Techquity At Its Best! 5 Things Every Teacher Should Know About Immersive Reader
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I spend nearly every day thinking about one idea in education, how do we build more student-centered classrooms? It can only begin with the realization that the students in our classrooms ALL have diverse and unique learning needs.
Because of this, we need to use whatever tools we can to best help students learn and to build an arsenal of inclusive strategies that meet their diverse needs. This is true #Techquity as my friend Ken Shelton has coined the powerful fusion of technology and equity.
For nearly my entire education career, I have been known for my Googliness. I still love Google tools, but as I move toward more student-centered teaching and learning, I have come to realize I need to use and understand ALL platforms to make sure each of my students’ needs can be properly met. Because of this search, I have found so many good things happening with Microsoft – and now it is time to start helping other teachers understand them as well – so we can truly create inclusive and infused classrooms. The most important new tool I have learned about is Immersive Reader and it reigns supreme in bringing critical equity and inclusion to classrooms everywhere.
Immersive Reader is a program – developed by Microsoft – that is inside all native Microsoft apps and expands to many other online platforms used by students with all kinds of different devices, not just the surface tablet or Windows 10 machines. Immersive Reader helps students with reading tasks – and while it was designed for kids with Dyslexia – it has been shown to help ALL students! You can find it in such apps as Canvas, Flipgrid, Wakelet, Flocabulary, Pear Deck, Kidblog, Buncee, Nearpod, Merge, and Thinglink. And if I can convince them, Seesaw and Book Creator too!
Take a Closer Look
As Mike Tholfsen, from Microsoft Edu, says these types of accessibility tools are designed for one student (a student with dyslexia) but can help the entire classroom! They are built-in, mainstream, non-stigmatizing and FREE – which let’s be honest is AMAZING! And makes me want to know more about all Microsoft tools!
What can the Immersive Reader do?
1. Take Online Content and Read it to Students
Immersive Reader can read Microsoft Word and other native apps – and other apps on the web – and can read aloud content to students using a simple “Play” button.
Simply look for this icon in your favorite app.
It does this by reading the content to students word by word. like you see here.
Immersive Reader can also…
- Reduce spatial crowding
- Change background color to help reduce eye strain
- Increase or decrease text size
- Add a reading focus box to keep student-focused as they progress through the reading
2. Includes a Picture Dictionary and Pronunciation Tool:
3. Can Translate Text:
This helps communication with parents and second language learners in up to sixty languages! For this one, I have chosen Spanish- Mexico because I live close to Mexico.
4. Built-in Grammar Tools:
This helps break words into syllables and highlights the parts of speech, even identifying which part of speech each word is.
5. Available for Edge Browser
Edge – by the way – is built on Chromium. This means it’s basically Chrome for those of you who love Chrome like me. In Feb 2020 it will have an easy right-click option to allow students to perform these quick reading interventions
For Fun: Download Office Lens to take photos of words and content and either translate or send to Immersive Reader on your phone.
Learn more about The Microsoft Infused Classroom by signing up for the pre-order information. infused.link/pre-order
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