Speech Recognition: Instead of Typing and Clicking, Talk and Command
Willis, William, T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)
Why should educators care about speech recognition technology? One reason is that it will eventually be so widespread as to be practically inescapable. From IVR (Interactive Voice Response) systems that include "homework hotlines," where parents call in to check their student's progress or schedule appointments with teachers, to speech therapy software such as IBM's Speech Viewer, speech recognition technology is already making inroads into the educational environment.
While the technology certainly exists to bring speech recognition into the classroom, there are many obstacles that must still be overcome. To understand these problems and better appreciate the benefits this technology brings, a little background is in order.(*)
Voice and speech recognition has been around since the early 1970's, when research was conducted on these technologies at DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency). While commercial applications existed in the 80's and early 90's, they were cost and technology prohibitive. Today's technology, though, has brought voice and speech recognition out of the laboratories, once and for all.
However, some of the problems that plagued early pioneers attempting to enable consistent, reliable speech recognition still remain. For example, every person speaks differently, with various noises or disturbances in their speech. Pausing, clearing the throat, coughing or using sounds like "uh," "um" and "ah" all conspire to send the "listening" computer into confusion. Fast talkers tend to run their words together even more than speakers with normal pacing. Quite often there is background noise that "pollutes" incoming voice signals, making it difficult for the computer to accurately identify sounds. And, many words sound alike, putting the burden of understanding meaning onto the computer -- which is natural language processing (NLP), where computers not only recognize speech, but understand what those words mean.
All of these challenges have been met to some extent, as a look at current speech recognition products will verify. But before we look at what's available, we should understand the types of speech recognition systems that …
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Publication information: Article title: Speech Recognition: Instead of Typing and Clicking, Talk and Command. Contributors: Willis, William - Author. Journal title: T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education). Volume: 25. Issue: 6 Publication date: January 1998. Page number: 18+. © 2009 1105 Media, Inc. COPYRIGHT 1998 Gale Group.
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