Jordan Shapiro, a contributor for Forbes.com, was just recently introduced to “Learning Tools for OneNote,” and it’s safe to say he was pretty impressed.
Learning Tools for OneNote is an example of that rare piece of edtech that actually promises to bring something new to the learning experience. And ironically, it does it by leveraging a variety of already existing Microsoft technologies like Bing’s speech recognition, simultaneous audio text playback, and natural language processing. It uses these technologies to make reading and writing more accessible to all students.
Originally created for children with learning differences, Shapiro believes that Learning Tools for OneNote can make a significant impact on all students’ reading and writing skills when the tools are incorporated into early literacy curricula.
What sets Learning Tools for OneNote apart from other edtech tools? According to Shapiro, it’s universal design.
Instead of creating specialized or adapted solutions for different users, a practice which inevitably creates a privileged norm and an underserved “other,” universal design, or “design for all,” creates one solution that works for everyone.
Research has shown that students read faster and comprehend better when text is presented in different visual styles. OneNote allows students to adjust the letter spacing and the number of words on a line for any text or reading material. Students can copy text into a note, or use the Office Lens app to photograph a page of a book. The optical character recognition engine will convert it into text that the learning tools can manipulate.
Learning Tools for OneNote is truly a personalized education technology that has the potential to significantly improve students’ learning and education. When students are able to learn at their own pace, they are more likely to have a positive attitude towards learning and are able to focus on their specific learning challenges and needs.
While personalized learning tools such as OneNote’s learning tools are helpful in creating an individualized learning environment for students, it’s important educators know how to incorporate these tools into their curricula to ensure they are making an impact on each students’ learning. This is where ongoing professional development and training play a vital role in the success of technology in the classroom.
To learn more about using technology in the classroom, check out this guide: How to Ensure Teachers Use the Technology Your School Has Invested In