I had filed the experience away until a writer whose work and work ethic I admire greatly (Jonathan Maberry) posted on FB that he'd had his hand bitten by a dog, and, knowing how much he writes day to day, I replied that he should consider Google Voice Typing.
Having seen my reply, another writer got in touch and asked me some great questions about it, and when I'd answered his questions, it occurred to me that I should share my thoughts here.
Last year, while still working in a Special Education classroom, I used Google Voice Typing to great effect, both personally and with a select group of my students.
In general, I like the feedback and pacing of typing by hand, although anyone watching me type tends to cringe and gnash their teeth, watching me type mostly with four fingers and one thumb.
I had a couple of students who were hampered in their writing output by motor control or speed, lack of familiarity with the keyboard, or discomfort with the level of multitasking required when typing and thinking; for them, Voice Typing seemed like the perfect answer.
It's not perfect. It can be frustrating for people to use in the beginning, and the final product requires some checking for formatting, word selection, capitalization, but I found it incredibly useful with some of my students. Some were able to increase their writing output in a forty minute period from a sentence or two to hundreds of words, and the freedom/relief/release they felt was miraculous.
The Voice Typing tool can be found in the 'Tools' dropdown menu, and is the sixth item down, conveniently marked with a microphone icon. To use it you need a computer with access to the Internet, a Google Drive account, and a microphone.
I found that while I could use the built-in microphone in my computer, my students struggled with it, and the use of a headset reduced frustration, increased clarity, and made the whole process move more quickly and smoothly.
this microphone headset with a USB plug, which worked perfectly with all of the computers in my room; my students were quickly comfortable with the headset, and appreciated how they blocked outside noise, and helped them focus on their work.
The key is for each person to find the best pace and volume for them to speak, allowing the hardware and software to get as many words as quickly as is possible. People will still have to go back through their finished documents for punctuation, word choice, and the like, but Google has provided a guide to help users get the most out of Google Voice Typing.
If you have further questions, please get in touch with through the comments on this blog, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org