Tuesday, 22 March 2016

OneNote Learning Tools

My experience of these learning tools after a few weeks has been amazing. I wish I had this support for students many years ago. I can see these just getting better and better and have found the Microsoft team really proactive in replying to feedback and wanting to improve their product (no, I don't work for Microsoft...).

I was very excited when they first turned up and immediately started using them with individual students.
The first student I worked with is a visually impaired student in my class. He carries a magnifying glass with him and uses it to read documents on his laptop. I helped him to download the Learning Tools addin and showed him how to magnify the text in his OneNote for our class. He has found this to be a fantastic tool and it has meant he can read the handouts and collaborative work easily and quickly without having to magnify every word .

Another student in my class has dyslexia and uses a lot of spoken commands wherever he can. Being able to have the example and the handouts read out to him has meant a lot. He is keen to get this feature on the phone app as well. He says it would be great to scan something with OfficeLens while he is out and about, then have the OneNote Learning Tools read it for him while he follows the text. I know this is something OneNote is keen to implement - we can't wait!

Another girl I have in Year 11 (age 15) cannot read. She is now using OfficeLens and OneNote to enable her to access the work from all subjects at school. Rather than teachers having to read work to her, she now is becoming independent by scanning the handouts herself in OfficeLens and then using the Learning Tools to read for her.

I love the way it becomes full screen in the immersive reading mode so that there are no other distractions apart from the text. This is huge for many of our students.

I have been working with our Learning Support Department to start to implement these tools so they can help students. Initial feedback is excellent, with staff keen to learn to use OneNote so that in the future they can start using these tools.

Things I think need to happen before we can really roll this out over the school:
It needs to work online. Many of our students do not have their own devices and so online is their only option.
Would love it for iOS so all students can access it.
I would like dictation to work on more than just Windows10. Not everyone is up to date yet.
As students have said, they are keen to also have it on their phones, so they can use them anytime, anywhere.

Links to excellent articles/resources:
Office Blog
Technet Blog
And the most important, the Suggestion Box for OneNote. I only found this in the last week. It's  a great idea and I will be making more suggestions either through here or on the Feedback tabs in the addins.

Looking forward to using this more and more.


  1. Excellent article.I like the way of writing and presenting the information.I am very happy to see this type article.Really enjoy and l like your point of on this topic.Keep sharing.
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  2. Wonderful insight into your work with OneNote. Would you like to contribute to my blog, The Studying With Dyslexia Blog? I am sure that my readers would love to hear about your strategies for supporting dyslexic students. You can contact me on either www.studyingwithdyslexia.blogspot.co.uk or @dyslexiablogger on Twitter. Thanks John

  3. Thanks John, I will get in touch in a day or two - have our school production this week so rather busy the next 2 days! Keen to get in contact.