1. The Immersive Reader Tool Makes Learning Accessible
Teams has accessibility features already built in, including the Immersive Reader tool. It’s a free screen-reader tool that assists all types of learners with reading, writing, math and communication.
Students using Teams can launch the Immersive Reader tool from their assignments, message posts and chat boxes, explains Microsoft Learning Consultant Adam Rummelhart in a CDW•G presentation on Teams.
Using this tool, he says, students can have documents, such as assignment directions, read aloud to them. They can even change the speed of the narration.
Plus, students can change text sizes, spacing, font and colors to suit their learning needs. The fonts featured on Teams have been designed by Microsoft to be helpful for readers with dyslexia, Rummelhart says.
The Immersive Reader can also break down sentences into syllables, highlight different parts of speech, show picture representations of words and translate documents into numerous languages — a huge benefit for multilingual learners.
2. With Live Captioning, Videoconferencing Is More Inclusive
Another key component of Teams is its ability to create live captions for video calls. Educators can schedule and hold virtual meetings or lectures, and students with hearing impairments can follow along.
Teachers can even record video chats and share them with anyone who might’ve missed their lecture or save them for later access. They can also have real-time discussions with students during their videoconferences using the chat box, Rummelhart says.
3. Dial-In Option Addresses Equity and Access Gaps
Another benefit of using Teams is that you can use the applications across platforms and browsers, Mora says.
School districts can also opt for the Office 365 Education plan featuring the Office 365 audioconferencing system, which allows users call in to meetings from their phones.
This is beneficial for students who don’t have smartphones to download the mobile application or Wi-Fi access to go online, Mora says. Teams gives them the option to still stay connected with their teachers and classmates during remote learning.
“With Microsoft Teams being the hub for both collaboration and learning — remotely or inside a facility — educators become facilitators in a learning journey that students can lead on their own,” Mora says.