When I first quit my job in ICT and trained to become a teacher, I was told on day one of my teacher training:
EVERY one of you will be a teacher of literacy. No matter if you’re thinking you’ll be a Math teacher or a Science teacher or a Physical Education teacher, you’re ALL teachers of literacy – it’s not just the job of our English teachers.
This stuck with me in a powerful way and as I progressed my career as a History, Social Studies and English teacher I always gently reminded my colleagues from other faculties that they needed to ensure they were providing students with strategies in their subjects to help with literacy and comprehension too!
In the same way, accessibility is the responsibility of everyone and every product. Ensuring equity of access to learning materials should always be a focus of robust design principles and, to that end, I’m really pleased that the Edge Browser now includes Immersive Reader with a single click across any web page. To understand how this works, watch this short video:
For those that would like a step by step guide it’s as easy as:
- Launch the Microsoft Edge Browser (if you don’t have the newest Edge Browser you can download here).
- Go to your favourite website, news article or blog – e.g. this blog post I wrote about using Breakout Rooms in Microsoft Teams and look for the Immersive Reader in the far right of the Address Bar:
- Once Immersive Reader is clicked, it will reformat the page, remove the distractions of images, advertising and other things that may reduce literacy and comprehension for students, whilst providing additional personalization tools to assist:
- You’re Done! By choosing “Read Aloud” the text will automatically be read by Microsoft’s Neural Text To Speech (TTS) voices which now sound incredibly life like. You can, of course, turn on the Line Focus, Picture Dictionary and Translation services as explained in the video above.
Why not give it a go? Look for the Immersive Reader icon in the right of the address bar on THIS blog post – available only if you’re running the Edge Browser of course!
If you’re interested in learning more about the range of accessibility tools available like Immersive Reader, then check out Mike Tholfsen’s public presentation on Increasing Accessibility and Fostering Inclusive Classrooms here.
The value of Immersive Reader is being picked up by many of our partners. Now, thanks to the addition of Immersive Reader as an Azure Cognitive Service, partners can integrate Immersive Reader into their own products ensuring they’re contributing towards making their users have equity of access to their content. Learn more about Immersive Reader as Cognitive Service here.
The web browser is perhaps the most used application on most computers, smart phones and tablets. Edge Browser is available on all platforms and can be signed in with your School/Organisation Office365 account details or your personal Microsoft Account ensuring a consistent experience across devices (check my 3 Tips in 3 Minutes video here)
Having the ability to add a key literacy tool to any webpage from a single click in the address bar is a huge boost to all users and a key reason why schools and universities should be using the Edge Browser for teaching and learning.