OneNote makes learning accessible for all – Jeff Petty, USA

Jeff Petty, Principle Program Manager, Accessibility
Daniel Hubbell, Senior Program Manager, Accessibility
Microsoft Corporation Seattle
Washington, USA

For students with unique learning needs – and their teachers – one-size-fits-all education tools don’t always work. It’s not a small problem. In fact, an estimated 1 in 5 students are dealing with dyslexia, and over 70 percent of classrooms have special education students or readers that span four or more grade levels. But thanks to the efforts of Microsoft’s Accessibility team, and team members like Jeff Petty and Daniel Hubbell, educators now have help.

Last year, we spoke with Jeff and his teammate Kevin Larson, when they won the Microsoft-wide Hack-a-thon for creating the OneNote for Learning Literacy toolbar.

And while Jeff, Daniel and team have worked on many accessibility tools, including inclusive classroom technology like Learning Tools for OneNote, they’re particularly excited about the new immersive reader.

“I don’t think there are any other tools that are out there that go beyond aiding with decoding and go straight after improving reading comprehension for everyone,” Petty notes. “If you’re reading a long document, it helps you sustain focus. If you’re an English language learner, it helps you to hear things aloud, and if you’re somebody who has a learning difference like dyslexia, the benefits of multi-sensory processing are fairly well researched and proven. This can be critical for decoding information.”

Based on direct feedback from educators and students, Microsoft’s accessibility team continues to expand the capabilities and availability of the tools that help students of all abilities be successful, and we look forward to seeing what they come up with next.

To learn more about building an inclusive classroom from Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert Robin Lowell, click here.

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