A Cool Tool for Homeschool, or Any School

October 19, 2008

Homeschool

Most homeschools integrate technology into their “classroom” much faster than public schools. That’s one of the beauties of homeschooling– you don’t have to wait for all that bureaucratic red tape to finally roll through before you can switch from Mac to Microsoft, or whatever. I have tried to utilize technology in our lessons as needed. Starting in elementary school, the kids had to learn how to make electronic book reports, use PaintShopPro for making graphics, use music software to record and edit their instrument playing, and work with video files to create movies.

By high school, I emphasize the classic topics of logic and rhetoric. We go on research binges with a quest for learning about something new, watch debates, have our own debates using the data we’ve derived, and present it to each other. I want the children to be excellent writers AND speakers, just like my hero– that orator extraordinaire– Patrick Henry. Boy, that man could present oratory!

Oration skills take lots of practice. The kids’ first oral books reports were, well… not Patrick Henry-esque, let’s say that much. They’ve improved, but I don’t think they’re up there with the House of Burgesses yet, lol. So we practice. I’m looking for ways to make it fun as well as productive. It would be very beneficial for a child to see his spoken words (re: realize how boring the words he uses really are) before he can begin to improve.

So this is what makes me think of Dragon Naturally Speaking, a speech-recognition software program that would be PERFECT for any classroom environment. I took the typing test (45 wpm, ugh! Click here to check out Dragon’s typing speed test!) and I see that DNS would definitely be a plus where I’m concerned, lol! But this software would be incredibly benefical for students and lecturers alike, both as a tool for completing projects like reports or transcribing research data, and as a self-improvement tool for improving oral skills and diction. There are some rave

I have heard of some educators getting grants from their school districts, for using this software in their classrooms. It’s definitely worth checking out! This is a very versatile program.

You know, I think Dragon Naturally Speaking would also come in handy for my “lectures” moments– moments when I am expounding on theology or history and suddenly hit a vein, a really inspired vein that would probably bring in thousands of adoring fans if ONLY I could get it transcribed for the masses!!!! 😀 lol. Well, I’d use it to improve and speed up my blogging, anyway.
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