When a student becomes frustrated expressing their ideas in writing in their primary learning medium and it has negative implications on learning and their self-esteem, the IEP team needs to consider what the best way is for the student to express his knowledge. One of my students will be using speech to text software or applications to demonstrate content knowledge. The team determined this was best because the student was experiencing high levels of stress because of increased academic pacing in upper elementary school and frustration with how long it took her to braille her responses in the classroom.
The student is learning to utilize dictation across multiple operating systems using a collaboration team approach. The OT is focusing on using dictation with Read and Write Google, while the TVI is focusing on using dictation with iOS. The team determined the TVI would provide primary instruction in editing written work visually, auditorally, and tactually, while team members carry over taught skills with the student throughout her school day.
Below are example goals for the student to use dictation to express her ideas in writing and editing her writing skills using technology.
By May 2020, given speech to text software and at least two different operating systems, Student A will use speech to text to express her ideas in writing with no more than two verbal or gestural prompts, for a work sample of 3-5 sentences on grade level as measured by weekly data collection.
By January 2020, Student A will use speech to text software in at least 2 different operating systems to set up speech to text software, with no more than 2 prompts, including obtaining devices, turning on procedures, and troubleshooting as measured by weekly data collection.
By March 2020, given speech to text software on two or more operating systems and no more than two prompts, Student A will dictate using a clear voice, to allow ideas to be expressed independently in writing as measured by weekly data collection.
By May 2020, given speech to text software on two or more operating systems and no more than two prompts, Student A will verbalize punctuation and spacing (differentiating between line and a paragraph) on a work sample of no less than 3 sentences as measured by weekly data collection.
By May 2020, given a laptop with screen magnification and screen reading software, an iPad, and a braille display, Student A will edit a writing passage that is 3-5 sentences in length with no more than two prompts weekly using her visual, auditory, and/or tactual sensory channels as measured by observation and data collection.
By January 2020, given a laptop with screen magnification and screen reading software, Student A will use keyboard commands such as cut, copy, and paste to edit a writing passage that is 3- 5 sentences in length with no more than two prompts weekly as measured by observation and data collection.
By March 2020, given an iPad, refreshable braille display or a braille notetaker, Student A will tactually edit a writing passage that is 3-5 sentences in length with no more than two prompts by correcting grammar, punctuation and spelling using braille display editing commands and spell check weekly as measured by observation and data collection.
By May 2020, given a laptop with screen reading software or an iPad with screen reading software and a refreshable braille display, Student A will auditorally identify a mistake in a writing passage that is 3-5 sentences in length and use her preferred sensory channel to place her cursor where the mistake is located with no more than two prompts weekly as measured by observation and data collection.
Dictation is a feature of many software applications, such as Read and Write Google. Given a large screen laptop with Zoomtext, the student uses her residual vision to access the Speech Input feature of Read and Write Google. With a high level of magnification, the student can navigate the Read and Write toolbar to locate the Speech Input icon. She uses a mouse to activate the icon and practices speaking clearly. Her speech is turned into print within a Google Doc. To accommodate sighted adults, she zooms out so they can view the entire screen.
Dictation is also built into Mac OS and iOS. For the purpose of this post, I will be focusing on how to set up and use dictation for iOS. Dictation must be turned on in Settings. To enable or disable dictation, go to Settings, General, Keyboard, and Dictation. You need to scroll down to the bottom of the screen to enable dictation. Once enabled, the microphone button that is used for dictation is available anytime there is a text/edit field or the virtual keyboard is on the screen. Dictation can be used to write messages or an email, as well as with the following apps: Notes, Pages, Google Docs, etc. Since the school uses Google, the student is learning to use dictation on her iPad with Voiceover and Google Docs. On the iPad, the dictation button is located to the left of the spacebar, while on the iPhone it is located on the lower right side of the keyboard below the return key. The student was initially taught the spatial layout of the screen so she could locate the dictation button visually as well as auditorally when using Voiceover. When Voiceover is not enabled, she taps the dictation button once to begin recording her speech. When she is done speaking, she presses the bottom of the screen where a small keyboard icon is located. Using Voiceover, the student auditorally locates the dictation button and uses a double tap to start and stop dictation. The focus of the Voiceover cursor must be within the document content when using dictation. The last way the student has learned to use dictation is with the two finger double Voiceover gesture. Again, the cursor’s focus must be within the document content of the Google Doc for the student to use this Voiceover gesture. Given both the student’s experience and my personal experience, using the two finger double tap gesture has worked inconsistently with her iPad.
After the student has dictated 3-5 sentences using her technology, she will be editing her writing using a refreshable braille display paired to the iPad or auditorally with Voiceover. The student and support staff became frustrated in the past trying to edit using only Voiceover because they could not control the location of the cursor in the document content. I showed them how to adjust the rotor to lines, words, or characters using both Voiceover gestures and the braille display commands. However, the student was swiping/flicking to the right or left with one finger instead of flicking up or down with one finger to move the location of the cursor. This week, the student will be taught that once the rotor is set to words she can move the cursor to the next word by flicking down and to the previous words by flicking up. When the Voiceover rotor is set to characters, the student can use the same Voiceover gestures to move to the next or previous character to edit her writing.
Troubleshooting Tip. If the virtual keyboard is not visible when using Voiceover on the iPad (known as hiding the keyboard), use a single finger double tap on the bottom right side of the screen to make it visible.