Guest post – DigiLearn: Digital Communication: Beyond mono-cultural education with Microsoft Presentation Translator

Published by Caroline Carlin on

Author: Andrew Grice, Lecturer in International Business Communications.

I lecture on the BA (Hons) in International Business Communications at the University Central Lancashire. My education philosophy stems from a belief that as educators, we can construct learning environments that can both help and/or hinder student performance. Interest in technology-enabled teaching and learning practice started some years ago. More recently, my view on technology-enabled approach changed to viewing students as self-sovereign actors in a decentralised, multi-cultural model of education.

As the Covid-19 pandemic changed from the educational environment from a predominately physical space to the digital space, the dimensions of technology and practice use developed further. TELT, the DigiLearn programme, Microsoft Education Centre (MEC) and LinkedIn Learning assisted with my development, and since September 2020, the Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert programme added to my access and use of technology. One of the technologies I discovered was Microsoft Presentation Translator. The technology allows students to connect to communication/presentations that are live through a QR Code or a universal resource locator (URL) from their computer or mobile device.

Once connected to the app students, or even other audience participants can join in the live presentation or meeting with a language of their choice or from one of sixty languages. When presenting, Microsoft AI technology live captions the language I choose into the language of the audience on their device, which they can save, and the language I speak is captioned onto the live MS Teams presentation. The audience can speak into their device in the language of their choosing, that language is live captioned to the language I choose onto the live MS Teams presentation and to the language selected by the audience on their device. Some observations from the system;

·         Digital skills; there was no issues with audience accessing the app. This was easy software to add into MS PowerPoint and use.

·         It added to the dimensions of digital communication, and eased use of specialist language used in academia;

·         It disintermediated browser-based and app-based translators;I

·         The audience was broader; Non-English-speaking family members could enjoy the learning experience;

·         Location based accessibility changed; the geographical location of participants became less static;

·         Student experience changed.

Microsoft Presentation Translator worked, well, the AI technology while not perfect helped created something new. A way of communicating digitally in the Educational environment that added value to the student experience. The next Education problem; can or will students use it for their presentation is 2020-21 and did you try it?


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