Microsoft has announced a new set of tools designed to help teachers and students in the learning process, which the company calls Learning Accelerators, xda developers reports.
These learning accelerators cover some existing features in Microsoft 365, such as Reading Coach, but also some brand new features designed specifically for education, such as the new Math Coach feature.
Starting with the Reading Coach and Reading Progress features, these have been around for a while and, as the name suggests, help students learn to read more fluently and accurately. However, there are some new updates – comprehension questions will be added to Reading Progress so that teachers can check students’ understanding of the text they’ve been asked to read. Reading Coach will also appear in Immersive Reader across all platforms, including Word Online, OneNote, Minecraft Education, and more.
Microsoft is also working to improve information literacy, which means it wants to help students find reliable information. According to the company, fewer than 10% of students in seventh grade or above cannot distinguish between fact and opinion, and the ability to search for reliable information online is one of the main difficulties teachers and students face.
To address this problem, Microsoft has a feature called Search Coach in Teams for Education that helps students identify reliable sources of information and refine their search terms to find the information they want. It also integrates a feature called NewsGuard, which flags the reliability of news sources based on a variety of factors.
There will also be a feature called Search Progress that will allow teachers to better assess students’ ability to find reliable information.
But the features don’t end there. Teachers will soon also be able to take advantage of Speaker Progress, again with the aim of streamlining the learning process. Speaker Progress makes it easy to create assignments and assessments, as well as listen to automatically uploaded recordings of students and more.
Finally, there’s another brand new opportunity that’s focused on math. Math Coach and Math Progress are new features that will debut in the 2023-2024 school year to help students learn math more effectively. Math Coach will essentially break down each part of a problem, making it easier for students to understand the thought process behind a calculation.