From The Garage: Presentation Translator

Presentation Translator

The annual Microsoft Build conference is running at the moment and amongst other announcements I saw this one from the Microsoft Garage called “Presentation Translator”

This looks to be a plugin for PowerPoint that will offer some pretty neat features and is described on the website as:

As you speak, the add-in allows you to display subtitles directly on your PowerPoint presentation in any one of more than 60 supported text languages.

Additionally, up to 100 audience members in the room can follow along the presentation in their own language, and on their own phone, tablet, or computer.

There is some obvious scenarios where this functionality will be awesome when you have a multi-lingual audience you’re presenting to, however I can see a lot of value for this within Education as well. One situation would be for students who prefer to be able to read content to deepen their understanding. Having real time transcription (and translation) will certainly be an amazing demonstration of technology that will add real value to students and teachers alike.

This is not an official release yet but you can sign up for the preview here.


Supporting The Literacy of ALL Learners With Learning Tools

One of the most popular features of OneNote Class Notebooks was the “Learning Tools” which have enabled students of all abilities to process content more easily:

The Learning Tools for OneNote help everyone improve their reading and writing skills, including gifted learners, students with learning differences or a combination of any of the broad range of unique student abilities.

As an organisation, Microsoft has a huge focus on accessibility when it comes to enabling everyone to use technology and in line with this vision, some of the best features of the OneNote Learning Tools are coming to new platforms in the Office Suite.

Read the full announcement here from the official Office Blog

Announced in late February, the same features of the Learning Tools will now be built directly into Word 2016 (in the ProPlus “click to run” version), Word Online and OneNote Online. You will be able to access these under the “View” menu and it will be called “Immersive Reader.” As per the blog, the following features are available:

Learning Tools includes a modified reader view that utilizes techniques proven to help people read more effectively, such as:

  • Read Aloud—Reads text aloud with simultaneous highlighting that improves decoding, fluency and comprehension while sustaining the reader’s focus and attention.
  • Spacing—Optimizes font spacing in a narrow column view to improve reading fluency for users who suffer from visual crowding issues.
  • Syllables—Shows the breaks between syllables to enhance word recognition and decoding.
  • Parts of Speech*—Supports writing instruction and grammar comprehension by identifying verbs, nouns and adjectives.

In practice, this looks like the following:


These tools are available in numerous languages as well.

Educators should definitely check these out for all students so they can be supported in their literacy.

Recording Self-Paced Lessons in OneNote


OneNote is one of the most popular tools being used in education today and a major reason for this is because of how intuitive it is to create content.

Most teachers and students are familiar with Microsoft Word and it is this familiarity and simplicity that attracts them to OneNote. Having a rich desktop interface to easily drag and drop or cut and paste into is a terrific starting point, but being able to easily insert video or audio clips on the fly takes it to the next level. It is this type of functionality that allows educators to very quickly create self-paced lessons which could be very handy in situations such as:

  • The teacher is away on sick for a day. They could easily create the appropriate lessons in OneNote for the relief teacher to guide the students through.
  • Extended periods of disruption such as Tournament Weeks in secondary schools when often teachers and students are coming and going.

Having the self-paced lesson to work through for students, along with the ease of providing feedback and marking, make this a great way to reduce workload and stress during these times. In the guided tutorial below, teachers are walked through how to create a self-paced lesson for their students:


Make sure you keep watching right to the end, as it gives some great examples in different curriculum areas including:

  • Music
  • Social Studies
  • Languages (Spanish)
  • Mathematics (Geometry)

You can find other creative ways to use OneNote at the fantastic OneNote For Teachers website.

Lastly, if you liked the interactive nature of the tutorial above that showed precisely where you should click to use the various features in OneNote, then check out the Microsoft Innovative Educators platform that has more tutorials like this.