Learning accelerators are a new set of tools that Microsoft has introduced to assist instructors and students in the learning process. These learning accelerators include some already-available Microsoft 365 tools, like Reading Coach, as well as other completely new functions created especially for educational purposes, like the new Math Coach feature.
The first features are Reading Coach and Reading Progress, which have been around for a while and, as their names imply, assist pupils in learning to read more accurately and fluently. However, there have been some recent modifications. For instance, Reading Progress will soon include comprehension questions, allowing teachers to assess their students’ comprehension of a piece they were required to read. Additionally, Reading Coach will be available on all platforms for Immersive Reader, including Word Online, OneNote, Minecraft Education, and others.
In order to assist kids in finding trustworthy information, Microsoft is also aiming to increase information literacy. Less than 10% of children in grades 7 and up can’t tell fact from opinion, according to Microsoft, and being able to get trustworthy information online is one of the biggest challenges both instructors and students face. Microsoft’s Search Coach in Teams for Education helps students locate trustworthy sources of information and hone their search phrases to find the information they need in order to address this issue. It also incorporates a function called NewsGuard, which rates the reliability of news sources according to a number of criteria. The capacity to discover trustworthy material is already accessible, and later this year, a feature called Search Progress will make it possible for teachers to assess pupils’ abilities even more effectively. For instance, teachers may specify the minimum number of sources that must be used for assignments, and students may submit their sources and method of thinking before turning in an assignment in order to receive feedback from the instructor.
Speaking abilities, and to some extent, Speaker Coach, another feature that already exists in Microsoft 365, are another area where Microsoft is expanding. By doing this, users learn to speak more quickly and without pausing or sounding monotonous. A Speaker Progress function will also be available soon, with the same objective of expediting the learning process. It will be simpler for teachers to design assignments, assess them, listen to recordings of their students that are uploaded automatically, and more.
One more brand-new capacity is left, and it is math-related. For the 2023–2024 academic year, two new features, Arithmetic Coach and Math Progress, will be available with the aim of enhancing students’ math learning. Each component of a problem will essentially be broken down by Math Coach, making it simpler for pupils to comprehend how calculations are thought out. On the other side, Math Progress is concentrated on assisting the instructor in determining areas where pupils are having more trouble, allowing them to offer comments and guidance when necessary. Additionally, these products complement one another because Math Coach can produce problems based on information from Math Progress.
Last but not least, Microsoft today announced that Education Insights Premium is now accessible in all Microsoft 365 Education tiers, making it simpler for companies to learn about the academic progress of their students. This also applies to Microsoft 365 A1, the free tier. Additionally, Windows 11 Pro Education will soon support student sign-in using external identity providers like Google and Clever, which will make it simpler for students to access a Windows PC.