[Athen] Dragon Dictate for MAC for Chemistry homework

Shelley Haven ShelleyHaven at techpotential.net
Wed Mar 13 17:53:15 PDT 2019

Please forgive the long post — I’m suddenly full of ideas. ;-)

As Wink mentioned, Nuance no longer supports Dragon Dictate for Mac, nor do they sell it. However, if you already have or purchase their last versions (v5 and v6) and install the last updates provided by Nuance, the software still works with macOS 10.12 & 10.13 (Sierra & High Sierra), but only somewhat works with macOS 10.14 (Mohave).

Why this might be helpful: you can create your own dictation macros in Dragon for Mac using Manage Commands… (under the Dragon icon in the Mac's main menu bar). Specify the app in which your new commands will work (or specify “Global”), click + to add a new command, then enter the Command Name (what the user will say) and define what will happen as a result. That “what will happen” can be as simple as entering a series of keystrokes to running an AppleScript or an Automator Workflow.

So for example, if I wanted to type the formula for sulfuric acid into Apple Pages, I would use the following keystrokes:
Cmd-Ctrl-minus sign (to get subscripted text)
Cmd-Ctrl-minus sign (to un-subscript)
Cmd-Ctrl-minus sign
Cmd-Ctrl-minus sign

I could enter these keystrokes into a macro called “sulphuric acid”, and every time I spoke that phase, the correctly-formatted formula would be typed. (BTW, I just tried this to make sure it works — it does!)

You can take a similar approach with the Dictation Commands utility built into macOS (System Preferences > Accessibility > Dictation Commands). Click + to create a new command, name the command (When I say:), then select Paste Text (under Perform:) and paste a text string you’ve previously created in Pages, Word, etc., complete with subscripts and the like. (Again, I just tried this, too, and it works!)

You might consider using either of these methods to create text strings for the most common elements plus the most commonly-used molecules and formulas (O2, water, various acids and alkalines, benzene, other organic compounds — go wild!). For the Dictation Commands approach, I find it easiest to type a page of these macro formulas first (complete with subscripts, etc.), making it easy to copy-and-paste these into the Paste Text box. (Tip: type that original page of formulas using the same app the student will use for dictating the macros.)

You might also consider using either approach with the math and science entry software by Efofex.com <http://efofex.com/> — FX Chem, FX ChemStruct, and FX Equation. (FX ChemStruct <https://www.efofex.com/fxchemstruct.php> actually draws the chemical structures!) Again, you would need to first create individual speech macros by entering the series of keystrokes needed to type the desired formulas, etc. (Be aware that Efofex’s tools use their own unique entry methods.)

Will this take some time and effort to set up? Of course. But depending on the complexity of the chemistry course being taken, a carefully-selected combination of chemistry symbols, common formulas, and some formula fragments shouldn’t take too long, but would provide the student with an adequate speech macro library from which to dictate chemistry homework.

Good luck!
- Shelley

Shelley Haven ATP, RET
Assistive Technology Consultant

> On Mar 13, 2019, at 4:10 PM, foreigntype <foreigntype at gmail.com> wrote:


> Hi Jill et al ATHENites


> Nuance has dropped all support for the Dragon Dictate for Mac. Don't know if Apple is moving forward with a suitably robust dictation software on their own or not.


> There is a software combo that works well for dictation in math. I force Dragon to do all kinds of things it wasn't necessarily designed to do, but dictating chemistry is not on the "approved list" for sure.


> You might contact Nancilu McClellan at Metroplex Voice Computing to see how feasible it would be to use Math Talk & Scientific Notebook with Dragon NS. Only works on Windows as far as I know. But it *might* work!. Here's a link to their website.

> https://mathtalk.com/


> Wink Harner



> Sent from my Samsung Galaxy smartphone.


> -------- Original message --------

> From: Jill Heilman <heilmanj at lafayette.edu>

> Date: 3/13/19 2:30 PM (GMT-08:00)

> To: athen-list at u.washington.edu

> Subject: [Athen] Dragon Dictate for MAC for Chemistry homework


> Hello - I am new to posting to the group for questions. I am new to assisting students with the dictation software. I have a student who would like to use Dragon Dictate for MAC to complete Chemistry homework. Does Dragon Dictate allow students to dictate chemistry equations or is there a software that is compatible with Dragon Dictate for MAC that allows you to do Chemistry equations and Math Equations.


> Appreciate any information you could provide.


> Thanks,

> Jill

> --

> Jill Heilman


> Associate Director


> Academic Resource Hub


> Lafayette College ~ 312 Scott Hall


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