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Voice recognition for students

 

Words Worldwide specialises in providing support, equipment and training to schools and individual students and families in voice recognition and speech synthesis technology.

 

Voice recognition systems for use by students

 

The technology

Voice recognition technology enables a user to control a computer and to dictate text and data by voice in a natural voice.

Students who are new to the technology and need to have their confidence built or who need to develop speech skills can make use of special support software such as KeyStone SpeechTutor. Text-to-speech systems can further assist in reading back text as it is dictated or after sections of text have been completed.


Available systems

There are two main commercial systems available. These are:

1. Dragon NaturallySpeaking (DNS) from Nuance
2. Microsoft's voice recognition system supplied inclusive with their Windows 7 and Vista operating systems.

DNS is supplied in several versions. The two most appropriate versions for use by students are:

• Premium
• Professional

The Premium version provides all the facilities that students will need to use voice recognition on personal desktop and laptop computers for word processing and most programs that they are likely to use.

The Professional version allows voice recognition to be used over networks and gives more powerful control over virtually all programs that a student is likely to use.

Microsoft's voice recognition program is supplied inclusively with their latest operating systems. A support program such as KeyStone SpeechTutor is advisable to assist in gaining familiarity with the program because the software is generally less user-friendly than DNS.


Microphones

DNS is supplied with a medium-performance microphone with audio connectors. It is advised to obtain a higher quality microphone for use with the program, this having a USB adaptor or direct USB connection, especially when using a laptop.

Purchase of a suitable microphone is necessary if the Microsoft system is used.


Purchase by individuals

There are two ways of reducing costs of students acquiring the technology.

First, an educational licence is available for those in full-time or part-time education. This is available through the purchase of the educational version of DNS Premium. The product can only be activated for use if acceptable details are provided through the Nuance on-line verification system: these comprise details of the student's school and personal identification.

Second, VAT can zero-rated if an individual requires the technology to assist in overcoming literacy difficulties such as dyslexia. A simple declaration form needs to be completed at the time of purchase. If other items such as word processing software and computer hardware are purchased at the same time as the voice recognition equipment, the entire purchase can be zero-rated.


Licence arrangements

Unlike products such as Microsoft Word where a single licence allows any number of users to access the software on a specific machine, DNS is licensed to a single user on any number of machines. Therefore, if a school purchases a single copy of DNS it should strictly only be used for a single student or teacher. Unless that copy is registered for use by a specific student, the full licence should be obtained rather than the educational licence.

In practice, if a school uses a single-licence copy of DNS on a single machine to allow different students and teachers to try out the product, this is acceptable under the licence arrangements. However, regular use by more than one teacher or student on a single machine is technically in breach of the licence arrangements. Also, single-user copies must not be copied for use on more than one machine unless it is for a specific user alone.

There are no restrictions on the use of the Microsoft voice recognition system.

 

Purchase by schools

Schools can benefit from the purchase of multi-user licences,

The classroom licence permits an unlimited number of students and teachers to use DNS Professional on up to five machines at a significantly reduced price. The school licence extends that arrangement to up to 100 machines. The main benefit of DNS Professional is that it allows networking of the voice recognition facility.

No microphones are provided with the multi-licensed versions of DNS and must be purchased separately.


Further information

Visit Worlds Worlwide' web site www.wordsworldwide.co.uk for more information or contact us by email at sales@wordsworldwide.co.uk.


© Words Worldwide Limited May 2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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