How do you provide feedback to your students? Do you send them emails with feedback? Do you fill out a report card with descriptive feedback? Here’s a final question and I’ll get to my point! How fast is your typing?
Typing down all the comments in any application can be time consuming for teachers and perhaps frustrating if your typing speed is below average. According to a study done at Cambridge University, the average typing speed is 52 words per minute (Dhakal, 2018). If our speed falls below this number, why not use a shortcut?
There are many applications that can transform your speech to text. However, the simplest way is probably deploying the same application you use for writing your comments. Explore the tool bar or the “tools” tab, and you will find a feature where you can dictate words and the application will type them for you. If you take a look at your phone’s keyboard, you will recognize a microphone icon next to the chat box. If you check Microsoft Word or PowerPoint, at the top right of the tabs ribbon, you will see the tab named “Dictate.” This feature is also available in Google Drive under the Tools tab, where it is named “Voice Typing.”
To check the credibility of this method, I started using text to speech applications myself before suggesting it to others. In fact, I have typed this post using the dictate option in Microsoft Word. You may need to consider the clarity of your utterance and slow down a bit for the machine to do the transformation.
One of the issues you may face is including punctuation marks, but don’t underestimate the intelligence behind these gadgets! When I say “period,” I see a period at the end of my sentence. The same process happens when saying “question mark” or “comma.” Nevertheless, you will see some downfalls, especially when it comes to homophones. Therefore, you may spend a bit of time editing your text after you’re done.
The bottom line is you will rest your wrist, speak as if you are talking to your students and providing oral feedback, and give typing a break for a change! But if you face a large amount of editing, this method might not be suitable for longer texts.
Have you tried dictate tools? Or would you consider trying them? Let us know what you think.
Dhakal, F. (2018). Observations on Typing from 136 Million Keystrokes. Proceedings of the 2018 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, 1–12. https://doi.org/10.1145/3173574.3174220