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New learning tools help educators create more inclusive classrooms

17 Oct 2016

A one-size-fits-all approach to education can be especially stifling for students with unique learning needs. To put it into perspective, Dyslexia is estimated to impact 1 in 5 people, 72 percent of classrooms have special education students, and 73 percent of classrooms have readers that span 4 or more grade levels.

Understanding this classroom reality is what led our teams at Microsoft to design Office 365, and its inclusive classroom technology like Learning Tools for OneNote, with accessible learning experiences in mind.

With accessibility in mind, and based on direct feedback from educators and students, the team continues to expand the capabilities and availability of the tools that help students of all abilities be successful.

Many features previously exclusive to OneNote desktop are now coming to OneNote Online, Word desktop and Online, Office Lens, and beyond, to make sure more students have access to these tools.

The accessibility features in many of the tools in Office 365 - free for teachers and students - that educators use regularly with their students create even more inclusive experiences, enabling all learners to have that “aha” moment that motivates their ongoing success.

For special education teachers like Taylor Tefft, accessibility by design is truly game-changing. Tefft and her colleagues at IS77, a public school in New York City, have been using several Office 365 applications to help level the academic playing field for all students, and helping them get promoted to the next grade.

As IS77 Assistant Principal Marilyn Barrios shares, “I believe all children want to learn, it’s just a matter of the adults finding an avenue or a vehicle to get them to that place.” 

Article by the Microsoft in Education team

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