Microsoft continues to build on our commitment to create inclusive learning environments, with tools that empower students of all abilities to work independently, efficiently, and confidently. Microsoft Learning Tools are free tools that implement proven techniques to improve reading and writing for people, regardless of their age or ability. We recently passed an exciting milestone, with over 10,000,000 monthly active users of Learning Tools across 10 different applications and platforms in Office and Microsoft Edge. We continue to listen to your feedback and are excited to announce that we’ve added some of the top requested features from teachers and students, including Picture Dictionary, Custom Parts of Speech Colors, and Roaming Settings.
We are excited to announce the rollout of the Picture Dictionary capability built in directly to the Immersive Reader. The ability to see a picture and see and hear the word simultaneously (multi-sensory processing) is a technique to aid reading and comprehension. With the Picture Dictionary, a student can click on a word and immediately see a related picture, and have the ability to “Read Aloud” as many times as necessary. Students also now have the ability to click on any single word and have it read aloud. These pictures have been provided in partnership with Tobii Dynavox, one of the world’s leading symbols companies and creator of Boardmaker.
Example of the new Picture Dictionary in Immersive Reader
Lauren Pittman, a Special Education teacher from Holly Springs, Georgia, was one of the very first teachers to try Microsoft Learning Tools in the classroom. The story of her students and Learning Tools is documented here. Lauren has had an early peek at the Picture Dictionary – here is what she had to say:
“Combining the power of the Immersive Reader with the visuals to support vocabulary will help students with vocabulary acquisition challenges to soar to new heights. This product has redefined what it means to help students soar.”
Today’s rollout will only be in English, but we will be adding 13 more languages in the near future, so stay tuned! In addition, we will be adding more words to our Picture Dictionary in the coming months and will look to continuously improve it based on your feedback.
Custom Colors for Parts of Speech
A top request we’ve heard from teachers, students, as well as UserVoice, is the ability to allow customization of the colors used for nouns, verbs or adjectives. This allows students to use colors in a way that’s represented in books or methods they’re already used to, and gives colorblind students the ability to adjust to patterns that suit them best.
Example of a blue selection for nouns
Another top request we’ve heard from educators and students is to allow Immersive Reader settings to roam from one machine to another. For example, if a student signs in with Office 365 on a different lab computer, or their home computer, to use the Immersive Reader in Word Online, it will automatically set their font sizes, background colors, and other settings. With today’s announcement, we are beginning to roll out the ability to roam settings for Immersive Reader on many of our platforms and apps.
Rollout begins today
Picture Dictionary, Custom Colors for Parts of Speech, and Roaming Settings will be rolling out starting today, coming to Word Online, OneNote Online, OneNote for Windows 10, OneNote iPad, Outlook on the Web, and Outlook.com. More details can be found at our Support article.
We look forward to hearing more of your feedback. You can reach out to the team directly at [email protected].