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Melinda Reed » Leveling the Playing Field with Microsoft Learning Tools

Leveling the Playing Field with Microsoft Learning Tools

Inclusive classrooms aim to serve the needs of all students, regardless of background, identity, or academic skill set.  These intentional learning environments leverage flexible content delivery, provide targeted instruction and encourage student reflection and ownership.  Tools such as Immersive Reader and Dictate can enhance teachers' current efforts to meet diverse needs within inclusive classrooms.
Essential Questions
  • How could Immersive Reader improve access to grade-level texts for students in an inclusive classroom?
  • How could Dictate help students foster and communicate their learning with others?
  • How could Dictate improve writing-based tasks for students and teachers?
Questions to Ponder - Bell Work
Put on your headphones and watch the video below.  Then proceed to Padlet.  Read the 3 questions posted by Melinda Reed in the center of the page.  Create a new sticky note by click on the red bricked wall and answer the questions.  Don't forget to put your name at the bottom of your sticky note!
 Explore, Explain, and Experience
Immersive Reader
Navigate to this Immersive Reader Simulator and click on the black "Try It Out" button on the left side of the page.
Explore the Immersive Reader Voice Settings and Text Preferences features:  voice speed, text size, spacing, font, and themes.  Be sure to note how text-to-speech technology helps students increase word recognition and decoding skills and how highlighting, spacing, and font style help to decrease visual crowding.
Explore the Immersive Reader Grammar Options features, including the Syllables toggle and Parts of Speech highlighting color options.  Note how highlighting parts of speech, specifically verbs, can help increase student comprehension.
Explore the Immersive Reader Reading Preferences features.  Not that Line Focus eliminates visual distractions while Picture Dictionary helps build student vocabulary.
Take 4 minutes to explore the Immersive Reader Simulator.
Feel free to discuss with a partner.
Office 365 is designed to boost productivity for people of all abilities and enable inclusive communications.
Empowering ALL students to be independent learners by simplifying and personalizing the learning experience is more than just adapting work for students.  It is about students creating that experience for themselves.  Whether they are in kindergarten or in high school, students can create an experience which promotes independence and engagement in learning.
*** As noted above, Immersive Reader is included in Office 365 Online Word documents as the default.
***If you would like to add Immersive Reader to your installed version of Word.  Click on the link below.
Download Learning Tools  (Immersive Reader) here.
Task 1:
  1. Open Word Online and select a Word document that you have already used or would use in the classroom.
  2. In the menu bar at the top, click on the View tab and select Immersive Reader.
  3. Explore the Immersive Reader Voice Settings and Text Preferences features.  Be sure to note how text-to-speech technology helps students increase word recognition and decoding skills and how highlighting, spacing, and font help to decrease visual crowding,
 Don't forget to ask Mrs. Reed about Immersive Reader and PDFs!
Creating Contact Lists for Your Classes
This will make it so easy to share your Word documents with your students!
Hands free typing in Microsoft Word!
Dictate is available in the online version of Microsoft Word.  It can be found in the Home tab.  The online version has a limited amount of languages available.  It does not include the Translator.
Dictate can be downloaded to the installed Microsoft Word on your devices.  The installed version has a larger amount of languages to choose from.  It also has a translator.  
  • Click here to navigate to the Dictate website to download.  The download will provide you with another tab in your MS Word window called Dictation.
Task 2:
  1. Within your Office 365, click on your Waffle and select Word.
  2. Click on New Blank Document. 
  3. Dictate the nursery rhyme "Mary Had a Little Lamb".
Task 3:
  1. Open up the installed version of Word and create a new blank document.
  2. Click on the dictation tab.
  3. Dictate the nursery rhyme "Row Row Row Your Boat" and translate it to Spanish.
Microsoft Edge - The New Windows 10 Browser
Learning Tools are built into the MIcrosoft Edge browser, adding more options for readers in your class to interact with texts.  Use Learning Tools in Microsoft Edge to hear any web page, PDF, or ePub read out loud while following along with the words on screen.
Reading view in Microsoft Edge now has Learning Tools features such as Read Aloud, Page Themes, Text Size, Syllables, and Parts of Speech highlighting.  You can even look up definitions as you read with the inline dictionary.
Microsoft Edge has a Reading View for many online sources that immerses students into the content without the distraction of advertisements and images.  This allows students to read a web page in a clean, uncluttered view with the main content as a focus along with easy to read font and background color.  Microsoft Edge also has a Read Aloud feature in which web pages can be read aloud with the click of a button.  There is no need for an add-in or special extension.  Words are highlighted and read with the ability to change the speed and voice.  
For more information, click here.
Finding the Ease of Access Center - 
  1. Click on the Windows Start Button in the lower left corner of the screen.
  2. Select the Gear icon in the pop up menu.
  3. When the Settings box appears, choose the Ease of Access thumbnail tile.
Shortcut for the Ease of Access Center - Win key plus the letter i.
Follow along with the presenter on your computer.
Office Lens iPhone and Android App - Free!
Office Lens is a great way to capture notes and info from whiteboards, menus, signs, handwritten memos, or anything with a lot of text.  You don't need to jot down notes, rely on blurry images or worry about misplacing anything.  It's great for capturing sketches, drawings and equations too, and even images without text.
Office Lens gets rid of shadows and odd angles so images are easier to read.  You can upload document and whiteboard images to Word, PowerPoint, OneNote, OneDrive, and you can save them as PDFs or send them in mail.