Learning Tools and Immersive Reader updated for OneNote, Word and Outlook

Educators have been seeing great outcomes in using Microsoft Learning Tools for their students over the past year. We’ve heard from Lauren Pittman’s class in Georgia, Jeanne Caudill’s students in Kentucky, and an English Teacher in Macedonia. Spurred by their great feedback, our team wants to empower even more students around the world with inclusive and accessible technology, and so we’re excited to announce new capabilities in Office 365 for Education below.

Steve Crapnell, eLearning Coordinator at the All Hallows School in Brisbane, Australia, is another educator who has been working with students and using Microsoft Learning Tools over the past year.  Here is what Steve had to say about a recent experience:

“I have just finished helping a parent with a little girl in Year 7, quite challenged with numerous learning difficulties, who can now, through the use of Learning Tools, actively engage in reading assignments.  She is so rapt! “

Alongside excitement from parents and students,  Steve describes the educator reaction from a recent professional development session he led on Learning Tools:

“The reaction from the 60 teachers was quite overwhelming and they felt quite strongly that Learning Tools was not an innovation to be investigated, but a necessity that should be mandated.  They felt that this was a social justice issue and that the availability of such tools like Learning Tools should, and will, receive greater focus and Professional Development in their own school.  In a nutshell, they loved it. “

Let’s cover what’s new with Learning Tools for Microsoft Word and Immersive Reader.

Use Learning Tools while writing with Microsoft Word

Word now lets you access Learning Tools features while you edit or write your document. Learning Tools adds visual changes as a layer on top of the original document, so you can feel confident working on your document and know that it will print as normal, while co-authors can still edit the document in the original view.  To open the new Learning Tools contextual menu, simply choose the View tab and then click the Learning Tools button.

Do any one or all of the following, depending on how you want to work with your document:

  • Select Column Width to change the width of the line length. In this view there are four options: Very Narrow, Narrow, Moderate, or Wide. Use the setting that works best for you.
  • Set the Page Color to be Sepia (pale yellow page with print feel) or Inverse (black background with white text) to make the text easy to scan and consume, or leave it set at None.
  • Select Text Spacing to increase the spacing between words, characters, and lines. This can help you to scan text easily and helps reading fluency.
  • Select Syllables to show the breaks between syllables of words in your content. While in this editing mode, you can type and make edits to your document – the syllable marks will appear in real-time as you type or add content.
  • Select Read Aloud to hear your document out loud with spoken words highlighted simultaneously.

Read Aloud

Read Aloud is now available in all of Word’s views and allows you to hear your document out loud with each spoken word highlighted in sync. Choose Review tab and select Read Aloud to start listening to your document. This allows you to transition easily between typing and having content read aloud, making catching and correcting errors even easier.

Read more about this awesome article here