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October is National Dyslexia awareness month, and Microsoft Education is excited to announce a set updates across our Learning Tools capabilities. These inclusively designed tools enable student-centered learning , and help students of all abilities across the areas of reading, writing, math and communication. Built-in, mainstream, non-stigmatizing and FREE!
With the growing popularity of the Immersive Reader, there have been many requests for a “one stop shop” to allow educators, schools, and parents to get information from. We’ve recently launched the “All About Immersive Reader” page on the Microsoft Educator Center. This page has a deep dive demo, a table of all the apps and platforms where Immersive Reader exists, and many other help links. Share this out in your school! We’ve also launched a new Interactive Guide for Immersive Reader to allow anyone to click through and really learn and explore Immersive Reader.
High Quality Read Aloud Voices with Neural Text to Speech – the number one piece of feedback and UserVoice request we’ve had for Immersive a Reader is to improve the quality of the Read Aloud voice. With advanced AI techniques, Microsoft’s Neural Text to Speech significantly improves the quality of Read Aloud. We are rolling these new voices out to the Immersive Reader in Office apps first, and Immersive Reader in Cognitive Services in early 2020. Our initial languages are English, Spanish, German, Chinese and Italian, with more languages coming later in 2019 and into 2020
Immersive Reader for Microsoft Forms – many students and educators have requested the ability to have Immersive Reader enabled in Microsoft Forms. This might be to allow students to access text in a reading passage, use for questions, or even read math equations out loud. We are excited to announce that the Immersive Reader is in Beta testing now, and will start rolling out to all Education customers in the coming days. Immersive Reader will initially work on education customers signed in with Office 365 accounts in Forms, with anonymous support coming in the near future.
Teams Assignments and Immersive Reader -with our goal of making Microsoft Teams Assignments the most accessible education experience on the planet, we’ve also added the Immersive Reader for assignment instructions as well as to access Educator feedback on assignments.
Whiteboard Immersive Reader – Microsoft Whiteboard provides an active, free-form platform for classroom collaboration – and we want to make sure everyone, including those with reading challenges, can join in the fun. That’s why we’re excited to introduce the integration of Immersive Reader into Whiteboard and encouraging more active participation in the lesson. Immersive Reader is now available in the latest Windows 10 app version of Whiteboard, and coming to more platforms later this year.
Show Formatting in Immersive Reader – a top request from students and educators has been to have they ability to show formatting like bold, underline, italics and other formatting options. We have added this capability and it it rolling out worldwide starting today. As a bonus, try out an emoji in your content 🥳
Word Mac gets Page Colors – we’ve added the popular page color feature to Word for the Mac
Speech to text is a powerful and inclusive tool used by many students, including those with a permanent, temporary, or situational impairment. We are excited to announce these new inclusive capabilities to help all students with writing :writing_hand:
Dictation comes to PowerPoint for the web – At ISTE we announce Dictation was coming to PowerPoint for the web, allowing students to add writing to their slides with the power of their voice. in the coming weeks we will roll out Dictation (Speech to Text) in PowerPoint for the web. PowerPoint for the web is part of the free Office 365 Web apps and available to all students and teachers.
Dictation coming soon to Outlook for the web – later this year, Dictation will be rolling out to Outlook for the web. This will make it easier for any student, educator or staff member to Dictate emails, hands free!
Practice math quizzes in OneNote Online Students can now use the Math assistant in OneNote Online to generate a practice math quiz, consisting of a set of problems like the one the student is working on. The quiz is created as a Form and embedded directly into OneNote, allowing independence and as much practice and help as a student may need. The feature is already available in OneNote for Windows 10 and is rolling out to OneNote Online today. The Support article with instructions is here.
Inclusive Math Interactive Guide: We’ve also just launched an interactive guide for inclusive math to try out these features yourself.
Presenter Coach – On September 25th, we rolled out the new PowerPoint Presenter Coach, which helps students independently practice and get feedback on their presentation. Presenter Coach uses intelligence and AI to “listen” to students present out loud, and can allow introverts and extraverts to get feedback on topics such as talking speed, disfluency (ah, uh, basically), inclusive language, and reading off the slides. Presenter Coach is now broadly available in public preview and free in PowerPoint for web
Inclusive Communication Interactive Guide: We’ve also just launched an interactive guide for inclusive communication to explore inclusive communication features such as Live Captions and sub-titles in PowerPoint, translation in PowerPoint, and engaging students and parents with real-time, translation using Microsoft Translator. You can use this guide to try these capabilities out yourself
We hope you enjoy these Learning Tools updates for the Inclusive Classroom. We also have a new deep dive webinar from Mike a Tholfsen demoing all of the aspects of reading, writing, math and communication. Take a watch, share it out in your district https://aka.ms/InclusiveWebinar
Mike Tholfsen (@mtholfsen)
Principal Product Manager
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