Thank You HP!
The following text is from Jennifer Ring, a class facilitator at the Wisconsin Women's Business Initiative Corporation, who used voice recognition software on HP's tablet PC to provide real-time dictation to her hearing-impaired students. This non-profit organization was the recipient of an HP Micro Enterprise Acceleration Program grant in 2004.
WWBIC facilitates a twelve-session business development series in Kenosha, Wisconsin called Small Biz. This series is offered in collaboration with the Southeast Wisconsin Regional Small Business Development Partnership. In our current class, there are three participants with hearing impairments who utilize an interpreter who types everything said in the class and projects it on a large computer screen for the students to read.
During one of our first sessions, the interpreter was ill and a replacement was unavailable. As such, the non-hearing students spent the first hour of class without any interpreter. As the class facilitator, I tried to quickly write everything I said on the white board. This was a terrible situation that I never wanted repeated.
After that evening, I thought back to our HP tablet training. During that class, we learned about the voice recognition application of our tablets. I began to see a great utility for it in communicating with my deaf students. The snowy weekend following the interpreter mishap at Small Biz, I purchased a headset with microphone and began training my tablet to take accurate dictation from me. Due to my heavy Midwestern accent, I needed to complete all of the training sessions offered in the tutorial. Some of the tutorial was highly amusing at times, particularly during The War of the Worlds section; but, by the end, "the system" understood me quite well with a high degree of accuracy.
At the following Small Biz session, I met the class at the Kenosha Public Library to take a tour of its business resources and get to know the librarians. Since the interpreter's equipment is not mobile, the deaf participants were again faced with severe hindrances in communication. But, this time I had a solution! I facilitated that night's class wearing my headset and microphone, taking dictation directly into a Word document with enlarged font size. One of my deaf students held my tablet and read along. Both the deaf participants and I felt that this was a tremendous success! (The interpreter even commented that she worried she would be put out of business with this new technology.)
Since that class, I have also experimented with the dictation function by projecting my words through our HP digital projector onto a screen in the classroom. Again, this seems to really be working well. It is so great to have the ability to work more effectively with entrepreneurs with disabilities who approach WWBIC for assistance.
This technology is absolutely amazing, and I can not express enough appreciation to HP for this opportunity. Thank you!