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MS Office 10

I got a new version of Office during a computer reset in my office and went right to using it. It was going along fine, till I wanted to use the Executive Summary tool to analyze some text and couldn't find the tool. In checking online, indeed it is to no longer be included with Office. This to me is an accessibility issue in development. As an educator when I have a student with special needs one of the first things that I try to do is get the textbook being used in a digital format. With digital there are many things that can be done, such as varying the print size to using text-to-speech. One thing that I have often also done is to use the summary tool to create differentiated versions of the text, from the basic facts summary, to summary and detail, to the whole chapter. Being able to quickly get a summary of a chapter is a great learning tool. I've contacted Microsoft to ask why it was removed and to see if there will be some way to have it as an add-on, but as yet have only heard that my message will be passed on. The summary tool has been a great digital textbook resource to use with students to help them read the content and learn how to decode the important elements of the text. To read more about how effective summaries are take a look Reder & Anderson's research titled "A Comparison of Text and Their Summaries: Memorial Consequences."

The abstract reads:
Chapters from college textbooks in diverse fields were compared with summaries constructed to convey the main points. A series of studies demonstrate consistent advantages for summaries. Summaries maintained their advantages at retention intervals of 20 minutes, 1 week, and 6 to 12 months. Summaries were superior both for questions directly taken from the text and for inference questions that required the subject to combine facts that had been studied. A transfer task looked at ability to learn new, related material as a function of how the pervious material was learned. Summaries yielded better transfer. Reaction time differences showed the same pattern as percentage correct. Summaries maintained their superiority even when the main points of the text were underlined.

Lets all encourage Microsoft to make the summary tool available.

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