Microsoft today announced that Wonderopolis, a digital property of the National Center for Families Learning (NCFL), is the first nonprofit entity to feature the new technology, which works to expand content accessibility through a variety of reading assistance features.
With the help of Immersive Reader, Wonderopolis’ content will now be translatable into more than 40 languages via text and text-to-speech. Additional features of Immersive Reader include language-specific accents, line focusing, text resizing, syllable breakdown, parts of speech identification, and a picture dictionary. Moving forward, these technologies will increase accessibility for Wonderopolis users with visual impairments, reading disabilities, and English language learners.
“For two years, I’ve dreamed of making Wonderopolis more accessible for all readers and English language learners,” said Wonderopolis Community Manager John MacLeod. “But there wasn’t a great solution for a nonprofit--until now. Microsoft’s Immersive Reader puts Wonderopolis into the hands of truly everybody and provides the tools to include all learners in wondering and learning together.
Created by NCFL in 2011, Wonderopolis has grown to become one of the most popular education sites in the world, boasting more than 2,000 unique Wonders of the Day and over 50 million visitors since its debut. With multi-disciplinary content that aligns to Common Core State Standards (CCSS), the STEM Educational Quality Framework, and Bloom's Digital Taxonomy, teachers everywhere use Wonderopolis’ daily Wonders to jumpstart their students' critical thinking. With the addition of Immersive Reader, the number of users is expected to continue to grow.
“The Immersive Reader feature will allow all students in a diverse classroom setting to have access to the extensive Wonderopolis content,” said Lorie Lyon, a 5th grade teacher in Plano, Texas. “This feature will open up doors to support literacy development while still giving students choice in their learning.”
“The Immersive Reader feature really is a game changer,” added Christie Wyman, a kindergarten teacher in Weston, Massachusetts. “My students will now be able to independently access all that Wonderopolis has to offer.”
The Immersive Reader technology is the latest result in a growing relationship between Wonderopolis and Microsoft. In June, Wonderopolis announced a new partnership with Microsoft’s Flipgrid, a website that allows teachers to create “grids” in order to facilitate video discussions. Flipgrid is used by millions of students, educators, and families in over 180 countries around the world.