Increasing Student Engagement Using Microsoft Immersive Reader and Power Point Live
Every teacher wants to increase student engagement. This is true whether teaching face to face, remotely, or in a hybrid system. English Learners (ELs) learning remotely pose a bigger problem for teachers. They tend to be shy, overly concerned with their ability to speak the language, and less likely to participate in activities until they feel comfortable. Teachers who want to help these students engage with their activities have to find ways that make it easier for their students to actively participate. A tool that I have found to help increase my students’ engagement and to give them a voice is Microsoft’s Immersive Reader.
“The Microsoft Immersive Reader is a free tool, built into Word, OneNote, Outlook, Office Lens, Microsoft Teams, Forms, Flipgrid, Minecraft Education Edition and the Edge browser, that implements proven techniques to improve reading and writing for people regardless of their age or ability.” (Immersive Reader Resources) The tool can also be found in many non-Microsoft apps, sites and services such as Wakelet, Pear Deck, Buncee, Nearpod, Canvas, and Code.org. (See full list here.)
Some of the features of the Immersive Reader that help my students to engage and understand their assignments, include translation in over 65 languages, read aloud, line focus, parts of speech, picture dictionary, font size, as well as the ability to break words up into syllables. These features help EL students, but are also helpful to many other students including those with learning differences such as dyslexia.
Another tool that helps my ELs is Microsoft PowerPoint Live. With PowerPoint Live, the teacher is able to present in English, while using subtitles in English or other languages. A code is generated in PowerPoint Live and is shared with the students. The students are then able to receive what the teacher is saying in whatever language they choose. This can be done while the students are in class on their own devices or while they are home during Distance Learning lessons. Another way of using PowerPoint Live is to have the students present orally in their first language with subtitles in English. By doing this a teacher is able to see what the students know and assess them in real time. PowerPoint Live is mutually beneficial because it enables students and teachers to engage with the content and with each other.
Both the Immersive Reader and PowerPoint Live offer students more opportunities to engage in their learning. Whether it is through translation, hearing what they are reading, or seeing what is being said, a student who feels more comfortable with the activities is more likely to participate. That is a win for everyone.