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Aussie school goes high-tech

School opts for voice recognition desktops

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Kids restocking their pencil cases with new pens at the beginning of a school term could soon be a dying sight. At least in one school Down Under, where voice recognition technology is now on the curriculum.

According to a report by the Sydney Morning Herald (SMH), the privately funded Queenwood School for Girls, Sydney is installing voice recognition technology onto 500 desktop computers. The aim is to let teachers provide pupils with word-for-word class notes. Teachers will also use the technology to produce school reports from their spoken notes.

Queenwood has trialled the technology since April; and James Harper, deputy principal at the school, told the SMH that older students would use the voice recognition desktops on a daily basis.

But, John Bennett, the general manager of the Office of the Board of Studies, added that some Australian schools may allow pupils to use computers in exams over the next five years, although he kept mum about exactly which technologies pupils might use.

“We are looking at the possibility of using computers more widely in public examinations,” he said. However, he stressed that certain issues need to be resolved first, such as security.

So, perhaps teachers will have to check a pupil's SD cards for notes before exams, rather than their pencil case.

In Japan, the Tokyo Joshi Gakuen all-girls school already allows students to use the Nintendo DS for English vocabulary, penmanship and audio comprehension lessons. Some students at the US Fort Summer High School, New Mexico even watch educational videos and listen to lectures on Zune players donated by Microsoft.

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