Throughout this series, I've been sharing my excitement about blended learning and the advantages of having fabulous curricula available in both print and digital modes. In Part 3 of the series, we’ll dive deeper into the personalization tools and how they can be applied in the classroom.
OneNote and Open Education Resources (OER) curricula is the ideal combination for personalization in a blended learning environment. OER materials must be able to be reproducible, repurposed, reimagined, and redistributed; and in digital mode, these things are not only easier, but the process is streamlined. I feel, based on all of my experience and research, Microsoft offers the best solutions for students and teachers without hacking, smashing, or finding work-arounds. Let me show you what I mean...
Immersive Reader is a learning tool available through Microsoft and is built into OneNote. If you are looking for a way to make text accessible, multilingual, and with reading research-based options, then you need to check this out. Students can customize their reading experience based on needs and preferences without the stigma attached; there are no outward signs their text is different from others; all customizations appear on their screen only.
Students can personalize reading with text size, spacing, font, and color options. Text size and background color contrasts have been shown to increase readability for students who are visually impaired or are diagnosed with dyslexia. And even though some may cringe at the sight of “Comic Sans” font option, research shows its design, which produces a distinct shape for each letter, makes it easier to recognize by readers. Plus, the “a” is depicted how the letter is actually taught to be written.
Immersive Reader can also be used to support comprehension by personalizing syllable identification and parts of speech. When students are able to recognize patterns and identify phonemes, pronunciation and transfer of vocabulary occur more rapidly. If students are working to improve comprehension by using context clues, being able to locate the subject and verb in a sentence brings them one step closer to understanding what they read. This learning tool allows users to do just that.
When I provide text to my students in their native language, it helps build relationships and lets them know I value them as individuals. It also builds upon their prior language learning, allowing students to make connections both visually and through listening. Use Microsoft Translator to read or listen to text in over 100 different languages. Students can also flip between the original text and translated version or use the picture dictionary in both languages while reading to build vocabulary and comprehension.
Personalizing learning in a blended learning environment has benefits for both students and teachers. From accessing content in ways that meets students’ needs and skills, to being able to annotate and digitally ink math manipulatives; one thing is certain, OneNote is a hard platform to beat.
For more discussion and recommendations on how OneNote is being used in the classroom, check out our online Professional Learning Communities.