What’s New in EDU—ISTE Edition: Announcing new technology to empower inclusive, student-centered learning

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In today’s classrooms, diversity is the new norm. By creating student-centered, inclusive learning environments, educators have the flexibility and opportunity to meet the needs of the diverse group of learners in every classroom. Technology has the power to help teachers not only navigate, but also benefit from, their students’ unique learning styles.

In this month’s What’s New in EDU, we’re excited to announce tools and resources to help teachers empower all students to find their voice, grow their confidence and build 21st century skills. Also, join us from ISTE next week on our Microsoft Education Facebook Channel for more live updates from Philadelphia on Monday, Wednesday and Hack the Classroom on Tuesday.

Reach every student with new accessibility features from Windows and Office 365

We are excited to share new features that enable educators to tailor learning to ensure every student has a voice in today’s classrooms, 72% of which have students with special requirements. Whether a permanent or temporary disability, personal preference, or a unique learning style, the robust set of built-in and third-party accessibility features in Windows 10 and Office 365 let students choose how to use technology and express their ideas.​ Today, we’re unveiling new resources to help every student unlock his or her potential.

  • Improve reading comprehension with Immersive Reader, now available in Minecraft: Education Edition and other popular education apps. Today, we’re thrilled to announce that Immersive Reader, a proven resource to improve reading and writing for students regardless of their age or ability, will now be integrated into Minecraft: Education Edition to read in-game text, character dialogue, chalkboards and more. Immersive Reader will also be available as an Azure Cognitive Service, allowing third-party apps and partners to add the tool into their products to help both students and parents read text within the apps. In our pilot program, Skooler integrated Immersive Reader into its parent portal, enabling better communication with parents and guardians who are non-native English speakers. These partners will be the first to integrate Immersive Reader:

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  • Help students speak with confidence using Presenter Coach in PowerPoint. To give teachers and students an easy way to practice their presentations and improve their public-speaking abilities, we’re launching Presenter Coach in PowerPoint online this summer, which uses best practices and academic research to provide tips and tricks for more effective presentations. Presenter Coach allows teachers and students to enter rehearsal mode and receive on-screen guidance about pacing, inclusive language, conciseness of language, profanity, filler words like “um” or “uh,” culturally inclusive words, and originality as they speak into a microphone. At the end of each rehearsal session, the presenter receives a detailed report with metrics for additional practice. Check out this post and video for more details.

Motivate students ​to share their voice with Flipgrid and Teams

This month, we’re also rolling out some big updates coming to Teams for Education that will make it simpler and more comprehensive than ever before, saving teachers time when creating new Teams, communicating with parents and students, and grading assignments. These updates include:

  • Big, easy-to-find visual icons for each of your teams and classes
  • A new way to create and track all of your assignments
  • A new gradebook so teachers can view and grade all of their assignments for a class directly from the channel’s Grades tab and view a single student’s progress across assignments
  • A new “Share To Teams” button that allows teachers to share resources with their classes directly from a learning source like Brittanica, Kahoot, Buncee, ThingLink, and Wakelet
  • The ability to import existing OneNote content into your Class or Staff Teams, allowing you to access all your information from a single location

On Monday during FlipgridLIVE at ISTE, we shared some exciting new Flipgrid tools that empower students to share their voice, practice their storytelling skills and engage in meaningful discussions inside and outside of the classroom. Details below or watch the livestream archive here.

  • Redesigned with a focus on inclusion, accessibility and performance. Now, every Flipgrid response video is automatically transcribed by Microsoft Azure and delivered through an updated closed-captioning experience. The updated Flipgrid video player leverages Microsoft’s Immersive Reader to make full transcripts available in all response videos.
  • Enhanced storytelling capabilities with the Shorts Camera. Students can now:
    • Stitch together and rearrange unlimited segments into one simple video.
    • Pause and flip the camera, add live inking over videos, select from thousands of text and emoji stickers, and apply unique video styles to add creative flare to videos.
    • Turn on whiteboard mode in videos to add context to stories.
    • Easily record and embed Shorts videos in platforms including Teams, OneNote, Remind and Wakelet with even more partners coming soon.
  • Unlock a new world of possibilities with FlipgridAR. Teachers and students can now:
    • Easily create and print new FlipgridAR stickers for any response to place Flipgrid videos in augmented reality on everything.
    • Transform homework, family nights and school events by “sticking” student voice everywhere with FlipgridAR stickers.
    • Take advantage of the hundreds of millions of existing Flipgrid QR codes that currently decorate classrooms and schools around the world as they now work automatically with FlipgridAR.
  • Ignite engagement with Topics from Code.org, HackingSTEM, Find Your Grind, Wonderopolis and more.
    • Find launch-ready discussion prompts (“Topics”) inside your Flipgrid Educator Admin in the Disco Library.
    • Search thousands of educator-created Topics by audience, subject and goal.
    • Explore enriching, activity-packed Topics from Code.org, Microsoft Education and NASA, Find Your Grind, and Wonderoplis with additional partner content in the works.

Tools & Resources for Student-Centered Learning

Here are some useful resources to help you plan for the upcoming school year and connect with other educators who are also working to build a student-centered approach:

More Microsoft Education news from ISTE

Learn about additional updates from Microsoft Education in the blogs below, or if you are attending ISTE next week, stop by and see them for yourself in the Microsoft booth.

Click here for free STEM resources