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Microsoft added a new feature to Microsoft Teams to help students improve reading on the computer while pandemic. The tool is called 'Reading Progress' and works by allowing users to users record yourself reading a text, so teachers can assess resourcefulness like accuracy rates, pronunciation errors and other points.

It is normal for students to practice fluency in front of the teacher, as if it were an oral test in which they give life to a text aloud. Teachers can measure the speed, accuracy and expression of reading, and Microsoft now improves the work with this feature during the pandemic.

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"With the pandemic, if you think about reading fluently, it's really difficult because you can't be on the side of the students," said Mike Tholfsen, product manager at Microsoft Education, in an interview with The Verge. 

Microsoft Teams

Stanford University - through a study - found that the pandemic did affect students' reading ability, resulting in a drop of about 30% in reading fluency. "When the pandemic hit, we really worked with the head of Microsoft Education and agreed to accelerate development," said Tholfsen. 

Since October last year, Microsoft has been testing an alpha version of Reading Progress with more than 350 teachers. At this moment, the resource is ready and free of charge before the next school year. 

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A new technology is based and powered by Azure on the back end, so educators can adjust their sensitivity to measure students with speech disorders or dyslexia. Through a panel, teachers will see the words per minute and with the accuracy rate.

In addition, they can choose whether they want automatic detection or prefer manual evaluation. Microsoft Teams' appeal is also calibrated to deal with different dialects and accents.

The company estimates that the technology can be used as a whole to help fluent reading. “The science of reading will say that the more a student reads aloud, the better their fluency will be. If teachers can take the time to give more reading fluency assignments, this is a good thing for reading in general, ”concluded Tholfsen.

Source: The Verge

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