Three weeks in- welcome to Day 21 of 365 Ideas for Office 365. today we’re taking a field trip to a smart phone near you. The Office Lens app is available in both the App store for iPhones and the Play store for Android devices.
Take better (more useful) pictures
It has a number of functions. First, it takes pictures. I know, so does your camera. But try taking a picture of your Smart board from the side of your room with your camera. Here’s the same picture of a sign I took (I’m at the airport) from the exact same spot, same angle, same distance, with my iPhone’s camera app, and then with the Immersive Reader app.
See what Office Lens does with pictures taken at a really bad angle? It straightens it! I would say that alone is worth the price, but the app is free. So that alone is worth the space the app takes on your phone. Notice it also detected that it was actually the sign I wanted a picture of. The AI usually does a great job of cropping down to the content it thinks you want, but you can totally adjust the crop, either by sliding the sides in and out, or even by dragging a corner In this original image, the sign was in the shape of a trapezoid, so I can crop to any quadrilateral and it will adjust the image into a rectangle.
Multiple saving and sharing options
Once you take the picture, you can then send it to a number of places. I can choose either my personal or work OneDrive, and then simply save the image to OneDrive, or save as a PDF, or send the image directly into a OneNote, Word or PowerPoint.
That’s handy. So is sharing the image directly into Outlook or another email account you set up in Office Lens. But what’s really game-changing is the ability to share any image to Immersive Reader.
Immersive Reader in Office Lens
Here’s what Office Lens did with an image of a page from a book that I’m currently reading (and teaching).
First it straightened and cropped the image, then I tweaked that a little. When I clicked “Done” I got the final image and chose Share to Immersive Reader. I don’t know how to record audio and video on my phone, so I just scrolled down so you could see the whole page. The OCR missed ONE word (master).
Additional Immersive Reader Features
In addition to being able to click Play to read aloud, there are also Text options. I can toggle text spacing on and off and incrementally increase font size, and there are several different color themes, included dark and Irlen Colors.
This means that you can take a picture of absolutely anything that has text – textbooks, handouts, magazines, signs at the airport- anything at all that has text, and open it it Immersive Reader and have al these tools and, of, have it Read Aloud.
This means students don’t have to get up and move to a desktop and all the related stigma to have a device read aloud for them. They can stay at their desk, with their earbuds, and nobody knows they aren’t listening to music. If your students don’t have cell phone s(too young, not allowed, etc.), you can take a picture, add it to OneNote or Word, and share it with students so they can access the fuller Immersive Reader tools available in those apps. Or go full-UDL and just do this with all the text in your classroom and have it available for any students to access as needed. For a video overview I just made for my district on all the features of Immersive Reader, click here. Tomorrow we’ll return to PowerPoint to showcase its amazing versatility.
Looking for more? How about the
Sign up to learn how to go from a complete novice in Teams to using Teams for your complete solution for remote learning.
If you like this style of directions and screenshots, walking you through ideas for using Microsoft tools in your classroom, check out my book,
All the Microsoft Tools You Need to Transform Your Classroom: 50 Ideas for using Microsoft Office 365 for Education available on amazon in both Kindle and paperback.