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Speech as a writing tool: An exploratory study of speech-to-text technology in lower secondary education

This study’s findings reveal that the potential of STT depends on the intended educational aim of introducing the technology. Further, the different aims connected to using STT vary in accordance with which groups of pupils are targeted.

Marianne Engen Matre

PhD Candidate

Marianne Engen Matre will defend her thesis Speech as a writing tool: An exploratory study of speech-to-text technology in lower secondary education 7 February 2024.

Summary of the thesis

Can speech be considered a writing tool? This study demonstrates that STT has potential as a writing approach when used in Norwegian lower secondary education. At the same time, according to the findings, STT provides both opportunities and challenges for pupils with and without writing difficulties. Although this study did not find that STT technology improved the writing-related skills of pupils with writing difficulties, it was ultimately not designed to do so. Rather, this study demonstrates that STT is an alternative approach to writing that is considered by teachers and students who have explored its use to be both feasible and beneficial under certain circumstances. For example, during the initial phases of ideation and transcription, STT provides the opportunity to produce texts using oral skills and to elaborate easily on a topic. The findings also show that STT is currently not a reliable spelling aid in Norwegian because it produces several transcription errors and requires pupils to adapt their dialects to improve accuracy.   

This study’s findings reveal that the potential of STT depends on the intended educational aim of introducing the technology. Further, the different aims connected to using STT vary in accordance with which groups of pupils are targeted. In particular, STT’s potential appears to be partly dependent on whether it is introduced as a remedial or compensatory technology for pupils with writing difficulties or as an instructional or alternative technology, guided by the aim of increase all pupils’ capabilities to produce written content. Thus, a major overriding finding of this project is that the pedagogical goal or aim and target group are important factors that impact STT’s potential as an approach to writing in lower secondary education. This is an important factor in the context of creating inclusive classrooms because teachers must be able to adapt the learning environment to a diverse group of learners and consider their distinct academic and social needs.  

More information about time and place for the doctoral defense.