Making learning accessible for everyone with Microsoft Education

Carla  Gonzalez Fernandez

Carla Gonzalez Fernandez

Microsoft, Education

Read Time, 4 min.

Every student deserves a solution to help them achieve great things. Learn in this article how Microsoft’s accessibility tools can support diverse learning needs.

More than 1 billion people across the world have disabilities. Yet only 1 in 10 have access to the tools they need to fully participate in society. It is a challenge that every organization has a responsibility to help solve.

Accessible technology can help bridge the gap, providing people everywhere with the tools they need to thrive. Nowhere is that more important than in schools and classrooms, where every student should have access to the resources and support they need to fully engage in learning.

Our commitment to digital inclusivity in education extends through all aspects of the solutions we offer, from product design to customer support. Our goal? To enable every student to fully participate in learning and life and empower every teacher to connect with each of their students, wherever they are, whatever challenges they face.

The accessibility solutions we offer have proven to enhance students’ learning experiences and environments, providing multiple ways for students to create, engage and participate. These tools are designed to help all students, regardless of ability, as outlined below.

 

Learning and speech

  • Our Immersive Reader breaks down syllables, increases spacing between lines and letters, and reduces “visual crowding” to support students with different learning styles to both read aloud and listen to text. It’s a free tool that’s built into Word, OneNote, Outlook, Office Lens, Microsoft Teams, Forms, Flipgrid, Minecraft Education Edition and the Edge browser.

 

  • Other integrated tools like Read Aloud support students with visual impairments by narrating web pages, news, documents, eBooks or your own custom contents. While Presenter Coach can help students prepare for presentations by evaluating pace, pitch and language used, helping to build confidence and improve students’ presentation style.

 

 

  • Teachers can keep track of reading fluency by identifying accuracy rate and trouble words using Reading Progress with Insights. This tool helps students build confidence and reading fluency through personalized reading experiences built into Assignments in Microsoft Teams.

 

  • Additionally, students can develop critical literacy skills using the reading practice tool, Reading Coach. The new offering, which complements other tools such as Reading Progress and Immersive Reader, automatically generates individualized exercises based on each student’s specific needs and provides guidance on the likes of pronunciation and syllabification.

 

Vision, hearing and mobility

    • The built-in screen reader Narrator provides simplified navigation and audio descriptions so students can easily interact with everything on their screen with their keyboard or Braille device.
    • And for students with limited mobility, Dictate enables them to use their computer microphone to dictate presentations or documents.
    • We also provide captions on Microsoft Teams for students who are hard of hearing, have dyslexia, or need support focusing. Teams can detect what’s said in a class session or meeting and present real-time captions with speaker attribution.

 

Neurodiversity and cognitive

  • Microsoft To Do is a list, task and reminder app that can help students get organized and manage their school work and activities from a smartphone, tablet or computer.
  • For students who need support focusing, Reading view removes distracting ads and excess information to reduce cognitive load while using the Edge browser, so every student can stay on-topic.Screenshot of a sample of writing in Microsoft Word in the reading view layout

 

Mental health

  • We’ve made it easier to check on your students’ social-emotional wellbeing with tools within Microsoft Teams. Reflect helps students recognize and navigate their emotions by providing regular opportunities to share and be heard, broadening learners’ emotional vocabulary and deepening empathy for their peers. And there’s support for teachers too with Insights, which provides valuable feedback to help educators build a healthy classroom community.

 

  • Teachers can encourage everyone to learn and share their thoughts using Flipgrid. A safe video expression tool, Flipgrid encourages students to informally share details of their successes, interests and weekends – especially good for quieter and shier students.

 

All learners

  • For students who aren’t learning in their native language, the Translator app, PowerPoint’s Presentation Translator and Teams can be set to translate content into their preferred language.

  • Regardless of the challenges that students may face,The Ease of Access Center in Windows allows everyone to personalize their computer to best support their needs. By making it possible to customize mouse actions, trackpad options, keyboard preferences and more, every student can define a digital experience that matches the way they interact with the world.
  • Before sharing documents and spreadsheets or sending emails, teachers and students alike can run the Accessibility Checker to ensure the content is easy for people with disabilities to read and edit.

 

The COVID-19 pandemic has increased demand for accessibility tools in education, so it’s more important than ever to empower every student with technology that facilitates personalized learning. Because when educators adopt a technology-driven approach to learning and teaching, anything is possible for students of every ability.

1 hour

Accessibility: Build the foundation for inclusive learning

Every student should have the support they need to fully engage in learning. Discover how to create a more inclusive learning environment with the Microsoft Learn Course.

4 digital tools that can help educators create a more inclusive classroom

To find out the best digital tools for an inclusive classroom from an educator’s perspective, read our article here.

Discover more related articles per industry:

Education

Finance & Insurance

  • How to transform banking with Personetics’ revolutionary app

    How to transform banking with Personetics’ revolutionary app

    A new generation of customers now expects much more from banking. The customer journey, not the product, needs to be the focus for financial services. And the key to enhancing it is data.   Personetics is responding to this demand with its white label solution that allows any bank to start to maximize the benefits of […]

  • Two people wearing a suit and tie smiling at the camera

    Why the bank of the future is in the cloud

    Financial services company Belfius will transfer all of its banking services to the cloud over the next seven years. This initiative is an important pillar in the company’s strategy to adapt to the changing needs of its customers – making its processes more cost-effective, safe and sustainable. This is a pioneering step for Belfius. In […]

Government

  • a woman sitting on a sidewalk

    How to digitally transform citizen services

    “Having a website, call centre and information desk isn’t enough. Citizen services need to be streamlined to empower citizens and government employees alike.” The eBook ‘The digital transformation of citizen services’ is honest in its appraisal of the urgent challenge facing governments worldwide, whose citizens expect their digital experiences to match the quality of those […]

  • Two people inside using Surface Go in office

    How technology is transforming the work of governments

    Governments have the ultimate responsibility to their citizens. People depend on the services they provide like no other institution. Whether in healthcare, education, business, roads, railways, water – it’s essential that government institutions are always at the forefront of social and digital trends. Cloud-powered technologies are playing a critical role in helping government agencies to […]

Healthcare

  • a doctor wearing a white coat and smiling at the camera

    How technology is revolutionising care for patients with chronic conditions

    “I could never have imagined that the monitoring system I had developed for patients with chronic heart disease would one day play a role in the war against a global pandemic.” José Paulo Carvalho, Founding Partner of Portuguese telehealth company Hope Care, explains how technology he has been developing for more than six years – HCAlert […]

  • Two people working in Healthcare with a Windows device

    Medical device provider builds an Azure data estate for any future

    Danish med-tech company Coloplast makes innovative care products for people with intimate health challenges. To help maintain productive customer relationships and better understand the needs of patients, Coloplast migrated from an on-premises data warehouse and business intelligence (BI) solution to Microsoft Power BI, Azure SQL Data Warehouse, and other Azure services. The migration is part […]

Manufacturing

  • Manufacturing: the place to be for diverse talent

    Manufacturing: the place to be for diverse talent

    Manufacturing is undergoing a huge transformation. And that transformation is opening a wealth of new opportunities to bring diversity to the industry. Digital technologies are game changers for the manufacturing industry. Outokumpu has been on an inspiring journey driving its sustainability agenda through their use of data and AI. Another story that inspired Laurence Janssens is that […]

  • A photo of trees

    Future society: The utility company turning up the heat with AI

    One Swedish utility company is undergoing a journey in energy innovation―empowered by dynamic collaborations and AI technology. Frosty commutes from work in wintery Nordic cities are endured knowing that a toasty home awaits. Keeping city energy consumption steadily regulated is key, not just for an economical and warm home for residents, but to minimise environmental […]

Retail

Discover more related articles per dossier:

Customer Stories

Digital Transformation

Security & Privacy

Tips

  • Group of two female and one male office workers brainstorming in informal office setting. Both women are using laptops while the man is writing. Large screen shown in background.

    2019 Modern Selling Trends in 5 webinars

    The relationship between buyers and sellers grows more complicated each day. Every potential partnership requires finding the right buyer, fully understanding their business, tracking progress through the buying cycle, and engaging them with the right content—when and how they want it. These shifting dynamics underscore the artistry of modern selling. When the time is right, […]