Using Technology to Help Students Edit Written Work

Speech-language pathologists spend much of their written language instruction time having students construct compound and complex sentences, develop pre-writing strategies, and write a variety of paragraphs.  One area that can sometimes fall by the wayside is editing written work. It’s a time-consuming process that students don’t enjoy – I mean, who does?

One strategy I use with my students is to have them read what they have written aloud to me.  However, students who are not avid readers or have dyslexia, try to avoid this step.

I’ve found the new speech engine on Apple iPads (all except the original iPad) to be very helpful in this process. You can activate it to read what you have written (text-to-speech) by simply going to the Settings app, choose Accessibility, and then tapping on ‘Speak Selection’ to turn it on.  You can highlight any text and tap on “Speak” to hear your selection read to you.

In addition, if students have not mastered the art of typing, they can have their Apple device (iPhones and iPads) type for them.  To do this click on the microphone located next to the space bar and speak what you would like to write.  It’s not always perfect, and you will have to edit mistakes, but it does cut down on some of the typing drudgery. I’ve found it helps if you do short selections at a time rather than long passages to allow time to formulate what they would like to say.  I like to use students’ graphic organizers, to reduce the formulation time when dictating.

I’m amazed at the advancements being made in technology and in awe when students can use it to make difficult tasks a little easier.