9 Back to School Updates for Microsoft Learning Tools!

This post has been republished via RSS; it originally appeared at: Education Blog articles.

During the Summer months, we’ve been hard at work building innovative tools to help of all ages and levels students get the most out of learning. We are excited to share with you the following features and enhancements help encourage focus, collaboration, reading, and multi-language support.  


1) Immersive Reader comes to Teams Conversations and Chats

In talking with schools, we know that many students want the ability to easily read conversations and chats with a personalized experience in Microsoft Teams. With today’s updates, anyone can launch the Immersive Reader from any conversation or chat by opening the “…” menu and choosing Immersive Reader.


Immersive Reader is now being used by our Teams for Education beta customers, and we expect it to roll out start rolling out worldwide next week.Teams Immersive Reader .gif

Immersive Reader in Teams


2) Word Desktop gets Line Focus

Line Focus helps students focus on a specific line (or lines) of text while reading and has been inclusively designed to allow students of all abilities to sustain attention when reading. In 2017 we launched the Line Focus feature for many of our platforms, including Word Online, OneNote Online, OneNote for Windows 10 and iPad.  Today we are announcing that Line Focus is coming to Word Desktop. Single line, three line, or five line support will be available in the Learning Tools toolbar. Office Insiders can expect this to start rolling out in late August, with a broader rollout in early Fall.Line Focus.jpg


Line Focus in Word Desktop


3) Office Lens Immersive Reader on iOS – page theme colors

With the latest update of Office Lens (version 2.15) for iPhone or iPad, you can now choose a different page theme color. These colors are the same as the other Immersive Reader apps in Word, OneNote, and Outlook.Office Lens.jpg

 Page theme colors in Office Lens 


4) Automatic language detection in the Immersive Reader

When copying and pasting content from the web or other sources, language tags of the material are often incorrect or lost.  For example, if you find an article in Spanish on the web, and copy/paste into OneNote, the text will often be incorrectly tagged as English.


Today we are rolling out the ability of Immersive Reader to automatically detect the correct language of content and switch all aspects properly, including Read Aloud, syllables, parts of speech and picture dictionary. Auto language detection will be supported in over 45 languages in Immersive Reader, and will be supported for Word Online, OneNote Online, OneNote for Windows 10, OneNote iPad, and OneNote Mac.


5) Word on the iPhone has Read Aloud

We've recently added Read Aloud for Word on the iPhone.  It's on the Review tab, watch the GIF below for details!iPhone Read Aloud.gif

Word iPhone Read Aloud


6) Comic Sans font support in the Immersive Reader

The Comic Sans font was designed for younger readers and has been extremely popular with students. Teachers often prefer Comic Sans because it more closely aligns with the style of letters they use to teach early reading and writing. In addition, many people with learning differences have often shown preferences towards the Comic Sans font.  This new font choice will show up under the Font section in the Immersive Reader – see the example below.Comic Sans.jpg

 Comic Sans font in Immersive Reader


7) New Language Support for syllables and parts of speech (nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs)

We’ve added 4 new languages for syllables and parts of speech, and these will be rolling out in the coming days and weeks.

  • Nynorsk – nouns, verbs, adjectives, syllables
  • Japanese – nouns, verbs, adjectives
  • Polish – nouns, verbs, adjectives, syllables
  • Korean – nouns, verbs, adjectivesNynorsk.jpg

         Example of Nynorsk syllables and parts of speech 


8) New Picture Dictionary Languages

We launched the Picture Dictionary feature in March of 2018, and students have been engaging with it quite extensively. See Karrick, an 8 year old boy, talk about the Picture Dictionary, and how it has helped him with reading.


Picture Dictionary is available in 11 languages, including:

  • Danish
  • Dutch
  • Finnish
  • French (France, Canada, Switzerland)
  • German
  • Norwegian Bokmål
  • Spanish (Mexico, Spain)
  • Swedish

The pictures for each language will begin rolling out today


9) Use Immersive Reader on a translated page in OneNote for Windows 10

OneNote for Windows 10 now has the ability to Translate a page into another language in real-time.  With this capability, Immersive Reader works against these newly translated pages. For example, if you translate a page from English into French, you can click the Immersive Reader button on the new page and everything will now work in French, including read aloud, syllables, parts of speech, and the picture dictionary.  See the example video below for a demo.OneNote Translate.gif

Example OneNote for Windows 10 Translation


And to make sure you have all the details for your IT Admin to deploy the right versions of Office 365 and WIndows 10, please check out our new Inclusive Classroom Deployment Guide! http://aka.ms/InclusiveDeployment 





We hope you enjoy implementing these new features and capabilities to help your students become more independent learners and help you reach every student! Check out more info on Learning Tools here: Check out more information on personalized learning with Learning Tools!

If you have any questions or feedback, follow @MSFTEnable, @MicrosoftEDU or reach out to me directly, @mtholfsen.

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