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Overview of itslearning October Updates by Brenny Kummer

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Brenny Kummer

Brenny Kummer, Coordinator of Instructional Technology,
Bartholomew Consolidated School District

To bring in the change of season, itslearning has incorporated several updates for October 2020. Learn about the exciting new updates, including integrations with Jamboard, improved accessibility with the addition of immersive reader, assign work to specific students or groups, and more!

Immersive Reader available on assignments, notes, announcements

Immersive Reader, an accessibility tool by Microsoft, has been added to itslearning. Currently, this tool is available in the assignment tool, note tool, and announcements. itslearning plans to integrate the tool throughout the platform based upon user feedback.

Immersive reader is a helpful tool for improving the accessibility of digital text. It acts as a screen reader, reading the text aloud to students and provides the ability to alter the reading speed and voice used. Furthermore, it can provide translations, a picture dictionary of terms, grammar indicators (indicate which words are nouns, adjectives, etc.), a breakdown of words into their syllables, line readers to help students focus while reading, and adjustments for font size, style, and color. Immersive reader can be a helpful resource for supporting multiple means of representation in the classroom, specifically options for perception and language and symbols.

Watch the immersive reader tutorial.

Assign to Specific Students

Want to assign a task to one student (or a few)? You can now quickly assign itslearning assignments to specific students (or class periods-course groups) without the need to create folders and adjust permissions. The itslearning assignment tool now includes a feature called “assigned to” which allows the teacher to select specific students or groups to receive the assignment. Only the students given the assignment will be able to view and participate. This new feature could be helpful for giving work to remote learners, sharing review activities for specific students, assigning specific project tasks to groups, and more!

If you would like to give folders, pages, and other itslearning resources, you can use permissions settings to make folders visible to certain groups.

Watch the tutorial.

itslearning and Google Jamboard Integrations

Love to use Google Jamboard, the digital collaborative whiteboard tool? Staff and students can now easily open Jamboard files from itslearning as well as create copies of Jams within itslearning for student use. Teachers can quickly add Jamboards from Google Drive to their “resources” tab in their course. In addition, staff can also use the itslearning assignment tool to give students a copy of a Jamboard for concept mapping, graphing, and visual thinking activities.

For more tips on using Jamboard, visit our past blog post and watch this tutorial.

Rich-text editor adjustments

The rich-text editor on itslearning now supports keyboard shortcuts, improved accessibility of images, and improved resizing of images within content blocks. Within a content block, teachers can use the image button to insert an image. After adding an image, double clicking the image will allow you to add alt text for the image as well as a caption for improved accessibility.

Keyboard shortcuts also work, as well. CTRL + V can be used to paste images, numbered lists can be added by inputting 1. and entering, and special characters such as 1/2, etc. by typing in the text box.

Watch the rich-text editor tutorial.

New, improved ePortfolio

Lastly, itslearnings ePortfolio tool also received a makeover in the latest update this October. The ePortfolio tool on itslearning can be used for research projects, website development, showcasing student progress over time, and reflecting upon growth. In the newest update, the tool now better resembles the itslearning interface and allows for more customization, including the creation of multiple ePortfolios, design themes, and addition of multimedia onto ePortfolio pages.

Watch the ePortfolio tutorial.

Have an idea for an upcoming blog post? Let us know!

You can view the itslearning October Release Notes here.

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