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

As colleges and organizations world wide put together for a brand new college yr, distant studying instruments have by no means been extra important. Academic expertise, and particularly AI, has an enormous alternative to facilitate new methods for educators and college students to attach and study.

As we speak, we’re excited to announce the normal availability of Immersive Reader, and shine a lightweight on how new enhancements to Azure Cognitive Providers will help builders construct AI apps for distant schooling that empower everybody.

Make content material extra accessible with Immersive Reader, now usually out there

Immersive Reader is an Azure Cognitive Service inside the Azure AI platform that helps readers learn and comprehend textual content. By means of in the present day’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 way of highlighting, different design components, and extra. 

Immersive Reader has develop into a important useful resource for distance studying, with more than 23 million people every month utilizing the instrument to enhance their studying and writing comprehension. Between February and Might 2020, when many faculties 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 yr within the Fall, we count on to see continued momentum for Immersive Reader as a instrument for educators, mother and father, and college students.

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

  • Immersive Reader SDK 1.1: Updates embrace help 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 out there in Immersive Reader—Odia, Kurdish (Northern), Kurdish (Central), Pashto, and Dari. Learn about the latest Translator languages.

As we speak, 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 laptop science in colleges. To make sure that college students of all backgrounds and talents can entry their assets 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 doable 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 an important help for CPS college students and households. Throughout distant studying, notably for our youthful learners, scholar studying is commonly supported by mother and father, guardians, or different caregivers. Since Immersive Reader can be utilized to translate the student-facing directions in our digital curriculum, households can help scholar studying in over 80 languages, making digital studying much more equitable and accessible than ever earlier than! As well as, read-aloud and readability helps are game-changers for various learners”Giovanni Benincasa, UX Supervisor, Division of Curriculum, Instruction, and Digital Studying, Chicago Public Faculties  

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

To see the rising listing of Immersive Reader companions and study extra, take a look at 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 permits 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 allows 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 carry audiobooks to life and finetune audio traits like voice type, fee, pitch, and pronunciation to suit their eventualities—no code required. Voices may even be custom-made for particular characters or personas; the Customized Neural Voice functionality makes it doable 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 signify completely different characters in its language programs.

To study extra about how you can begin creating speech-enabled apps for distant studying, take a look at the technical Text to Speech blog and different assets:

Enhance productiveness and accessibility with transcription and voice instructions 

AI can be a great tool for extra seamless note-taking, making it doable for college kids and academics to kind 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 will get a transcript that identifies who stated what, when. 

As well as, including voice allows 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 additionally for controls akin to including, formatting, enhancing, and organizing textual content. Phrase makes use of Language Understanding, an Azure Cognitive Service that lets you add customized pure language understanding to your apps, to make it doable to seize concepts simply. To study extra about Language Understanding and the way it’s powering voice instructions, take a look at our Language Understanding blog.

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

Get began in the present day

We are able to’t wait to see what you’ll construct. Get began in the present day with Azure Cognitive Services and an Azure free account.



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