Microsoft releases Learning Tools for OneNote, a free add-on for OneNote 2013 and OneNote 2016 developed for both teachers and students, that uses proven techniques to improve comprehension and learning.
Today’s classrooms are diverse and teachers are expected to personalize learning for each of their students, including students who are gifted, students with learning differences like dyslexia and students who are “twice exceptional”. While technology can be an enabler, it can also be a challenge. Some teachers lose up to 50% of their instructional time to deploying and maintaining assistive technology used to help personalize learning.
Microsoft is one of the most active Education Technology provider in the world and OneNote is one of the most widely used educational program: to improve OneNote performance in classroom use, Microsoft created Learning Tools for OneNote to make it easier for teachers to improve learning outcomes for all students, including those with learning differences. Learning Tools are free, built-in, non-stigmatizing and use techniques that are proven.
Learning Tools includes many features, one of witch is Immersive Reader, a very particular, optimized user interface that uses large fonts and high contrast to make the text easy to read; it also feature the speech synthesis with simultaneous highlighting of the spoken word – a extremely important feature for dyslexics people and a proven techniques to help student’s sustained focus. The font spacing and size, but also the background color, can be modified with few clicks; it is possible to highlight part of speech like adjective, verbs and nouns and the words can be automatically divided in syllables. Alongside the Immersive Reader, there is a “Dictate” feature that allows the user to talk directly to the computer to input text into OneNote (a good microphone, a valid Microsoft account and a internet connection are requested).
Actually Learning Tools seems to be optimized for English-speaking users, since the “Dictate” features works only with English language and the adjective/verbs/nouns is often really functional only if the text is written in English – but the add-on is still in a “beta” version. Learning Tools for OneNote is a free, 70 MB downloadable add-on compatible with Microsoft OneNote 2013 and OneNote 2016 only. Once installed, there will be a new “Learning Tools” tab in OneNote ribbon command interface that can be used to activate the Immersive Reader or the Dictate feature. Learning Tools for OneNote is available at the link below.