I also mention to students an important productivity tip. If they have Siri or voice recognition, they should practice launching the app with their voice. If they don’t, I recommend having a folder called “Driving” to put all apps that you use while driving and open that folder as you get in the car before you crank it. I have one of these with Audible, Dragon, and everything else.

I also emphasize to WAIT to copy and paste until they are no longer driving. Dragon will save separate notes in there and they can do this.

How to help kids take the next step

I’ll ask students to list how many ways this could be used. I also often give students a way to earn an extra “100” by using the app. Because not all of my students have smartphones, ipads, or devices, this is how I word it.

“Now, this is our app of the week. Some of you might need an extra 100 in the gradebook, so if you download and install it and show me how it works, I’ll give you that extra hundred. If you don’t have a device that you can get this app, see me, and I’ll let you practice with my ipad or iphone and give you credit for showing me you can speak into my app and copy out of it into pages. You can also do this on a friend’s device if they let you”

I give the whole week and I give them access. Everyone should have the same chance to try out dictation.

Why do you offer an incentive?

Here’s the problem. Kids who really need this app won’t install it. Kids who learn differently don’t like to draw attention to themselves. They don’t want to feel “different.” So, often, the person who needs something the most won’t use the app or trick I teach. So, I have to make it something that they all want to do. I offer bonus, then… I elicit parent support.

I’ll also follow up and email parents to tell them about the app and what it does, and I’ll reinforce the types of students who will benefit from the app. I’ll mention that the parents might want to use it as well and that their child is capable of teaching them how. (Many parents love these tips and it also reinforces what I’ve taught by having parents try the app. I have parents who comment that they like some of the things I send like this.)

A Question for you

So, I have two questions for you:

  1. Do you want me to share more “app of the week” lesson plans with you?
  2. Do you have any candidates for “app of the week” that should be taught?

Please leave a message in the comments. I want to be as helpful as possible to as many teachers as possible.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

22 thoughts on “Dragon Dictation: App of the Week Lesson Plan #byod

  1. Outstanding app! I’ve loved this app for myself, but really enjoy the practical application in the classroom. It’s definitely one of those great apps that I forget to pull out so thank you for reminding us all about it! 🙂

  2. YES. This was a great idea and I am sharing it with an edmodo group of teachers that I facilitate. Thanks!

  3. Yes, please do share more. Some suggested apps: Celly, Feedly, Edmodo, Google Drive, Skitch/Evernote, Diigo, inClass…just a few

  4. Yes, please do share! I do have one question, though, but it may be that I am miss-reading your post. Under the Figure 2, you said, “Note that I can’t edit here, but I can touch the words and change them if there is a suggested word in the dictionary.” However, you can edit there if you click on the tiny keyboard symbol at the bottom of the screen. I have been using this app in my classroom (infrequently), and I am currently using it with my son who has Asperger’s. His handwriting is terrible, so I’ve finally convinced him that this is the app for him. Since he also has speech issues, this app is actually helping him to see that he needs to work on slowing down and speaking more clearly in order to be understood. Still, there are times that he needs to edit more than just a word or two. He can press the keyboard icon and make corrections in the app before going on. He uses it to complete homework, so he stops between questions. Anyway, if I’m misunderstanding your post, please accept my apologies. I do think sharing apps with your students is a great idea, and I’d love to see the ones you do share.

    • You may have taught me something. I haven’t been able to edit on my keyboard BUT I’m using bluetooth. Let me turn off my blue tooth keyboard and test this tomorrow. You read it right but it may be that there is a gap in my knowledge. Thank you for sharing your story and I’ll make the corrections in the post (attribution to you, of course) when I figure out just what I’ve done wrong. Thanks for taking time to share.

      Sent from Mailbox for iPad

      • Yeah, I don’t know that much about bluetooth. We use it on an iPad mini, one that has been updated to the latest IOS. Let me check one of my other class iPads that hasn’t been updated to see if I can do it.–Nope, it works on my other one too.

  5. Yes, please share more. I love this App of the Week idea and would like to start this in my classes and modify it for staff education. Thank you!

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