Microsoft has announced a range of learning tools products, training and research updates designed as part of a pledge to build a better future for those with dyslexia, so that every dyslexic child is understood and given the right support to realise their potential.
It is estimated that one in five students has dyslexia, yet there are likely far more who have not yet been diagnosed in today’s classrooms. These students, who see the written word differently, are often mistakenly labelled as having a learning disability and, as such, make up approximately 70 to 85 percent of today’s special education classes. Their teachers and parents don’t often have the resources or training to help, however passionate they may be. Without the proper support in formative years, a struggling student’s confidence and love of learning can fade. History has shown these great young minds can bring tremendous gifts to the world – like the many great dyslexic innovators, artists and leaders before them – if they feel empowered and learn to see dyslexia differently.
As part of their support and project, the tech giant has also created teacher training materials to better support dyslexic learners, hosted within the Microsoft Educator Community in late January 2019. The training will consist of short, informative and inspirational film modules that introduce educators and parents to dyslexia, as well as specific materials that focus on reading instruction. There will also be specific instruction around reading and dyslexia.
Other developments announced include:
- Word and OneNote Online Dictation: Helping students to write with their voice using the Speech to Text in any browser.
- Immersive Reader comes to Flipgrid – any topic posted by a teacher will have the ability to launch Immersive Reader. Microsoft or Google schools both have access
- Maths now supported in Immersive Reader equations and math mixed with words for OneNote Windows 10 app and OneNote Online
- Translation in Immersive Reader: Supporting students in their native language with real-time translation in Immersive Reader – document, words, sentences
- Research Partnership: Helping students sound out words, in a broader partnership with the University of Washington
- Edge Browser updates for Immersive Reader – Windows 10 October 2018 update
- Office Lens Android support for Immersive Reader: Capturing text from anywhere + OCR to read in an Android phone or tablet
The company aims that, with these new materials and technology, to help the people at Made by Dyslexia take their important awareness and advocacy work to a new level of action and impact in today’s schools.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has also recorded a video of this announcement and posted it to LinkedIn describing their commitment.