Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Voice Typing You Can Do

Do you voice type text messages or notes to yourself? Do you ask Alexa, Google Assistant, or Echo to perform commands? Chances are you have at one point or another. 

Welcome to the world of voice controls! 

Our voices are powerful. And with every passing day, they become even more so. Google Docs included the ability to voice type awhile back and I demonstrated this tool to a group of students this past year. It is super easy to learn.

To Voice Type: 
  1. Click on "Tools" in the toolbar
  2. Click "Voice Typing"
  3. The microphone will appear to the far left
  4. Click on it to allow the microphone to listen
  5. Start speaking
  6. Click the microphone to turn it off

Demonstrate this tool to your students, AND encourage them to USE it! This tool was one of the most powerful tools I taught that group of students. They began using it on a daily basis. We noticed the microphone in the Google Search bar and the kids were excited to find out it works there, too! This helped their researching! AND we found we can voice type speaker notes in Slides and them copy and paste them into the Slide as a mini-workaround.

I know what some of you are thinking ... voice typing might "feel" like cheating. But it's NOT! This is where our thinking needs to shift. As a classroom teacher, I had many students who had great thoughts, ideas, and opinions but struggled when it came time to put the pencil to paper. When computers became the "norm" in my classroom, I believed this would help ... and it did ... for some. For others, typing is also a struggle.

Voice typing is not cheating because it requires knowledge of the all technical parts of writing. The punctuation commands you can give to Docs are
  • "period"
  • "comma"
  • "exclamation point"
  • "question mark"
  • "new line"
  • "new paragraph"
... BUT you have to know when to give the commands for them to happen. Or, you will need to come back and add these pieces in afterwards. 

See? Voice typing isn't cheating, it's using the tools available to us! And for some, voice typing breaks down walls and allows their voice to be heard. And did you know we can speak much faster than we can type? Yep, it's true! So it can be a time saver for you.

For additional commands you can use with Voice Typing, please read "Type with your voice" on the Google Docs Help site.

Want To Go One Step Further?

Pair voice typing with an extension that reads it BACK to the student. It can help teach students to speak clearer because it will repeat what it heard. There are many extensions out there ... the one I had in the original post no longer works, so we've switched to the Read Aloud extension. The idea is the same. Select text - in this case, the text your student just voice typed - and click the extension, then listen. 

This extension is also wonderful for many other purposes beyond listening to voice typing. It will work on basically all webpages - anywhere you can select text. Try it, 

I promise, you won't be disappointed!


  1. How would it work with a whole class using it? I was just wondering if it would pick up words with everyone speaking. Obviously it has a range but would the students need to be separated out as opposed to sitting at a group of desks.

    1. That's a VERY good question! When I've shown it to students, I preface it all with RESPECT for classmates and I raise & lower my voice to demonstrate "regular" volume vs. leaning in close to their chromebook & lower their voice - almost to a whisper - and it will still "hear" you. They really respond to the idea of respecting themselves & others. The chromebooks we have pick up their voices REALLY well!