Amid COVID-19 Distant-Studying Surge, Microsoft Touts Azure Cognitive Providers
With the U.S. already adjusting to the brand new remote-work actuality attributable to COVID-19, distant studying is taking middle stage as the varsity season begins, and Microsoft is touting its Azure Cognitive Providers to assist.
Azure Cognitive Providers is a household of synthetic intelligence (AI) providers and cognitive APIs that helps builders — even these with no machine studying experience — embed the power to see, hear, communicate, search, perceive, and speed up decision-making into their apps, Microsoft says.
One member of that household is Immersive Reader — which helps readers learn and comprehend textual content — and that is what the corporate is publicizing now to “empower” distant studying as college students head again to highschool, if not precise bodily school rooms.
Immersive Reader “permits you to embed textual content studying and comprehension capabilities into purposes,” Microsoft says. “Assist customers of any age and studying capacity with options like studying aloud, translating languages, and focusing consideration by means of highlighting and different design parts.”
The corporate claims its Azure cloud is the one such supplier to supply this studying expertise.
In a current weblog submit, Microsoft introduced the final availability of the service, which it stated has been improved with:
- Immersive Reader SDK 1.1: Updates permit a web page to be learn aloud mechanically, with pre-translating content material, and extra. Extra data is accessible right here.
- New Neural Textual content-to-Speech (TTS) languages: 15 new Neural Textual content to Speech voices, enabling college students to have content material learn aloud in additional languages. Extra data is accessible right here.
- New Translator languages: 5 new languages shall be out there — Odia, Kurdish (Northern), Kurdish (Central), Pashto, and Dari. Extra data is accessible right here.
The current submit for back-to-school season is not the corporate’s first such effort, as method again in March it was publicizing “Serving to academics and college students make the swap to distant studying.”
Microsoft final month additionally touted extra Azure Cognitive Providers and different providers, together with:
- Textual content to Speech, to drive scholar engagement and permitting customers to transform textual content to lifelike audio with a view to facilitate new methods for college kids to work together with content material.
- Audio Content material Creation device to “convey audiobooks to life and finetune audio traits like voice type, price, pitch, and pronunciation to suit their situations — no code required.”
- Transcribe in Phrase, which makes use of Speech to Textual content, stated to spice up note-taking and different studying actions by mechanically transcribing conversations. “Now with speaker diarization, you will get a transcript that identifies who stated what, when.”
Microsoft listed extra sources for additional data:
“Immersive Reader has change into a vital useful resource for distance studying, with greater than 23 million individuals each month utilizing the device to enhance their studying and writing comprehension,” Microsoft stated. “Between February and Might 2020, when many colleges moved to a distance studying mannequin, we noticed a 560 p.c enhance in Immersive Reader utilization. Because the training group embarks on a brand new faculty 12 months within the Fall, we anticipate to see continued momentum for Immersive Reader as a device for educators, mother and father, and college students.”
David Ramel is an editor and author for Converge360.