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Microsoft Teams Launches A Free Reading Tool – What To Expect?

Microsoft Teams Launches A Free Reading Tool – What To Expect?

Microsoft, one of the tech giants of the world, has recently launched Reading Progress, a free education tool for Teams that provide the teachers with AI estimation of student performance as well as errors when reading text. The goal of this Microsoft Teams app is to assist teachers in quickly and efficiently assess the fluency of the students at reading through video and audio recordings.

In today’s date, when a majority of the academic institutions focus on delivering remote education, this app allows teachers to upload a single reading fluency passage for the whole class. The app also offers to option to provide different passages to suit students at different reading levels. Students can simply record what they read and then send it to their teacher for evaluation.

A Basic Overview of the Tool

Reading Progress – this app is built into Microsoft Teams Assignments. You can get it on the Teams app on Windows, web, Mac, iOS as well as Android platforms. Microsoft started rolling out this app to users globally on August 24. However, they mentioned in a blog that it could take a couple of weeks for it to become available across all regions.

While the app helps meet several remote learning needs in today’s world, it also has the potential to pave the way to scale up education. It may appear like a ray of hope for a lot of students who did not receive proper education and have missed almost a year of school. Organizations that are settled into Microsoft’s family of apps and services can collaborate with the app from the Microsoft Teams platform.

According to a recent study from Stanford, oral reading fluency growth held steady at the outset of lockdowns forced by the pandemic in March but got down about 30% behind the expected level by spring.

The tool is expected to provide a more efficient way to scale up assignment help and education, as per Microsoft. Officials suggested that creating recordings allows educators to check the progress of students more regularly while helping them free more time for active instructions. Traditionally, it takes a lot of time to track a student’s fluency as it requires one on one close listening while managing the remainder of the class.

According to Microsoft, this app could be helpful for people who find reading to be challenging, for special education dyslexia support, for middle and high school fluency checks, and for building English skills for non-native speakers. Additionally, it could benefit the students who don’t feel peer pressure when reading out aloud in an isolated environment.

The Highlighting Features of This Tool

Teachers have the option to use the auto-detect feature, which relies on Microsoft’s AI models to do a quick review of student recordings. Even if the user chooses not to use it, the data collected from recordings are fed into the Teams Education Insights dashboard to offer insights into trends in accuracy rates and correct words per minute while highlighting difficult vocabulary, dropped words, mispronunciations, and inserted words.

You can find all the major details about the Reading Progress app on Microsoft’s landing page for the tool. Since its launch in May, the app has gained a number of new features, including the ones mentioned below:

PDF upload :

Educators can upload a portion of text in the form of PDF and convert it into a Reading Progress assignment.

Better assignment creation layout :

It is now easier for educators to upload and modify the student reading passage with the expanded and simplified layout.

Reading passage preview and edit text :

Users can now modify the passage they upload on the tool before assigning it to others.

100+ languages supported :

Reading Progress now supports over 100 languages – the ones that Teams is supported in. Educators can also upload their documents in many languages.

Improved auto-detect language support :

The feature of auto-detect for speech is now supported in 37 languages and locales. It is important to note that these languages are in “preview,” which means they are still in the process of improving accuracy and adding additional languages.

Student view :

Teachers have the option to view the student experience while creating the assignment for them.

Edit text during grading and review :

During the review of student recordings, teachers can manually add student insertions.

These were some of the major features of the Reading Progress tool.

How to Use the Tool?

In order to use the tool for evaluating students’ reading skills, you need to perform the following steps:

1. Develop a customized assignment :

As a teacher or educator, you will have the option to upload single or multiple assignments. You can access and customize the assignments as per the reading level and progress of a particular student. Students can also read at the pace they are comfortable at. It further creates a stress-free, distraction-free environment for the students, where they can read out aloud.

2. Read, record, and review :

The immersive reader technology from Microsoft Teams allows students to adjust page settings, including adjusting format and font size based on their preferences. Students can simply record their reading either by voice or video. Once the recording is submitted, teachers can review it and offer their valuable feedback.

3. Get insights and track progress :

The app further streamlines the traditional process of checking students reading skills with the Team’s Education Insights dashboard. Teachers can use the feature of auto-detection to identify errors such as repetition, pronunciation errors, intonations, omissions and others. Teachers can further customise the assignments for each student as per their needs.

As mentioned previously, the app is still getting a lot of new updates to further improve the user experience. But there is no denying that it has made reading evaluation a lot simpler for the teachers and educators engaged in the remote learning process.

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