Sunday, June 10, 2018

Keep Students On the Cutting Edge (@MicrosoftEdge) of Learning

While Internet Explorer has joined the "product graveyard," Microsoft Edge has entered the scene as more than the standard web browser. Innovative Educators will appreciate the learning tools and extensions proven to improve reading comprehension, strengthen writing, level the playing field for struggling learners and help teachers personalize learning in less time.

Learning Tools are built into the Windows 10 Edge browser. They allow your device to read aloud text using a voice of your choosing. The tools also allow for content to be accessed via "Reading View" which increases text readability by removing distracting content, adjusting font and line spacing, as well as identify syllables and parts of speech.  
Here is an overview of some of the features and benefits.
Line focus
Sustains attention and improves reading speed
Immersive reading
Improves comprehension and sustains attention
Adjustable line and font spacing
Enhances reading speed by addressing "visual crowding"
Parts of speech
Supports grammar instruction and comprehension
Targets word recognition and pronunciation
Comprehension mode
Improves comprehension by an average of 10%

In the next several screenshots, I will share various ways students and teachers can use Edge to enrich teaching, learning, and make content more accessible.

Grammarly Extension

When you add an extension like Grammarly you have a tool that will check spelling and grammar. It will also define and give synonyms for any word. Just double click.

Read Aloud

Right click on any word to begin read aloud.

Customize Voice & Speed

Next you can adjust the speed and add voices.

This is the screen where you add voices. I selected Catherine from Australia.

Track Reading with Highlighted Text

It's important to notice when the screen is reading to you, the line it is reading is highlighted and the word it is reading is emphasized.


If you have students for whom English is not their first language, you can use the translation feature to read the text aloud.

We all know that machine translation is not perfect, and that's okay. It still helps make language much more accessible than without it.  Do a lesson on this with students to help them do as good of a job as possible to make meaning of what they're reading.

Read with fewer distractions

Reading View

Reading view, in the address bar, provides a clean and simple layout with fewer distractions.  You can change the reading view style (light, medium, or dark) and font size to customize the reading experience.

Here's one view.

Here is another view. Notice also that as it reads in this view, the spoken word is highlighted.

Focus Assist

You can help students limit distracting notifications by selecting "Focus Assist" in the action center.

View Syllables & Parts of Speech

Using the "Grammar Tools" accessible from the "Reading View" you can choose to have syllables and parts of speech (nouns, verbs, adjectives) displayed.

Annotate a Webpage

Teachers will enjoy being able to be untethered from the board in the front of the room with the ability to annotate a web page right from Edge using the pen shaped "Write Notes" tool. The tool allows you to highlight, draw, add comments, and then save or share the screen with others. To unteather use Skype to share your screen (or that of a student or expert) with the projecting device. 

Student Anecdotes

This video highlights some student feedback on using learning tools.

Your Turn

What do you think? Are learning tools something that could be helpful to students where you teach? How do you see using this in your practice?

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