Microsoft Teams “Reading Progress” feature by allowing students to record themselves reading a section of text, helping students improve their reading fluency.
Microsoft Teams has got a new feature called Reading Progress, designed to help students improve their reading fluency.
The Reading Progress feature works by allowing students to record themselves reading a section of text, and by giving teachers the ability to rate accuracy rates, errors in pronunciation, and more.
Typically, students practice reading fluently in front of the teacher. They read a passage aloud and the teacher marks it accordingly. Teachers measure the speed, accuracy, and articulation of reading as part of the process.
Children prefer reading via the computer, and the more loud a student reads, the better his fluency.
The new feature within Microsoft Teams helps teachers manage reading tests more flexibly, relieve stress on students, and identify and track important reading events, such as skipping words and self-corrections.
And Microsoft accelerated its work on this feature during the pandemic, when it became apparent that it would be difficult for teachers to measure reading fluency from a distance.
“The issue of practicing reading fluency has become difficult with the epidemic, because you cannot be around students, and although you can use Microsoft Teams for that, the vast majority of teachers do not,” the company said.
A recent study by Stanford University found that the epidemic affected students’ ability to read, with a 30 percent decrease in reading fluency in the early grades.
Microsoft is testing an initial version of the feature with more than 350 teachers since October, and is now ready to release it as a free add-on before the next school year.
The technology is powered by Azure, allowing the teacher to adjust its sensitivity to measure students with speech disorders or dyslexia.
The feature uses some of the same speech technology used in the PowerPoint presenter coach.
Microsoft has built a misspelled API that basically measures confidence intervals and breaks down words based on a segment of text the student is asked to read.
Teachers watch a full dashboard that displays words per minute and accuracy, and will have the ability to switch to a specific word to hear the student say it.
If teachers do not want automatic detection, they can turn it off, watch a video of a student reading, and then evaluate it manually.
This speech technology also deals with different dialects, although Microsoft initially releases it to English-language audiences in the United States only.
Microsoft now hopes that this technology can be used outside students in elementary schools to aid reading proficiency in special education, adult literacy and anywhere else.