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For many of us, getting our thoughts down on paper is a challenging task. We often wish we could just say what we’re thinking and it would magically appear on the page. Well, we can! Open a Google Doc (remember our docs new trick!), go to the Tools menu, and choose Voice Typing. A microphone will appear in a pop-up window. Click on that microphone (you may have to allow Google Docs to use the microphone) and start speaking. Google Docs will then type what you are saying.

Now, it’s definitely not perfect, but it will give you a great start on getting those ideas out. You can even change the language above the microphone so it better recognizes what you are saying. In many languages, you can also add punctuation as you go by simply saying the name of the punctuation you want to use when you want to use it (e.g., “period,” “comma,” etc.). Additional editing tools are available in English only, such as selecting and formatting text. You can find those commands by clicking the question mark icon next to the microphone. You can also stop voice typing and edit the document as usual at any time.

I love using voice typing (and having students use it!) to start that first rough draft or to take some initial notes about an idea.

BONUS TIP: There is also a “Translate Document” feature built into the Tools menu in Google Docs (you probably saw it right above the voice typing option). So you can speak (or type) your document in the language that is most comfortable for you, then create a copy that is translated into your target language. This is a great strategy for our English-learners or for communicating with families in our community. Again, it won’t be perfect, but it will help overcome that initial communication hurdle.

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