Ensure inclusive and accessible distance learning with free tools from Microsoft
Published Apr 16 2020 09:00 AM 8,503 Views

During this time of a worldwide jump into distance learning, ensuring that all students of all abilities can access tools and content is more important than ever. Many students must now learn from home, and remotely, and many students that may have had additional assistance in their school often don’t have access to those same resources.


Microsoft Education wants to ensure  that all students, parents, guardians and educators are aware of and have access to the free inclusive tool and training materials across reading, writing, math and communication.  Microsoft incorporates the principles of inclusive design in all of our education software to ensure our tools meet the needs of all learners.  We like to say our tools are built-in, mainstream, non-stigmatizing and free.  A great starting point is our broad categorized list of all of our Microsoft accessibility tools in this Sway.  In addition be sure to check out this recent blog titled Tips for your at-home students with disabilities from Microsoft's Chief Accessiblity officer, Jenny Lay-Flurrie.


Microsoft Learning Tools for the inclusive classroom

Microsoft Education has a set of learning tools for the inclusive classroom than span reading, writing math and communication. These tools are built natively into all of our products, including Teams, OneNote, Flipped, Minecraft, Forms, Word, PowerPoint and more.  To help educators, parents, and students more easily learn and understand how these capabilities work together, we have a set of training resources, videos and other useful guides to help get started.





Immersive Reader
The Immersive Reader has been on of the most popular tools to help with inclusive reading.  We have some great resources to help you learn about the Immersive Reader. These include:

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Quick tips video  for the inclusive classroom

This is a helpful YouTube playlist of short 1-2 minute Quick Tips videos to help educators, students or parents get up and running quickly: https://aka.ms/InclusiveClassroomQuickTips 



In addition, Alice Keeler also has a great YouTube playlist of :30 to :45 second videos on the free Accessibility tools from Microsoft.  


Quick tips videos - English Language Learners and Their Families

We also have a quick tips YouTube playlist for English Language Learners (ELL) and their families. You can explore that Playlist here: https://aka.ms/ELLPD 


Interactive Guides

Some of the most popular and sharable ways to ramp up quickly is to use our web-based, free, interactive training guides.  We’ve made interactive click-through guides for each of the four categories of our tools across reading, writing, math and communication.  These guides are easily sharable and are popular with educators, parents, students, and school leaders.  We’ve created a guide for each topic, with links below:


Picture of 4 interactive guidesPicture of 4 interactive guides


In Depth Microsoft Learning Tools webinar

I recently recorded  an in-depth YouTube webinar titled Learning Tools for the Inclusive Classroom that covers Microsoft Learning tools in-depth.  You can watch as I show each of scenario in detail.


We hope you are able to use these free tools and resources as you do distance learning, whether an educators, student, or family member helping a students.  If you have questions or feedback, please don't hesitate to reach out!


Mike Tholfsen

Product Manager, Microsoft Education



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‎Apr 16 2020 06:08 PM
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