Most experts predict that speech recognition will grow from 45% to 82% accurate by 2020. Hence, it looks like nothing can stop this technology from becoming a worldwide phenomenon that touches millions of lives. So then, what about its integration into the classroom? How can such a technology that we have all grown to use and rely on, move into other sectors and how will it perform there?
Speech recognition, also known as speech-to-text or voice recognition, is a technology that helps in recognising speech, allowing your voice to act as an interface between yourself and the machine. Here’s a look at what the current trend is and how speech-recognition techniques can help students with learning.
Speech recognition has excellent potential as being a medium that significantly helps students with physical and learning disabilities and is now being used effectively in schools all around the world. As the technology improves, many issues that earlier plagued its usages such as accuracy and expense are slowly being removed, allowing for its use on a large-scale. Both Microsoft and Apple have been investing heavily in this field and have several applications that run on their operating systems that facilitate this feature.
Speech recognition vs Speech-to-Text
While both refer to technologies that translate spoken language into text or turn commands into actions while using a device, there are subtle differences between the two which for the most part can be avoided as they deal with the programming and electronics that go into manufacturing them and hence does not bother a user. Voice recognition, on the other hand, refers to a broader spectrum that covers products that recognise a specific voice to products used in call centres that identify individual words. Hence, the terms of speech recognition and voice recognition may be used interchangeably without any detrimental effects.
Such programs have several applications for users with and without disabilities. Some of them are:
- Help boost efficiency
- Provide hands-free functionality
- Alternate access for individuals with physical impairments
- Foreign language learning and teaching
- Products for the blind
- Voice-activated dialling
- Integrated voice commands
- Dictate notes
- Transcribe important information
- Navigation systems
It can significantly help the following groups of people:
- Learning disabilities including dyslexia
- Strain injuries, such as carpal tunnel syndrome and tennis elbow
- Limited motor skills
- Vision impairments
- Physical limitations ( Loss of limb)
- Limited vocabulary and understanding of a language
It has proven to be highly effective with students suffering from learning disabilities as it has led to :
- improved access to the computer
- Improved clarity of thought
- increase in writing speed and clarity
- increased independence
- decreased anxiety
- overall improvement in language comprehension
By removing physical barriers associated with writing and navigation of the device, such technology helps increase the access that students with disabilities have to classroom activities.
For students suffering from learning disabilities, speech recognition technology helps encourage writing that is fast and efficient. Studies have indicated that input via speech proves to be less challenging and that students fare better in exams when they have the liberty to convert their speech to text.
Speech recognition technologies help reduce the difficulties faced by students when attempting to write. Several studies have proven that students write faster and more efficiently when they use such technology as it removes the challenges associated with the mechanics of handwriting. It eliminates issues such as illegibility or lack of clarity arising out of differences in writing. Students tend to skip words with complicated spelling, leading to works that are short and less informative. These concerns are alleviated by using such technology, and hence students have a chance to submit works that are truly reflective of their ability.
For students with disabilities, reduced motor skills or learning disabilities, a transcriber is not very effective as they tend to be slow and prone to making errors. Also, a transcriber makes the student dependent on a secondary individual, but this problem is completely removed with the help of such technology. Students who use humans for writing admit that they get less time to plan their answers as they feel bad keeping their transcriber waiting and also that they do feel embarrassed needing help to write. By using speech-to-text tools, such students get to be independent and also gives them an opportunity to correct their errors more independently.
In addition to allowing students to be independent, speech recognition also will enable them to calm down thereby reducing their anxiety. Spelling errors can be avoided, and editing also becomes a lot easier, allowing them to finish their work with ease, thus, creating a better environment for them to grow and learn.
All of these are benefits that students can avail by switching to speech-to-text technologies. As is clearly visible, such technology has the power to disrupt the education sector by vastly improving the performance of students from all walks of life.