We want to remove any barriers to learning, make reading, writing and spelling as easy as possible. When the cognitive load is reduced, it makes it easier for children to fully engage in reading and writing.

I’m always looking for creative solutions to help my clients and have just come across this new app that all the reviews indicate as being invaluable. I was intrigued, so I downloaded a copy for 99 cents US. On their website, it is listed as $2.99 AUD.

The idea is that you just speak what you want spelled into the app and it converts it to a written form. In the past I’ve been frustrated with voice to text applications, they never seemed to understand my accent.

However, I’m delighted to see that technology has moved on and not only can it understand my accent, but appears to be able to handle a variety of other accents and languages.

I’ve found it easy to use and understand – it would take just a short time for children to master using it. I did find that it hung up once, and seemed very sensitive to background noise, it kept telling me to “try again” when it couldn’t read the noise as speech. When I moved to a quieter place, it worked perfectly – so perhaps working with miked earphones might be wise in noisier settings.

The developer, Jason Castelano is being interviewed here by Education Technology Solutions:

The app has been developed in Australia, and at the moment it can be set for Australian, UK and US English, it has also includes 23 other languages. A language translation feature is available only in iOS – that would be very helpful for ESL students.

The Easy Spelling app can be modified to have no writing lines (with several options for the colour background), or 2,  and  4 lines. Along with font styles for each state of Australia, it also includes Noto Sans and a dyslexia font.

Not only can children check their spelling, they can also dictate a sentence at a time. It recognised individual words as I spoke them but didn’t include punctuation or capitalization. Once an entry is complete, the word or sentence is read out aloud by the app.

I can certainly see this would be a boon to children with reading and spelling difficulties, and free up their thinking to allow more room for expanding their thoughts and ideas, allowing greater creativity. I’m looking forward to using it in my clinic, and I’ll update you with the results.