Monday, April 29, 2013

Use Your Voice To Keep Your Counselor Notes!

I'm still (actively) on my quest to keep paperless counselor notes.  Previously, I shared how I used Google Docs and my trusty iPad  to keep track of the students that I see daily.  So my wheels have be steadily spinning on what other options can be used to keep paperless counselor notes.  So here's my next "discovery" (if you want to call it that) on keeping (somewhat) paperless counselor notes.

Dragon Dictation is a free (my favorite price) app that converts speech into text, which means you simply just talk and Dragon turns what you say into written text!  Dragon is also available to use on computers (but you'll have to purchase the software).

So how did I use Dragon to keep track of my counselor notes?  Well, I decided to do a 2 week "Dragon Counselor Note Challenge" where I was to keep track of my counselor notes on Dragon for 2 weeks and share my experience with you.  Before I get started with my review, I'll share that #1, I did keep paper notes (as I've always done before going paperless) for the 2 weeks and #2 I have some prior experience with using Dragon from my high school teaching days (this was a unit that we covered in my class).   So here goes...

Each day, I keep a list of what I do each day in my personalized school counselor notebook.  I created this daily template myself where I record which students I've seen, parents called, classes visited, to do list, reminders and general daily info (nothing too detailed).  At the end of each day during my Dragon Challenge, I simply read my day to Dragon to record my notes.

Now to use Dragon, you must speak EXACTLY like you want Dragon to "type" it into text, meaning that you have to literally dictate punctation, spacing, etc.  So if I were to say today is: Monday, April 5th, 2013.  I would need to say it like this today is (colon) Monday (comma) April 5th (comma) two thousand thirteen (period).  For a list of commands for Dragon, click here.

Here's how using it on your iPad works:
Open the app and simply tap on the plus symbol, which means new note (at the top right corner) then the" tap and dictate" button.  Then talk away!

Ready to record!

Once you're finished talking you'll see what you said as text.  You can also type and correct misspelled words and/or type more info as needed (you'll see the keyboard at the bottom where you can type).

What's said is quickly & easily turned into text!  Notice the keyboard below the screenshot, this is where you can type and edit what was converted into text.  

You can email your notes to yourself or someone else or copy and paste the notes into a word document that you just add to each day.

So what's my take on the challenge?  Well I liked using Dragon, but it still doesn't quite make me want to switch from my paperless student notes through Google Docs.  But I do like the convenience for me to give myself quick voice reminders.  You could talk about your day as the day progresses, you would just have to remember to record your memo, that would be the tough part for me...remembering to record my notes.

Do you use Dragon for your student notes?  I'd love to hear your take on using it for student notes.

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