Today, Microsoft joins in marking the sixth Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD), a day dedicated to raising awareness around accessibility in the digital world. In honor of this day and to help create more inclusive school and classroom environments, the Microsoft Education Team would like to encourage all educators to explore a new Microsoft Educator Community training course, brought to you by Microsoft Innovative Educators who work in Special Education.
There are lots of technologies and resources available to help you make learning environments more inclusive and accessible. With a few easy clicks, you can access quality content, efficiently and independently, without having to ask for it. Below you will find 10 ways every educator can make classrooms and learning more accessible for all students with Office 365.
1. Understand why accessible content matters
As teachers, you can be proactive and build content for students with accessibility in mind, from the beginning. You might think this isn’t required in your class right now, because no student has requested an accommodation in your class, but this could be because students don’t like to stand out. Disabilities can be invisible, can occur at any time, and for varying durations, so it is likely that you will have a student or parent who will benefit from accessible content.
Watch the introductory video: Creating accessible classroom content in Office 365
2. Create well-structured content in Word
Headings and Researcher are tools in Word that allow teachers to create well-structured content in a variety of ways. For example, you can use headings to create sections for a paper, help a student break down an assignment into manageable parts, or create a quick table of contents.
Watch the video: Using Headers and Researcher to create content in Word
3. Create content that is clear, concise and accessibility checked
Teachers know that creating content goes beyond just getting ideas down on paper and that creating well-written documents, that look and sound professional, are very important. Editor in Word will help you and your students create content that is clear and concise. Also, following accessibility best practices is key to creating professional content. By adding Alt Text for images and fixing any errors flagged by Accessibility Checker, you can create content that is easier to follow for students with visual impairments.
Watch the video: Creating content with Word
4. Make PowerPoint slides easy to navigate
PowerPoint is the go-to resource for many teachers, for both educator and student presentations. However, students with visual impairments, color blindness, or dyslexia often struggle with navigating and using slide decks.
Learn some strategies that will help you and your students create content accessible for all users. , so no need to recreate your content.
Watch the video: Creating accessible content in PowerPoint
5. Convey information in multiple formats with PowerPoint
Teachers often use PowerPoint to present new information to students and to keep themselves on track while they teach. These slide decks can also be utilized by students before or after a lesson individually, especially if it is located somewhere convenient, like the OneNote Class Notebook. Accommodate audiences with a range of vision, hearing, mobility and cognitive abilities by including videos, captions, graphics with sufficient color contrast, and text with sufficient font size in your slides.
Watch the video: Creating visually accessible content with PowerPoint
6. Use templates to ensure sufficient font size and color contrast
Templates are that teachers create content that is likely to be accessible to everyone. There are many free, accessible templates available in Word and PowerPoint – just do a search starting with the keyword “accessible.” Templates can also help give students a starting point and help them focus on the content, as opposed to formatting or where to begin.
Watch the video: Creating accessible content using templates
7. Digitize content with Office Lens
Some of the best lessons favored by teachers are often self-created with materials from a variety of resources. Some might be from an old magazine, book, article, or curriculum housed in a folder on the shelf. There are physical pieces of paper that end up getting copied off as a handout for students. Unfortunately, these documents are not accessible to all. With Office Lens, a mobile app from Microsoft with Optical Character Recognition, you can easily transfer most to the digital realm and let students format the text to suit their needs through Immersive Reader.
Watch the video: Digitizing content with Office Lens
8. Update existing content with OneNote and OneNote Class Notebook
Many classrooms are going completely paperless by using OneNote Class Notebook – teachers, students and even parents are loving it. Students have access to all materials and information at their fingertips at all times, with no heavy backpacks or misplaced work. Now is the time to go back and ensure that all your materials are accessible for all your students. This video look at ways to make your existing content accessible, without you having to recreate everything.
Watch the video: Updating existing content with OneNote
If you are looking for a strong example of how one educator is creating inclusive classrooms with the help of OneNote, see this story by Jameson Lee, Assistive Technology Coordinator of Special Education at Catholic District School Board in Eastern Ontario. And if you’re already using OneNote, you’ll want to catch up on our latest updates that improve its usability, navigation and consistency across devices.
9. Create live content with Skype and Skype Translator
Skype is a fantastic tool for students and teachers to be able to connect with others across the globe. But did you know that Skype can also be used within your own class to help ensure that live content is accessible to all – with options to automatically transcribe and translate conversations? There are so many opportunities for teachers to use this great tool and help all students meet their learning goals without interruption.
Watch the video: Creating live content with Skype and Skype Translator
10. Take the training on Microsoft Educator Community & share your stories
There are so many opportunities for teachers to impact the life of a student in positive ways. By relying on the tips you’ll see in this course and Office 365 for Education, you can transform your curriculum easily as you move forward.
Take the course now: https://aka.ms/accessiblecontenttraining
Do you have some tips for other teachers on how you’ve developed inclusive habits in your lessons? Do you have a story about a student with a unique disability who inspired changes in your teaching? If so, please, share your own tips in the comments section of the course above.
We even have a poster for you to print and hang on the walls or your school or classroom, acting as a constant reminder about some of the tips discussed here and in the course.
View and Download the Infographic – Print it yourself and hang it as a poster to remind your educators and students about accessible practices: https://aka.ms/reimagineaccessiblecontent.
We welcome your feedback
Let us know if you enjoyed this article and we'll share similar content