This weblog publish was co-authored by Anny Dow, Product Advertising Supervisor, Azure Cognitive Providers.

As faculties and organizations around the globe put together for a brand new college 12 months, distant studying instruments have by no means been extra important. Instructional know-how, and particularly AI, has an enormous alternative to facilitate new methods for educators and college students to attach and be taught.

At present, we’re excited to announce the normal availability of Immersive Reader, and shine a light-weight on how new enhancements to Azure Cognitive Providers may help builders construct AI apps for distant schooling that empower everybody.

Make content material extra accessible with Immersive Reader, now usually obtainable

Immersive Reader is an Azure Cognitive Service inside the Azure AI platform that helps readers learn and comprehend textual content. By means of as we speak’s normal availability, builders and companions can add Immersive Reader proper into their merchandise, enabling college students of all skills to translate in over 70 languages, learn textual content aloud, focus consideration by highlighting, different design parts, and extra. 

Immersive Reader has change into a important useful resource for distance studying, with more than 23 million people every month utilizing the software to enhance their studying and writing comprehension. Between February and Might 2020, when many colleges moved to a distance studying mannequin, we noticed a 560 percent increase in Immersive Reader usage. Because the schooling neighborhood embarks on a brand new college 12 months within the Fall, we count on to see continued momentum for Immersive Reader as a software for educators, dad and mom, and college students.

With the overall availability of Immersive Reader, we’re additionally rolling out the next enhancements:

  • Immersive Reader SDK 1.1: Updates embrace assist to have a web page learn aloud routinely, pre-translating content material, and extra. Learn about SDK updates.
  • New Neural Textual content-to-Speech (TTS) languages: Immersive Reader is including 15 new Neural Textual content to Speech voices, enabling college students to have content material learn aloud in much more languages. Learn about the new Neural Text to Speech languages.
  • New Translator languages: Translator is including 5 new languages that can even be obtainable in Immersive Reader—Odia, Kurdish (Northern), Kurdish (Central), Pashto, and Dari. Learn about the latest Translator languages.

At present, we’re including new companions who are integrating Immersive Reader to make content material extra accessible, Code.org and SAFARI Montage. 

Code.org is a nonprofit devoted to increasing entry to pc science in faculties. To make sure that college students of all backgrounds and skills can entry their sources and course content material, Code.org is integrating Immersive Reader into their platform.

“We’re thrilled to partner with Microsoft to bring Immersive Reader to the Code.org community. The inclusive capabilities of Immersive Reader to improve reading fluency and comprehension in learners of varied backgrounds, abilities, and learning styles directly aligns with our mission to ensure every student in every school has the opportunity to learn computer science.” – Hadi Partovi, Founder and CEO of Code.org

SAFARI Montage, a number one studying object repository, is integrating Immersive Reader to make it attainable for college kids of any language background or accessibility wants to interact with content material, and allow households who don’t communicate the language of instruction to be extra concerned of their college students’ studying journeys.  

“Immersive Reader is a vital assist for CPS college students and households. Throughout distant studying, notably for our youthful learners, pupil studying is commonly supported by dad and mom, guardians, or different caregivers. Since Immersive Reader can be utilized to translate the student-facing directions in our digital curriculum, households can assist pupil studying in over 80 languages, making digital studying way more equitable and accessible than ever earlier than! As well as, read-aloud and readability helps are game-changers for numerous learners”Giovanni Benincasa, UX Supervisor, Division of Curriculum, Instruction, and Digital Studying, Chicago Public Colleges  

With Immersive Reader, all it takes is a single API name to assist customers increase literacy. To start out exploring how you can combine Immersive Reader into your app or service, try these sources: 

To see the rising checklist of Immersive Reader companions and be taught extra, try our partners page and Immersive Reader education blog.

Convey on-line programs to life with speech-enabled apps

With the shift to distant studying, one other problem that educators might face is constant to drive student engagement.

Text to Speech, a Speech service characteristic that enables customers to transform textual content to lifelike audio can facilitate new methods for college kids to work together with content material. Along with powering options like Learn Aloud in Immersive Reader and the Microsoft Edge browser, Textual content to Speech permits builders to construct apps that talk naturally in over 110 voices with greater than 45 languages and variants.

With the Audio Content Creation tool, customers can extra simply deliver audiobooks to life and finetune audio traits like voice model, fee, pitch, and pronunciation to suit their situations—no code required. Voices may even be custom-made for particular characters or personas; the Customized Neural Voice functionality makes it attainable to construct one-of-a-kind voices, beginning with 30 minutes of audio. Duolingo, for instance, is utilizing the Customized Neural Voice functionality to create distinctive voices to characterize completely different characters in its language programs.

To be taught extra about how you can begin creating speech-enabled apps for distant studying, try the technical Text to Speech blog and different sources:

Enhance productiveness and accessibility with transcription and voice instructions 

AI can be a useful gizmo for extra seamless note-taking, making it attainable for college kids and lecturers to sort with their voice. Transcribe in Word makes use of Speech to Text in Azure Cognitive Providers to routinely transcribe your conversations. Now with speaker diarization, you may get a transcript that identifies who stated what, when. 

As well as, including voice permits extra seamless experiences in Microsoft 365. For college students who’ve difficulties writing issues down, they will use AI-powered instruments in Workplace not only for dictation but in addition for controls resembling including, formatting, modifying, and organizing textual content. Phrase makes use of Language Understanding, an Azure Cognitive Service that allows you to add customized pure language understanding to your apps, to make it attainable to seize concepts simply. To be taught extra about Language Understanding and the way it’s powering voice instructions, try our Language Understanding blog.

For extra particulars on how AI is powering experiences in Microsoft 365, learn the Microsoft 365 blog.

Get began as we speak

We are able to’t wait to see what you’ll construct. Get began as we speak with Azure Cognitive Services and an Azure free account.



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