A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this app.
What parents need to know
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
DRAGON ANYWHERE opens a blank document with a red microphone button in the bottom-right corner. Kids tap and hold the microphone until it turns green and then begin recording text in complete sentences. While the microphone is green, kids can also speak commands to edit what they've written. Commands include formatting (bold, italics, underline) and correcting. You can find a list of possible voice commands by clicking the three-line menu in the top-left corner of the screen. Kids can also access the on-screen keyboard by clicking the icon in the bottom-left corner of the screen. Once kids have completed a text, they can share it as a Microsoft Word document, a PDF, or the body of an email. Users can also add words to the user dictionary (also available by clicking the three-line menu at the top left).
Is it any good?
Bottom line? For kids who struggle with writing, this tool might be worth its monthly price tag, but it also has some less kid-friendly features. To be fair, this app wasn't designed with kids in mind; it's meant for adults in business settings. For the most part, during our review, the dictation software accurately captured the text, spelled words that were tricky -- including homophones -- and easily shared the document via email. Although the text commands are helpful, they sometimes don't work accurately. Younger kids may need adult help to reread their writing and ensure they've only captured what they've wanted since Dragon Anywhere doesn't check spelling automatically. It also doesn't automatically capture punctuation, so as kids type, they need to speak commas and periods. This can be both empowering as kids learn what their speech looks like visually on a page and frustrating as it breaks up the flow of what they want to write. The dictation features are only available within its own platform, meaning kids won't be able to use the software to complete fields elsewhere using their device (on a website, in an email or a text message, and so on).
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the importance of editing before submitting formal writing either using Dragon Anywhere or not. Think of examples when a mistake might be silly (a misspelling or poor word choice) and examples of when it might be more costly (being passed over for an interview for college or job).
Gauge how helpful dictation software is to your kid. What's easier about speaking your ideas instead of writing or typing? What's more challenging?
- Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android
- Subjects: Language & Reading: speaking, writing, writing clearly
- Skills: Communication: conveying messages effectively
Tech Skills: digital creation, using and applying technology
- Price: Free
- Pricing structure: Free to try (one-week free trial and then subscription-based)
- Subscription price: $15 per month
- Release date: November 15, 2016
- Category: Education
- Size: 39.20 MB
- Publisher: Nuance Communications
- Version: 1.0.7
- Minimum software requirements: 8.1
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.