10 Things to Know Before You Buy Dragon NaturallySpeaking Premium Student/Teacher Edition

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What’s the Difference between Dragon NaturallySpeaking Home and Premium (and Student) Editions? Click here for more info. 

Dragon NaturallySpeaking 12.5 UPDATE

Are you a student or teacher? Are you thinking about getting Dragon NaturallySpeaking? Did you know there’s a student/teacher version which is $100 cheaper than the regular premium edition?

Here are 10 things to know before you buy Dragon NaturallySpeaking Premium Student/Teacher:

1. You can save $100 by buying the education edition.

Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11 Premium Student/Teacher ($99.99 USD) is $100 cheaper than the regular Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11 Premium Version ($199.99 USD).

2.Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11 Premium Student/Teacher edition is the same software that you get in the regular Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11 Premium Version.

That’s because they’re both Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11 Premium. Nuance sells four different editions of their voice-recognition software:

There are some significant differences between these four editions of Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11, but if you’re getting Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11 Premium, then the only thing you have to decide is what accessory you want to have bundled with your software:

3. The Student/Teacher edition is not available at Future Shop, Best Buy or Staples.

We couldn’t find the academic version anywhere. It seems that you can only buy it online from Nuance.

4. When you buy Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11 from Nuance online: yes, you’ll have to pay shipping. No, you won’t have to pay sales tax at the time of purchase. Yes, if you live in Canada you will have to pay custom border fees.

When we ordered the Student/Teacher edition from Nuance online, we only had to pay $99.99 USD for the software, around $19 USD for shipping, and then when the package finally arrived in Ontario, Canada, the custom border fees were around equivalent to the sales tax we would’ve had to pay.

5. Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11 Premium Student/Teacher is only available to qualified staff and students.

Here are some of the terms and conditions to get the academic discount from Nuance:

  1. Full time or part time students enrolled 7 accredited higher or further education institutions including public or private university or college (including community, junior, scientific, technical or vocational college) that grant degrees requiring not less than the equivalent of two (2) years of full time study.
  2. Students 13 years and older enrolled in accredited public or private primary, secondary, vocational or correspondence school providing full time instruction.
  3. Full or part time faculty and staff employed by an accredited higher or further education institution, public or private primary secondary vocational or correspondence school providing full time instruction.

We’re not sure why the terms and conditions state that you have to be 13 years and older. If primary school is the same as elementary school, then are students in grade 6 or 7 who are younger than 13 years old eligible to receive the academic discount? Unfortunately, you’ll have to contact Nuance directly to find out, especially since all sales are “final.”

plus 10 Things to Know Before You Buy Dragon NaturallySpeaking Premium Student/Teacher Edition
Updated Dec 31, 2011:
A lot of educational websites require users to be 13 years or older to comply with (US) privacy legislation. Sometimes students under 13 years old can still sign up for accounts if they have their parent’s consent. For example, Prezi allows students under 13 to sign up with parental consent.

Looking at the bottom of the Education Validation Terms and Conditions page at the bottom of the Dragon NaturallySpeaking website and it looks like any student enrolled in a qualifying (i.e. public or private) K-12 school can get the student version. Students under 18 years old simply have to get a teacher to write a note on school letterhead stating that the student is eligible for the academic discount. In other words, if your child goes to a qualifying school (i.e. a public or private primary, elementary or secondary K-12 school, you should be able to get the student discount on Dragon NaturallySpeaking – see #3 under “How to validate your education status.”

If you also look on the North America Academic Eligibility definition page, under 1c. Acceptable forms of identification (for Individuals), it says the following:

For K-12 students only: when the above listed forms of identification is not available, an official letter from a teacher at the accredited K12 institution verifying the student’s right to order software at academic prices

All sales are final for the student discounted version of Dragon NaturallySpeaking so if you’re a little bit nervous about the 13 years old part on the terms and conditions page, click on that “chat now” pop up window when you’re on the Nuance website to speak with one of their customer service reps, or you can contact Nuance directly from this page

6. If you buy the Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11 Premium Student/Teacher edition, apparently all sales are final.

On their terms and conditions page for student versions of software, it says: “All sales are final. No returns or changes except in the case of damaged and/or defective CD’s. Damaged and/or defective CD’s may be exchanged only.”

Having said that, we recently ordered the student teacher edition online and then canceled and got a full refund. Perhaps it was because we didn’t accept the shipment from the courier at all? Maybe we just got lucky? If you’re thinking about getting the Student/Teacher edition, make sure you qualify for the academic discount. Also, you might want to shop around at your favorite technology stores to make sure you’re getting the best price possible. You may not be able to get a refund like we did.

7. Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11 Premium Student/Teacher edition does not come with a serial code to activate the software.

You have to validate your education status first before they will e-mail you a serial code to unlock the software. (You can use the software 5 times before you need to activate it.) Verification is done by a third-party company (identit-E).

According to Nuance’s terms and conditions, in order to get the academic discount, you will be required to submit one or more of the following:

  • A valid email address that is associated with your accredited education institution.
  • A valid, current student / teacher photo ID card that includes name and date / registration card.
  • Letter or Correspondence* from academic institution confirming EDU status. Confirmation must be on letterhead paper and signed by a lecturer / teacher if you are a student** or by colleague (including contact details) if you are a lecturer / teacher.* Correspondance can be a letter from the school addressed to the pupil at their home address.
    ** Students under 18 are required to complete No 3 as form of validation.

8. Only K -12 students and teachers, and higher education students and faculty can buy Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11 Premium Student/Teacher.

Schools and higher education institutions can still get academic pricing and volume pricing for Dragon NaturallySpeaking, but the rates are different. Click on the price tab on this page.

9. If you think this is more trouble than it’s worth to save a 100 bucks to get the Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11 Premium Student/Teacher edition for $99.99, then you might consider getting the Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11 Home edition for $99.99.

What’s the difference between Dragon Naturally Speaking Home and Premium Versions?

When you look at the comparison chart, at first glance, the major difference between the Home edition and the Premium edition is the ability to dictate into a handheld recorder for later transcription.

However, if you view the feature matrix PDF at the bottom of the chart, there are a few other features that students or teachers might be interested in using in the classroom setting:

  • Do you need to use Dragon in spreadsheet applications like Microsoft Excel?
  • Do you need to use PowerPoint?
  • Do you want to be able to play back your speech in documents to make it easier to correct and edit your work?
  • Would you like to be able to import/export custom word lists and user profiles? (In other words, would you like to be able to import a text document with a list of student names, educational jargon, or specific homework vocabulary that Dragon doesn’t come with.)
  • Would you like to be able to create commands to easily insert frequently used text and graphics? (Instead of copying and pasting, you could just say “insert B+ comment”.)
  • Would you like to go wireless and use a Bluetooth headset?

These features are not available in the Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11 Home edition. If these features are important to you, you’ll have to get the premium version or above.

Another important difference between Dragon Home and Premium versions is that you can’t upgrade from Dragon NaturallySpeaking Home to the other version. The customer support person told me that if you wanted to get NaturallySpeaking Premium later on, you would have to restart your voice profile. In other words, all of the hard work you spent training your Dragon NaturallySpeaking Home profile won’t carry over to Dragon Speak Premium.

10. If you’re thinking about one day going wireless with Dragon, then it’s probably cheaper to get your wireless headset bundled with the software now, rather than buying a Bluetooth headset separately later.

The Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11 Premium Wireless edition costs $299.99. This is $100 more expensive than the regular Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11 Premium version which goes for $199.99. If you buy the Plantronics Calisto Bluetooth headset separately, it costs $149.99. In other words, you save $50 if you get the premium wireless version, instead of buying the regular premium version and adding the headset separately.

We did try the Motorola Bluetooth headset for our cell phone with Dragon NaturallySpeaking, but we found it didn’t work very well. Whenever we tried to read one of the training texts, it kept on asking us to repeat ourselves because it couldn’t understand what we were saying. Whenever we tried to dictate into a document, it took forever to try to figure out what we were saying, and then it misunderstood anyways.

Nuance does have a hardware compatibility chart on their website, which rates different Bluetooth and USB headsets on how well they work with Dragon NaturallySpeaking. When we were researching Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11 premium, we tried to see if we could get one of those headsets in town. Unfortunately, Future Shop, Best Buy, and Staples didn’t carry any of the Nuance-certified Bluetooth headsets listed in their compatibility chart. There were some retailers near Toronto, but if we were going to order headsets online anyway, then it would be just easier to get it from Nuance in their premium wireless version.

To be honest, we were a little bit nervous with shelling out so much money for Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11 Premium Wireless, but it’s kind of cool talking to your computer and not being attached to it. We haven’t had any problems with the Plantronics Calisto headset that came bundled with the software, and were happy to see that it got 4 out of 5 stars in the hardware compatibility chart.

No matter what version of Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11 you decide to get, make sure you shop around to make sure you’re getting the best price. If you do shop online, please make sure you read carefully all the information on their websites because sales come and go and prices change. We would hate for you to have buyers remorse and software can be tricky to return.

This post was written using Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11 Premium Wireless 10 Things to Know Before You Buy Dragon NaturallySpeaking Premium Student/Teacher Edition.
  • There are 1571 words in this post. Dragon made 33 word errors. So, we had an accuracy of 97.9% in this document.
  • If you include punctuation and capitalization errors, Dragon made an additional 13 punctuation and capitalization errors. So, we had an accuracy of 97.1 % in this document.

{ 36 comments… add one }

  • Matt January 13, 2012, 8:24 PM

    Thanks for your amazingly detailed response! Did you dictate that with Dragon? I will respond to your question in greater detail when I have some more experience with DNS. I had Dragon Dictate for a few weeks, , but it never worked as I had hoped it would. So, I returned it. A few days later, I came across a website for a company called KnowBrainer, and I had a conversation with the the owner, who advised me to try DNS.

    Now I have DNS, and I am trying to figure out how to use it. I had hoped to use it it to dictate the comments I make in text boxes that I place in the margins of student papers (I collect them in PDF form). But DNS does not play well with PDFs, and the program I am experimenting with (BluBeam) is tricky to figure out.

    Thus, I am not completely sure how I am going to use DNS. All I can think of now is that the time is running out on my 30 day trial!

    I would love to hear more from you or your readers about how they use DNS. I think there is great potential, but I am unsure of how to tap into it.

    • classroomtechnology January 13, 2012, 9:24 PM

      Hi Matt, I typed the comment this time and only dictated the small portion towards the end in the dictation box. (In general, I only dictate the drafts of the blog posts on this site and then use a keyboard to edit and modify formatting for SEO.)

      BlueBeam PDF looks interesting (I’m watching the video now.) – I’m always looking for ways to streamline my own marking process so being able to mark up text on the PC is interesting. (Usually I use my iPad and that’s a little cumbersome.)

      I’m not surprised that Dragon Naturally Speaking doesn’t play well with PDFs. If you don’t get that green checkmark in the dragonbar, Dragon Naturally Speaking really doesn’t work well at all. (Actually, to be perfectly honest, I find it only works best (in terms of speed and accuracy) in it’s native dictation box and DragonPad.)

      When you create the text boxes in the margins, can you not simply click in your textbox on BlueBeam, and then have Dragon Naturally Speaking open up a side dictation box window for you to dictate in, and then transfer your comment into BlueBeam? The Revu video says that BlueBeam has voice recognition as well, so I’m not sure whether that would conflict with Dragon. My money would be that Dragon Naturally Speaking is more accurate in terms of word recognition since that’s their core product, (as opposed to an add-on feature in BlueBeam PDF Revu.)

      Maybe I’ll see if there’s a trial version of the Bluebeam PDF Revu software to check out how to make it more efficient with Dragon Naturally Speaking.

      Out of curiosity, how do you collect your student work in PDF form? Are they printing their documents as home as PDFs and submitting that electronically to you, or are they handing in a paper copy of their work and then you’re bulk scanning it into a PDF through a photocopier or some other device. My problem is that students submit a word document, but I couldn’t find an easy way to batch convert them into PDFs with a filename stamp in the footer. What do you do? Thanks for your feedback. Cheers, Kisu.

  • Mark January 14, 2012, 6:32 AM

    I am really bad at writing notes in a lecture type class. I was wondering if using a digital recorder and then having Dragon Naturally Speaking write it out. Would this work? I know I would have to do some editing. Other than that is this program able to reconize other voices and process their words with out messing up the setup I would have?

  • classroomtechnology January 14, 2012, 12:10 PM

    Hi Mark, Dragon Naturally Speaking really doesn’t work that way. The license is for a single user and you have to create your own user profile to train Dragon to recognize your voice. It won`t recognize other voices and process their words.

    Even though Dragon Naturally Speaking Premium lets you dictate into a handheld recorder for later transcription, you can’t record other people and then have it magically transcribe their words.

    Also, Dragon Naturally Speaking needs really good quality audio. I imagine the teacher would be far away and so your digital recorder would probably pick up more of the people around you than the teacher.

    I supposed, in theory, if you had good quality – straight from the microphone – recordings of a person, you could train Dragon Naturally Speaking to recognize that person only, but it would have to be a different profile. (In other words, if you did it on the same user profile as your voice, then every correction you made would mess up your own user profile and make Dragon Naturally Speaking more inaccurate.) I’m pretty sure that using the Dragon Naturally Speaking software with more than one person per license is a violation of the licensing terms.

    Good luck.

  • Matt January 15, 2012, 4:55 PM

    Hi again. I’ve been working on a few essays today, and because my trial for BluBeam is over, I started working with One Note. I basically opened a new page and imported the PDFs I needed using the “show as printout” command. Then, I just inserted the cursor in the margin where ever I want to place a note. I dictated into this note, and I found this was pretty accurate. Because I am using an old Toshiba tablet, I use the stylus to circle and point out any mechanical errors. To be sure, it’s not a perfect solution, but I am able to type my comments in the margins using Dragon. Occasionally, I will have to resize the window that the note is in, but this works pretty well. I’m not right to say that my work flow is all that much quicker, but I have always been a very slow grader!

    As for how I collect my papers as PDFs, my students submit their papers through Google Docs, so I just, and download them as PDFs. I then import these into whatever application I am using. When I’m using a Mac, I use the application called PDF Pen Pro. Because I want to use Dragon NaturallySpeaking, however, I have had to dig my Toshiba out, add some more RAM, and refamiliarize myself with Microsoft One Note.

    In any case, this approach to grading papers is amusing me, but I am not sure that it is not creating more work for me then just grading the papers the way I had been doing before. But I will say that dictating to a computer is more accurate than my typing is even on my best day! So, when it comes to writing letters of recommendation, were writing e-mails, using Dragon NaturallySpeaking might work out very well for me.


    • classroomtechnology January 15, 2012, 7:59 PM

      Hey Matt – thanks for the feedback. I agree – sometimes, I think using a computer to provide written feedback is more effective, and then other times, everything goes horribly wrong and I wonder if it just wasn’t easier to do it by hand. I think I spend the same amount of time, but my feedback tends to be longer (and neater) when I use a computer to mark student papers. I think you nailed it on the head – using Dragon NaturallySpeaking works better if your typing isn’t the greatest.

      Thanks for sharing your workflow with One Note. I usually use Google Docs as well, but this past assignment, I have students put their names in the filename, but I forgot to explicitly tell them to write their names in the document as well. It was a headache manually printing the name on each one… still looking for a way to automate adding the filename in the footer.

      Out of curiosity – what version of Dragon Naturally Speaking are you using? Cheers Kisu

  • Matt January 15, 2012, 4:57 PM

    One more thing – I used Dragon NaturallySpeaking to dictate that last bit of writing. You can obviously see where there were some mistakes, but all in all, that wasn’t so bad.

  • Gordon Clark January 25, 2012, 8:01 PM

    I have heard vaguely of Dragon Naturally Speaking. So I have read the article above beginning with the phrase “What is Dragon Naturally Speaking?”

    As I write, I still have no idea from your web-page, what Dragon Naturally Speaking is or does. From what I read, there is no indication as to what its purpose is.

    It rambles on about Star wars, so perhaps it has something to do with the film.

    Gord Clark
    Rockburn, Qué.

    • classroomtechnology January 25, 2012, 9:15 PM

      Hi Gord, appreciate the feedback and thanks for taking the time to leave a comment. Dragon Naturally Speaking lets you talk to your computer instead of having to type on a keyboard.

      This post grew out of another post to help students and teachers (who already knew what Dragon Naturally Speaking was) to decide if the discounted education version was right for them. I’ll re-organize the information in this post to make things more clear.

      In the mean time, I’ve added a video clip that shows you what Dragon Naturally Speaking does, rather than ramble on about Star Wars. Dragon Naturally Speaking comes in four different editions (Home, Premium, Professional, and Legal) with different features (as seen in this comparison chart.) Cheers, Kisu.

  • Gordon Clark January 25, 2012, 10:10 PM

    It OK – I found out.

    Gord Clark

  • megankalu March 12, 2012, 5:15 PM

    I really need help. I run Liberty High Criteria recorder that we record court room trials. At home I transcribe all the proceedings. I’ve been a court reporter for 32 years and have seen many changes over the years and have transcribed many, many transcripts. A couple of years ago i purchased Dragon N.S. 9.5 and i was just speaking into a mic what i listened to in proceedings verbatum, but then someone told me that I should be able to put the Liberty recordings from the courtroom that i’ve downloaded on my pc and right into my dragon so i just have to turn on the recording and dragon should transcribe the text right from the liberty recording one text. Is this true? OMG it would sure give my hands and voice a break if this can be done. I am aware that some hand held voice recorders will download onto Dragon and it will put it onto text, but can my Liberty system recordings to that?? Any information about this would be greatly, greatly, appreciated.
    Sincerly, Margote

    • classroomtechnology March 13, 2012, 1:12 PM

      Hi Margote,

      I’m sorry, but my first guess would be that I don’t that you’ll be able to transcribe court room trials just by running the audio files through Dragon Naturally Speaking. Here’s why:

      Dragon Naturally Speaking 11.5 (Premium, Professional and Legal) all have the option to transcribe audio files. For example, in Dragon Naturally Speaking Premium, I click on Tools > Transcribe Recording > Other source > and then I select the audio file (MP#, WAV, WMA, and a few others) and Dragon Naturally Speaking will type in what’s recorded in the audio file. I can get Dragon Naturally Speaking to transcribe into either the DragonPad text editor or directly into another window (like Microsoft Word.)

      When I googled Liberty High Criteria, it looks like it’s recording different people: http://www.libertyrecording.com/LCR_main.htm

      The problem with Dragon Naturally Speaking software is that it is “speaker dependent” which means it’s trained to recognize your voice. (At least, that’s what the official Nuance FAQ about transcribing audio files says. But, read on…)

      Even though it looks like you have really good, high quality audio recording, I don’t think it would be able to transcribe new voices. Your user profile is trained to recognize your voice whether it’s high-pitched or really deep.

      I know from experience that Dragon Naturally Speaking is pretty good straight-out-of-the-box with little training (i.e. 97.6% accurate with a new user profile) but that new user profile still requires you to go through the initial training setup to get used to your voice.)

      I also know that you don’t have to train the Dragon Naturally Speaking iPad apps – they just work and I assume it’s the same voice recognition software. That makes me wonder if Dragon Naturally Speaking actually would work with different voices. I’ll try out a few things and get back to you.

      (At the very least, I imagine you’ll have to upgrade to version 11.5 from your older version of Dragon Naturally Speaking.)

  • Gerald Buller March 31, 2012, 6:49 PM

    Hi, Iam a Strata Manager and take minutes at council meetings. Iwould really appreciate knowing if there is a digital recorder that would record multiple voices and print it out in a word document?

    • classroomtechnology March 31, 2012, 10:46 PM

      Hi Gerald,

      I’m not really sure. I did a quick google search and came up with http://www.savemeeting.com/ (which is a cloud-based service that comes with a freemium and subscription model). I’m going to check it out for a future review, but I wonder how well it would work. Here’s why.

      Dragon Naturally Speaking on the computer is user specific – I get around a 97% to 98% word accuracy rate using the program speaking into a wireless bluetooth headset in a quiet room. With Dragon Naturally Speaking premium (and higher), you can transcribe audio files (i.e. MP3) directly into Microsoft Word. (You’ll need the Premium edition – you can’t transcribe from a handheld recorder / audio file with Dragon Naturally Speaking home edition – comparison chart.) If I try to transcribe an MP3 file of an audiobook using my Dragon Naturally Speaking user profile, the transcription is horrible. (It could be because Harry Potter was read so dramatically, but I think it’s because the user profile is really geared towards my voice.)

      Voice recognition on the iPad (i.e. Dragon Naturally Speaking on the iPhone or iPad using the Dragon Dictation app, or using the iPad 3 dictation feature) will recognize any voice – it’s not user specific and I get between 89% – 93% word accuracy (see review.) The problem is that you couldn’t use Dragon Dictation or your iPad dictation microphone button to record more than a minute before it timed out to transcribe what you were saying.

      http://www.savemeeting.com/ looks like entire meetings can be recorded to their servers – the Freemium version comes with 1,000 recording minutes, but I wonder what the word accuracy is like. I think the key in any voice transcription service is that you’ll need high quality audio and you’ll still have to go through and edit the document to catch all of the machine transcription mistakes. Good luck!

  • Brenda July 16, 2012, 7:15 AM

    Has anyone experience of if and how the system works with leaving comments on Blogger. I’ve read it works OK making new posts on Blogger, but I am specifically interested to know if it will apply itself to enabling me to lave comments on other peoples blogs.




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