Using LiveTranscrbe to help students with low hearing

This post was created by PGCert participants as part of their assessment for Unit 1 of the course. The brief was to choose two specific learning needs and evaluate technologies that could help students with these needs to learn more effectively.

Over 5% of the world’s population – or 466 million people – has disabling hearing loss. (, 2019).

Live Transcribe is a free app made with deaf and hard-of-hearing users in mind. The app utilises Google’s Automatic Speech Recognition technology. It provides near-live transcribing from speech to text in over 70 languages and also includes descriptions of sounds such as coughing and laughing. The app saves the transcriptions for three days and offers a tool for deaf and hard-of-hearing students to better engage with learning activities.

‘Rochester Institute of Technology has found that many first-year deaf and hard of hearing students only read captions; they do not sign. And those who watch the interpreter signing have trouble taking notes and following the lecture.’ (Microsoft, 2018).

Apps such as Live Transcribe could be used both by the lecturer (transcription running as part of presentation through screen-sharing) and the student (app transcribes directly to students’ phone). In the former case, this could be a lighter alternative when the institution does not supply specific in-built speech recognition aids in its lecture theatres. The app does however require Internet access, and the transcription can get confusing when several people are talking – sometimes at the same time. This is an issue that deaf and hard-of-hearing students face both with and without technology:

‘Stinson et al (1996) also reported that the behaviours of hearing peers presenting the biggest obstacles included more than one student talking at the same time, rapid give-and-take and discussing too many ideas at the same time.’ (Stinson et al.,1996 cited in Lang, 2002:275)

The lightness of a mobile phone app makes it easy to use in many of the signature pedagogies in creative and art education such as crit sessions and tutorials, and the ability to revisit the transcription afterwards to make more specific notes makes it especially useful.


Microsoft (2018) Positive Action. Accessed 02/12/2019).

Lang H.G. (2002), Higher Education for Deaf Students: Research Priorities in the New Millennium, The Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education, Volume 7, Issue 4, Pages 267–280, (2019) Deafness and hearing loss. At: (Accessed 02/12/2019).

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