sabato 30 gennaio 2016

Editing and publishing ebooks

How to create   e-books   and which platforms you can choose on line

This post is about my recent EVO 2016 e-book session  - you  can see more details online

 I have just learnt how to approach writing, editing and publishing an e-book.
After considering the type of book I wanted to write and brainstorming content and main topics of the book I had to think about which e-book creator I wanted to use. I had never written an e-book before so I had to try the different platforms online. I wanted to try something which was free so I tried to work on some of the  tools  which   were  suggested by Shelly Sanchez and the tutors in the course.
I had already bookmarked this collection thanks to Pearltress-  :

Book Creators, by smberdaxagar

Then I used what the tutors in the course had  suggested us. I tried the following  platforms- before using them I had to create an account, I chose a free account for all the e-book creators on line.


It is free- if you want you can upgrade to have more services- but the free account  offers the basic functions. You can  edit an e-book in an easy way: just upload the pdf document/or the document that you created online by using also Google slides  and  any link and videos which you chose in the book will appear. The  book  will be published in a short time. The document can be deleted if you are not happy with the final output.  You have unlimited  number of documents which can be uploaded. The ebook can be shared on line and can be embedded in your website.
This is my first attempt: to read it just click on Read now then click on the first image and move the pages  : you will have more pages and the links for the websites and videos will open online

The book can be shared on line on Social Networks and you can send the links to  people. It is a pity that it cannot be printed or downloaded. You should therefore have a backup copy of the book as you might lose the book once the publisher closes down.  


I was able to upload a first document online and it seemed to work as I could  have links and videos which opened - this is a trial for my lesson about the Holocaust :

I uploaded a pdf file and it worked for the first document. I could not upload  the second one.  It cannot be downloaded, people need to read it online  and you need to keep a file of the book in your computer if the publisher does not  offer the service anymore.

3)     Widbook              

This is a nice  tool but you need to work on line.  You can change your chapters and what I liked  were the videos which can be seen in the book . You can have the links which open easily. You need to keep the main notes of the links and of anything that you write because if you upload the pdf it will not be easy to work on the pages which you want to edit. 
If you want to collaborate with another  person you can do it but  the person needs to have an account.  You can embed the book in your  website/ blog.  You  cannot download the e.-book.


This is a nice tool online.  I have tried to upoload my presentation for an EVO CLIL lesson. I had edited the document by using Google docs, then I uploaded the document as pdf. The document can be seen here embedded, it can be seen online and you can enable students to  download it as  a pdf.
For another document I could not have the links open, in this case I was able to get links to videos, my padlets and also all the documents online.
The basic account offers you to publish/upload 1,000 uploads per month, there is also a storage which is  20 Giga for a free account. 

To conclude I would say that both  Issuu  and  Flipthlm5 are great tools. Flipthlm5 has also a bookcase where you can embed your e-books and showcase it in your website.  Fliphthlm5 is better because students can also download the e-book in  pdf.

This is the link to my    bookcase   on  line  :                                                                                                                     

I will try  to use  both  of them and I will share the  links but the material which I am going to use for my first e-book  will be saved in pdf and online thanks to Google slides and Google docs.

I hope that more free e-book creators will help me develop the e-book I am still trying to write.  All these tools do not offer much interaction so I will have to create activities in the cloud and also support for my students.  I think that only  a good LMS can help us devise all the tasks which  I have in mind and which cannot be covered while  reading and studying by using an e-book.


giovedì 14 gennaio 2016


Learning  English Vocabulary on Line

Thanks to modern technology we can all learn new words in  a foreign  language. There are a lot of modern apps that we can find and download on our  mobile phones.
After searching online for new websites  I  came across a lot of useful dictionaries, visual dictionaries which are worth sharing and using. There are also a lot of games that can help our students.
This is the beginning of my research to implement my teaching and my online learning, it will become part of an e-book that I would like to share with my students. I will embed it in my websites so that  I can have a list of my favourite tools online.

domenica 10 gennaio 2016

EVO 2016

                                                              EVO   2016 
Evo means Electronic Village Online, you can access more information about the courses on line by following this link:

I decided to choose two courses and I am so pleased to have enrolled as the communities online can develop great ideas and  offer great support. Caring is sharing and I hope to learn from the others and to provide also help to the others.  As an English language  teacher  EVO is probably a must because it is a free event online which lasts 5 weeks!

To have an idea of the  courses which are  offered just follow the presentations on line and the websites provided.For courses the first step is to register and then there are close groups on Google communities  which collect the participants' links, debates and more, they are closed groups so we do need to register :

EVO is run by  TESOL- -  and it offers collaborative online discussions thanks to virtual professional workshops that are organized in the different  courses.
Each course lasts for five weeks and is run by experts who volunteer in each session.
Courses are in English and they cover different topics from copyrights, to MOODLE, to writing e-books and CLIL.

When: 10th January - 14th February 2015 

Here you can find a presentation by Janet Bianchini who presented her experience online thanks to the different  courses where she had been involved   and which she presented us last year. I must confess that I started to follow her on Twitter and that I can admire her as she is such a great tutor online and provides supports and lots of ideas. 
Link online : 

 These are two courses which I chose to do this  year :


The tutors are Italian and  most of the teachers are Italian  as the Italian Departe of Education has introduced CLIL in the school curriculum

I would like to learn about  CLIL as I could be interested in becoming  a facilitator in schools . It involves  non language teachers but  teachers need the help of English language  teachers.


I could not resist because the  Tutor is  Shelly Terrell. She is one of the best teachers we have and so engaging when she works online!

We were provided with a  great syllabus online and I love this tutor because she is engaging and loves her job!

The journey has just begun....................... I will write about this experience online and will provide links with the interesting things I have learnt.

lunedì 4 gennaio 2016

Coaching Digital Learning MoocEd Autumn 2015


Reflecting on the MOOC

The world of education is changing  rapidly.This is happening in many English-speaking countries like the USA and Australia, and also Italy has started a lot of innovations and  digital skills are now central in many  schools. Educators are now following a lot of thinkers and educators working in many different parts of the world. Working online and learning about the best practices is now part of the PLN of teachers.  The revolution of Internet has now reshaped the world of education thanks to a magic  world " sharing online"
The MOOC course which was run by Friday Institute New York presented a lot of interesting ideas as regards how  schools should enhance digital learning among teachers. The main important ideas expressed by the tutors had to do with a lot of interesting  points which should be taken into consideration by coaches, teachers, school directors and districts who need to work on a plan aiming at implementing schools with digital skills. The great effort must be shared and it requires  a lot of ideas, plans and also some good  knowledge into the new tools that today we can use in education. The plans need revision, checking and also sharing ideas among educators.
This is an interesting presentation online made by using the tool Thinglink  that can help us understand what DIGITAL LEARNING  means: it is a new world where  we are asked to enter as educators, teachers and people who have  to work with children, students and people who are working and learning online.    

If a school needs innovation and a new approach to teaching and learning we do need to work on different points which require considerations:

- technology
- pedagogy
- content

This framework- known as TPACK has been presented by the tutors with lots of interesting web links. The  use of Internet is a great tool that can help us develop teaching units and new ways of working. 

It is also important to think about the tools we want to use and why we choose them.  Assessment becomes crucial and we were provided with  tools and ideas about the best ways for evaluation online in the discussions and in the videos online. 

Educators need to be aware of the importance of digital skills and the tutors presented them, how they can help us work and great relevance was given to establishing a network of educators who share ideas and experiences online.
A coach has the role of devising a plan for the school and the district in which he or she is working.  Coaches need to support teams of teachers who work on themselves to implement their teaching and can enhance education and help their students in the path of digital skills.

Personally, I would like to work on digital skills as they are important for the life of my students, but we do need to develop the internet access in my school and to work on self-development as money is a great problem and we will only do this by the end of this school year.  It is a pity that I cannot work on different activities because I could differentiate the students' learning and provide more feedback in their process of learning. I can only devise some activities online where they are asked to watch videos and understand them. PBL could offer a teaching solution but at present it is not possible as some students do not have internet or a PC at home.  If they had  internet and a tablet or a pc they could work online and make researches and presentations online to be shared and be embedded in a diary online or in a website or blog. They could develop their skills by working in class and also at home.

This is the padlet where I kept the links and the information shared by the teachers in the MOOC and which I think are worth sharing.

There will be more MOOCs in 2016 and I might decide to work on my plan as required in the final activity to be submitted by  30th November 2015.

I think that such activities online can  make us think about the importance of working online, sharing ideas and  continue self-development  as education is changing and will continue changing in the next years. Digital skills are now a must for our students.  

domenica 3 gennaio 2016

The Holocaust

                                           THE  HOLOCAUST
Last year I did some MOOCs  by following the  European websites  and  Futurelearn
The first one is  a  European  MOOC platform that provides courses for educators who need to upgrade their  technology skills and aims at improving the  digital skills of teachers.  The second platform is an interesting virtual learning environment where people can learn about  History, Literature, Languages and also Blended Learning. If you check online you will see a lot of interesting courses that are planned for this year. 
I did some interesting course with Futurelearn in autumn  and in winter  and I must say that the course about the Holocaust was really interesting as I learnt more about the events that led to the atrocities of the second world war, but I particularly liked the MOOC on Blended Learning as I could learn more about the way I can work online.
I wanted to use some content and the new tools and so I worked on a teaching unit about the Holocaust.
To prepare my classes for 27 January- when we will remember the liberation of Auschwitz-  I worked online and created some web pages for my students together with some readings and videos to explain what happened in the concentration camps and why.
I tried to use the tools which I have used so far and I also learned how to create my e-book, it is only a leaflet- with the lesson for my students.
Most of what I have presented relies on the great activities of sharing materials which we can now have thanks to internet and also to the new web tools which we can now use and  which are free.   
First of all, here you can find some information about  the tools which I used:
- my  website  which I started in September 2015 where I created it and all the web pages  thanks to Google, just  see the web page online for this activity:   
-  youtube videos for presenting the people  who experienced the concentration camps and the holocaust- I selected two people who talked about what they saw
-   a digital platform where I uploaded my unit and embedded it in my web page. I just had to write the unit about the Holocaust using  google doc or  a  word editor by adding the image and the web links for the videos and the resources. The book can be seen online and it can be shared  and printed

This is my leaflet online:

- internet research online about more materials about the Holocaust and I must confess that thanks to social media now you can find a lot of documents, videos, photos and presentations. I used Google search engine and , in particular,  Slideshare

I also embedded some interesting materials in the other web pages:
from Pearltrees where I had collected a lot of web links for my students and for further research:

there is also a second web page with the slides about the Holocaust and WW2 which I embedded from
- a video presentation created with Zaption
Here is the link to the activity which I found online- it is about the protagonist Lily who remembers her past :

Here is my activity online for the course which I had done about Blended Learning with Futurelearn: it was my first idea about how to introduce the Holocaust in class this year.
I have added a poem " Memento "by S.Spender in the unit: it is an interesting poem that reminds us about the importance of remembering what happened.

Here is the poem which I have included in the  unit:

The use of padlets in education is very popular now in the UK and also in Europe. I have used padlet
 for my learning diaries online and I would like to use this tool with my students. A problem is internet access at school. That's the main reason why I have created the framework for the activities online but only some activities can be carried out online in my school. I will, therefore,ask my students to work also from home and do their activities for the unit at home.  I rely on their work as teaching English only  3 hours a week and having to cope with lots of students who have difficulties in listening and writing  requires a special teacher who thinks about the best ways to  help them.
The videos are from Youtube and can be saved and seen also offline.

The activities I have devised are part of the presentation to the school trip that my 4th and 5th-year classes will make in March and they will visit a concentration camp and learn more about the Holocaust.
My idea is to ask them to write something in English about the visit and to  create a document online where each student can share his or her feelings about what they have learnt.
All the tools I have used are free and they only require internet access and an email for registration. What  I have done can be shared as both the book editor and padlet  have links for the works.