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Supporting English Language Learners with Free Digital Tools

Thursday, September 5, 2019 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm EDT

Supporting English Language Learners with Free Digital Tools

Presented by Will Lewis, Principal PM Architect, Microsoft Translator; Sara Beebe, Educator and Professional Learning Specialist; and Mike Tholfsen, Principal Product Manager, Microsoft Education

Sponsored by Microsoft Education

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District leaders, school leaders, and teachers all have a desire to reach every student. Many schools have increasingly diverse classrooms and are striving to break through language barriers to ensure that all students have the opportunity to learn and succeed both in school and at home. In this edWebinar, discover tools that are built in, mainstream, and free from Microsoft that support English language learners and their families.

We discuss three common communication scenarios: teachers communicating with guardians and parents, teachers communicating with students, and students communicating with each other. We demonstrate ways to implement free Microsoft tools to enhance communication in all three scenarios. From Translator for live captioning and translation in the classroom to Immersive Reader for text translation and visual cues to Microsoft Teams for live events and parent meetings, you’ll gain an understanding of how to leverage a myriad of free tools to break through language barriers and reach every student!

This recorded edWebinar will be of interest to K-12 teachers, librarians, and school and district leaders.

About the Presenters

William Lewis is Principal Technical Program Manager with the Microsoft Translator team and has led the team’s efforts to build Machine Translation engines for a variety of the world’s languages, including threatened and endangered languages. He has more recently been working with the Translator team on Speech Translation and Transcription, developing the features that allow students to use Microsoft Translator in the classroom, for both multilingual and deaf and hard of hearing audiences. Before joining Microsoft, Will was Assistant Professor and founding faculty for the Computational Linguistics Master’s Program at the University of Washington. Before that, he was faculty at CSU Fresno, where he helped found the Computational Linguistic and Cognitive Science Programs at the university. He received a bachelor’s degree in linguistics from the University of California Davis and a master’s and doctorate in linguistics, with an emphasis in computational linguistics, from the University of Arizona in Tucson.


Sara Beebe has been an educator for over a decade and her heart will always belong in the middle school English classroom, where she spent the majority of the last ten years. In order to better meet the needs of English language learners (and as a former ELL student herself), she decided to step away from the classroom to work with students that need additional educational support. When she is not working with students, she travels across the country as a professional learning specialist for i2e, a Microsoft Global Training Partner. Sara works with education professionals from many different places and gets to share her passion for Microsoft educational tools as she shares personal anecdotes on how these have impacted her life and the lives of her students.


Mike Tholfsen is a principal product manager on the Microsoft Education team focusing on inclusive classrooms, learning tools and OneNote Class/Staff Notebooks. He is passionate about education and has been regularly working with students and teachers around the world over the past ten years to create products that improve student outcomes.


Join the Technology in Schools community to network with educators, participate in online discussions, receive invitations to upcoming edWebinars, and view recordings of previous programs to earn CE certificates.

Microsoft in Education’s mission is to empower every student and educator to achieve more. The core of this mission is to create immersive and inclusive experiences that inspire lifelong learning, stimulate development of essential life skills, and support educators in guiding and nurturing student passions.


Thursday, September 5, 2019
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm EDT
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