Microsoft’s Reading Progress tool – New Features!

Microsoft has added a set of additional features to its Reading Progress tool, and you’ll want to use them…

For those of you who haven’t heard of it, Reading Progress was originally launched in July 2021. It is as their site says, “a free tool to help teachers improve the process of creating, collecting, and reviewing reading assignments with powerful data and insights.

I remember about 10 years ago being a part of a big RTI (Response To Intervention) push at my old school. It’s probably partially because my wife was the school psychologist there and was in charge of the RTI program, but anyhow… we were doing lots of reading fluency and comprehension assessments and then putting interventions in place to support students. 

Reading Progress is a tool that seems to digitize all of that. It’s been around since July, but the real news is they have now added new features. The first, to quote the announcement, is “Actionable Insights [to help] educators quickly generate assignments based on the words that students struggled with most.” So, when an issue appears, the teacher doesn’t have to put in as much legwork to create practice assignments: the tool does it for them.

Teachers can now also return assignments “for revision so students can see fully marked-up passages . . . to learn from their mistakes” and then the students can do the assignment over again. You can then see if they have improved.

Back in November, they also added a “Return to Student” feature which allows educators to send a report back to students about their fluency passage performance. They’ve now added additional options for the teacher, letting them fully customize that report so that the students receive the information that you think is best for each of them.

Do you want them to see their correct words per minute? 

Their accuracy rate? 

Their mispronunciations? 

There are 10 different pieces of data that can be included and you can pick which ones your learner sees!

They’ve also added the ability to pick a page from a OneNote Class Notebook as a Reading Progress Passage – so the passages that they do for practice and for measuring their progress can be out of a OneNote Class Notebook. Prior to that addition teachers could add passages from ReadWorks, from a Teams file, from a OneDrive file, or from a file uploaded from your computer. Now, you can also grab a passage right from a OneNote Class Notebook. 

Finally, part of Reading Process is students recording videos of themselves reading the passages.

Previously, they could do that on desktop and web versions and, I assume, Windows devices, but now they’ve added the ability to do this on the iOS and Android apps as well.




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A new Social-Emotional Learning Tool: Microsoft Reflect

Microsoft is giving us an amazing new learning tool . . . 

with their recent launch of Reflect in Microsoft Teams for Education.

Reflect prompts students to check in about how they’re feeling, and even uses emojis and little monsters to connect facial expressions and body language to emotional vocab. This might help students with limited reading respond, but may also help students who are working on understanding social cues like facial expressions and body language. 

Reflect is a FREE tool!

The tool also lets students see their responses over time to look for patterns. Of course, another key step is teachers following up on concerning responses.

In March, they added the ability to build these self-assessments into OneNote. Reflect has increased functionality in One Note. As the blog post says, it lets students self-assess their “Progress and satisfaction in learning, motivation to learn, confidence, and effort.

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8+ Tools for Developing Learner Profiles

Mike Mohammad joined me in episode 28 of the Educational Duct Tape Podcast to discuss 2 questions that an educator might have.  One of the topics that we discussed was learner profiles.  Mike posed the question, “How can students create a profile of themselves as a learner to share with an audience beyond the classroom?

Tools for Learner Profiles Title Image

While Mike and I did not discuss the it during the show, I want to quickly compare and contrast the terms learner profile and digital portfolio.  While there are similarities (both are typically curated by the student, both showcase the students work in school and both are often done digitally) there are also some differences (typically, digital portfolios are a showcase of academic work and growth while learner profiles also often focus on the students’ capabilities, characteristics and aptitudes as a learner).

Regardless of which end result you’re looking to cultivate in your school (learner profile, digital portfolio or a blend of both), there are plenty of tools that you can leverage.

A week after the episode in which Mike and I discusssed this aired, I hosted a Twitter chat about the questions from our talk.

Here are some of the participants’ responses to the question about learner profiles:

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