App review by Dana Villamagna, Common Sense Education | Updated September 2012
Dragon Dictation
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Dragon Dictation

Empowers kids to express themselves, but accuracy is limited

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Learning rating
Editorial review by Common Sense Education
Community rating
Based on 8 reviews
Privacy rating
Not yet rated Expert evaluation by Common Sense
Grades
2–12
Subjects & Skills
English Language Arts, Communication & Collaboration, Creativity

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Pros: Great way for struggling writers to jumpstart an essay.

Cons: Accuracy issues means speaking clearly is a must.

Bottom Line: Easy-to-use dictation app can help students improve speaking and writing, but they’ll have to watch for and fix mistakes.

In the classroom, some educators have noted that Dragon Dictation can be a useful tool for communication, especially for kids with limited fine motor skills or other special needs. Kids with limited writing abilities can use Dragon Dictation to express their thoughts, complete creative writing projects, and read or share them with others. Going through the process of dictation and revision may help them develop their own writing, spelling, and punctuation skills too. This learning will need facilitation since there aren’t any formal lessons in communication or writing skills, and without it kids may let mistakes slide. 

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Dragon Dictation allows users to record and send written text in dozens of languages via email, Facebook, Twitter, SMS, or cut and paste. Simply tap record, speak, and dictate as many notes as you’d like of up to 60 seconds each. While there’s no formal language instruction, kids can benefit from its use as a tool for writing or assessing speaking. Dragon Dictation may be especially useful for kids with limited ability to write or type or with learning disabilities like dyslexia or dysgraphia.

Since many younger kids may not speak clearly, teachers will need to monitor accuracy. Also, kids need to learn to speak punctuation aloud (e.g., "I like cake period Do you like cake question mark"). If the app misunderstands a word, users can go back to that word, where they’ll be prompted to delete and re-speak or enter the word. Certain letters from some swear words are filtered out like "f--k" and "s--t," but others are not filtered like "hell" and "damn."

In the classroom, some educators have noted that Dragon Dictation can be a useful tool for communication, especially for kids with limited fine motor skills or other special needs. Kids with limited writing abilities can use Dragon Dictation to express their thoughts, complete creative writing projects, and read or share them with others. Going through the process of dictation and revision may help them develop their own writing, spelling, and punctuation skills too. This learning will need facilitation since there aren’t any formal lessons in communication or writing skills, and without it kids may let mistakes slide. 

Overall Rating

Engagement

Clean, intuitive, well-designed user interface makes this app engaging -- unless the app makes too many dictation mistakes.

Pedagogy

Kids learn by viewing their words as they appear on the app in text form. All learning here is experiential. There are no formal lessons. 

Support

The "i" tab at the bottom-right corner of the screen includes tips for best accuracy that parents and teachers will want to read to help kids maximize accuracy. 


Common Sense reviewer
Dana Villamagna Classroom teacher

Community Rating

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Featured review by
Adam C. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
Great for Revision practice, speaking skills, and helping struggling writers.
Dragon is a tool and like any tool, its worth depends on how you use it. Issues with accuracy in dictation have improved over the years. I personally know several individuals with handicaps that rely on Dragon for daily online communication (both personal and business), and it works great for them. Students do need a little warming up to the dictation process, but once they are comfortable, they do well. If you have a purpose behind your use of Dragon, I believe it can be a great tool in your writer ...
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