My son just finished grade six. It hardly seems possible that he is preparing to start grade seven in the fall.

Even though it was a million years ago (okay, not a million…but several), I remember the transition into grade seven very well. It meant switching to a new school, getting my first locker and being assigned a gym uniform for the first time.

Advancing to grade seven today means being assigned your own tablet*, learning usernames and passwords to access the many online services required, and of course getting that notorious gym uniform. Technology has dramatically changed how children learn, not just in grade seven but in all of the grades. Students can tackle research quickly from their computers or tablets and they can collaborate on group projects using technology.

Students with special needs can especially benefit from the technology available today. Microsoft is working with the Toronto District School Board to help students with special needs work to their full potential with the use of assistive technology.



While all students can benefit from this program, students who have dyslexia, ADHD and other learning disabilities can especially benefit from the program. The software helps them to get organized so that they can focus on learning without distraction.

Angie Scarano-Iuorio, Assistive Technology Central Coordinator with the TDSB, has launched an internal taskforce that provides resources, training and workshops to help teachers incorporate technology into their classrooms. Part of this is initiative is the Microsoft OneNote project, which helps students with learning disabilities prepare for their transition to high school and help to redefine student success at the TDSB.

How OneNote helps students:

  1. When using One Note, students can take notes faster by creating keyboard shortcuts and also by customizing the tool bar for their specific needs.  It keep all of their information in one place and accessible to them wherever they might be.
  2. They can also take notes while recording lectures that can be played back whenever they need to hear them.
  3. OneNote also saves automatically which is very helpful and the search feature is extremely easy to use.
  4. A student can have all of their classes tabbed at the top and then subsets of the tab (just like a regular binder) on the right to access or add any information needed for the classes.
  5. Many students who have accessibility issues feel unorganized and they stress so much over this problem, they realize how much OneNote can help them and they feel empowered.
  6. Beyond school they can take these skills post-graduation into a work setting and can help them do tasks such as: put proposals together, create business plans, work on engineering designs, and develop lesson plans etc.
  7. Educators and therapists also love this program because they can add all of their students on this program and keep most of their information organized adding in their students’ papers, presentations, assessments, and they can even develop a grading system into the program.
  8. Therapists can add a list of the students they service and comprehensive information about the therapy they are receiving, while incorporating the children’s various schedules into the file. They can even chart the students’ progress by using the data and graphing tools.

Overall, the program can be excellent for all children, especially those who have special needs. For parents like myself who plan to homeschool next year, OneNote could be an extremely valuable resource to consider.

*This applies to my local schools and obviously not all grade seven classes.



Influencer at Kidsumers
Sheri McDonald is a family lifestyle blogger who has been sharing her parenting and travel adventures online for the past eight years. You can find her discovering the world with her children when she's not at home enjoying a good book.


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