Big report to type?
Speech Recognition is a great asset if you are a Google Docs user. Students can dictate their sentences and speech recognition puts the text right into your doc. There is no separate app. There is no need to copy and paste text into your document. It works right within Google Docs as an add-on. This works well in scenarios where a student is at home working on a report or off in a quiet area of the room. If whole class attempts to use Speech Recognition simultaneously, the students might get some interesting sentences popping up with all of the commotion going on in the room.
Here is how to get started:
Foreign language application
Another practical application came about a few weeks ago as I was chatting with the French teacher at Angola High School, Deb Blaz. She wanted a tool that would type exactly what someone was saying in French. Not to shortcut the typing process, but for the purpose of pointing out when a student committed a mispronunciation. She had a group of students that didn't believe her when she would point out that they were mispronouncing a word or phrase in French. She found Speech Recognition to be helpful as it would not type the intended sentence unless the student pronounced the words correctly. It was much easier for a student to believe they were making mistakes when Speech Recognition couldn't produce the correct word or sentence!
I think Speech Recognition is a great resource. I think it can be extremely helpful for students with all of their typing/writing needs. It is especially useful for students with physical disabilities. However, learning how to type is an essential skill. The only way a student will learn to type is through practice so my suggestion is to use it within reason. Practice typing regularly and maybe use Speech Recognition just at home or when in a time constraint. Reserve it for those large writing projects that students already have written in their writer's notebook.