Monthly Archives: April 2020

Office 365 User Adoption Episode 11: Supporting Students with SEN and EAL with Office 365

In this podcast, we spoke with James Emmet, Network Manager at Engineering UTC North Lincolnshire about how they use features in Office 365 to support students with Special Education Needs (SEN) and English as an Additional Language (EAL).




Listen on Spotify

“We have a high number of students who are EAL, SEN, dyslexic and have low reading ages. I passionately believe that – when used in the right way – ICT is one of the most crucial tools to help these students with their learning,” James tells us.

“Our school’s main intake starts from Year 9, so it’s not long after they start before, we have to start prepping them for their GCSEs. Office 365 and key tools like Immersive Reader are essential for helping these students to learn.”

Immersive Reader is a free tool built into many of the Microsoft Products, including Microsoft Word.

“Using Immersive Reader, students can change the style and appearance of the text to help with reading comprehension,” James explains.

“For example, you can change the font, text size, text spacing and even create a virtual coloured overlay.”

Meanwhile, Picture Dictionary, the Translate tool and Read Aloud are particularly handy for supporting EAL students.

Picture Dictionary allows students to select a word they may not understand and view an explainer image, while Read Aloud turns the text on the page into speech for the student to listen to.

Both of these, combined with the Translate tool, are invaluable when it comes to improving reading comprehension in the classroom.

“We have found that Immersive Reader is being used by all of our students, not only those with EAL and SEN. In fact, one of our GCSE students who is predicted a level 7 in English regularly uses Immersive Reader to break down texts and closely analyse them,” James adds.

Immersive Reader also enables students to highlight word types, such as nouns and verbs, as well as break sentences down into syllables, which both students and their teachers have found useful for English and language-focused subjects.

“Because Immersive Reader is already built into many of the Microsoft products, we have not had to spend any extra time rolling it out into classrooms,” he tells us.

“It’s really taken off in our school. For example, we demonstrated the tool to one student and by the next lesson, the rest of their class were using it.”

The great thing about Office 365 and Immersive Reader is that it works on any connected device. Of course, this capability is more important than ever before as we see many children learning from home.

“We love the fact that Office 365 can be accessed via multiple devices and actively encourage our students to use their own devices or one from our bank of iPads. It gives their learning an extra boost.”

To find out more about Office 365 for Education, get in touch with a member of our team today.

An Update From the Cloud Design Box Team on Covid-19

In light of the recent Covid-19 outbreak, we’ve put together a short article on the free resources we’ve been working hard to create and share with you.

Like many businesses, we’re now operating fully remotely and still available to support our existing clients, as well as any other schools, multi-academy trusts and businesses who need a helping hand during this difficult time.

Before the pandemic, part of our team already worked from home, so we have been privileged enough to be able to make the smooth transition to remote working.

We’re also very lucky in the sense that the tools we specialise in – Microsoft Teams, Office 365 and SharePoint – are built for collaboration and keeping people connected.

While we already used these tools in our day-to-day business, they have become even more invaluable in driving collaboration and allowing us to stay connected as a team. Here’s a screenshot of one of our recent Teams calls.

Cloud Design Box Meeting

As you may have seen if you follow us on social media, or have signed up to our newsletter, we have been publishing free resources to help you create virtual lessons, access remote learning and use Teams to stay connected with your class.

We’ve recently published a guide for teachers on presenting remote lessons using Teams.


blog post

On top of this, our Student and Parent Guide to Teams is a great one to share with your class if any families are struggling to get to grips with homeschooling.


another blog guide

And, as always, we’re keeping up with our regular podcast, which offers insights into all the tools Office 365 for Education offers. You can access all episodes via our YouTube channel.

Meanwhile, for the IT teams in schools, we have a blog on useful PowerShell Scripts for managing classes in Teams, as well as a free training Web Part and Teams tab package to guide you through using Teams, SharePoint and Office 365.

free web part and teams tab package

As you can imagine, we’ve been working with lots of schools to ensure their transition to remote teaching is as frictionless as possible. If you have been in touch with us recently, we really appreciate your patience when it comes to resolving issues and providing support. It’s an extremely busy time for us and we wish to continue to support you all in the best possible way.

If you do have any questions, or would like some guidance on using Office 365, SharePoint and Microsoft Teams for your school, multi-academy trust or business, please feel free to get in touch.