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Open Culture: a curated collection featuring over 200 free textbooks

Written by Gianfranco D'Aversa.

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Open Culture is basically a curated collection featuring over 200 free textbooks, or what is conventionally referred to as open textbooks.These materials are written by scholars with expertise in their domain. For ease of navigation, the folks in Open Culture have arranged these textbooks into the following categories : Art History, Biology, Business and Management, Chemistry, Classics, Computer Science & Information Systems, Earth Science, Economics & Finance, Education, Electrical Engineering, Engineering, History, Languages, Law, Linguistics, Mathematics, Music, Philosophy, Physics, Political Science, Psychology, Sociology, and System Theory.

You may want to spend sometime browsing through the collection to see what works for you. You can also use this handy keyboard shortcut to help you quickly locate one of the categories mentioned earlier: for Mac users click on Command + F, Windows users click on Ctrl+F to bring up a search box where you can type in a word and locate it in the page. This huge collection is a work-in-progress so make sure you bookmark it for future updates.

PiktoChart: a great Chromebook Tool for creating educational Infographics

Written by Gianfranco D'Aversa.

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PiktoChart is a web-based application that allows you to create beautiful visuals without the need for any prior design knowledge. You can choose from a wide variety of professionally made templates; customize the text, graphics, charts and color of your infographics, add interactive elements such as charts, HTML output then save and publish to social networks or download as an image.

A great tool for creating animated multimedia maps

Written by Gianfranco D'Aversa.

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History in Motion is an interesting tool for teaching and learning history. As a teacher, you can use this tool to create animated multimedia historical scenarios of people and things moving through a historical space and time. Students can use it in their history projects to create animated events using different multimedia materials. For instance, they can ‘make armies move, cities grow, and fires spread’ all along a delineated trajectory on the map. The site provides access to both present and historical maps so students can easily map their scenarios and share them with others using permalinks.

History in Motion is ver easy to use. No programming or digital cartography knowledge is required. With few clicks students will get started designing their animated scenarios. They can also use it to ‘explore a scenario by moving forward and backward in time at your own pace. Hover on events to see a brief description. Click on them to see the full story. If events are happening outside your view of the map, History in Motion places small blue arrow buttons on the edges and/or corners of the map. Just click on any one to re-size the map to see the events in that sector. Watch this video to learn how to create a scenario on History in Motion.

Microsoft Office 365 & Surface Pro Event

Written by Gianfranco D'Aversa.

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Office 365 Education è un insieme di servizi che consentono di collaborare e condividere i progetti scolastici. È disponibile gratuitamente per gli insegnanti che attualmente lavorano un istituto di istruzione e per gli studenti che lo frequentano. Il servizio include Office Online (Word, PowerPoint, Excel e OneNote), 1 TB di spazio di archiviazione di OneDrive, Yammer e siti di SharePoint. Alcuni istituti consentono a insegnanti e studenti di installare gratuitamente le versioni complete delle applicazioni di Office in un totale di 5 PC o Mac. Durante questa sessione di lavoro saranno presentate le potenzialità di Office 365 e Microsoft Surface Pro4, una coppia vincente per tutti i docenti che amano confrontarsi con le nuove tecnologie digitali in classe.

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Quizalize: a great tool for making quiz games

Written by Gianfranco D'Aversa.

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Quizalize is a very good classroom quiz tool. This tool allows teachers to create fun classroom exams or homework. Teachers can see the results live and easily spot students' strengths and weaknesses. The process to create a quiz is simple and easy. After you log in to your account (registration is required, Quizalize is free for individual teachers), go to ‘Your Quizzes’ tab and click on ‘Create a new quiz’. Follow the instructions and type in your data. Once you are done click on ‘Save’ to save your quiz. To assign the quiz to your students click on ‘Set Quiz’ button and enter the name of your class. A unique code will be generated for you to share with students. The students can then go to www.quizal.me and input the class code and their name to access the quiz.

Quizalize has recently added some interesting new features. You can now use sounds in the player, randomise your question order or choose to turn the timer off! Simply click 'play in class' and adjust your settings. Here is a brief overview of of these features:

  • Use Sounds. If this is set to yes, the students will get sounds on their device when playing the quiz.
  • Randomise question order. Give the same questions to all students, but in a different order to each one.
  • Number of questions. Randomly choose a smaller set of questions from all the questions in a quiz (choose how many).
  • Use the timer. If this set to no the timer won’t be shown to students. Correct answers always will score the maximum amount.
  • Show correct answer. Show students the correct answer when a student gets the answer wrong.
  • Show results. Show students the correct answers and the fink report.

Pearltrees: a wonderful social bookmarking and curation tool

Written by Gianfranco D'Aversa.

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Pearltrees is a wonderful social bookmarking and curation tool. Students can use it to curate and organize web content into collections and sub-collections that they can share with others. They can add links, URLs, notes, PDFs, files, docs, photos and arrange them into a digital library to access anywhere they are with Internet connection and across different devices.

Over the years, Pearltrees has added a number of interesting features that make it one of the best curation web tools out there. One of our favourite features is called Remix. This is a suite of editing tools that allow you to personalize your collected content the way you like. It lets you annotate web pages, change and reformat text in a webpage, add captions to videos and images, illustrate your notes and many more. Additionally, Pearltrees offers some good collaborative features that let you collaborate with others on your favourite topics and discover collections others have shared.

Pearltrees is available for the web, Android, iPad, and as a Chrome extension. Pearltrees is free to download and use. Pearltrees premium adds additional features and is available through an auto-renewing subscription.

Check out this videos to learn more about Pearltrees.  

New Book Creator: a wonderful feature for creating comic eBooks for your Class

Written by Gianfranco D'Aversa.

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The popular app Book Creator has recently released its latest update called Book Creator 4.0 which comes with amazing functionality that bring comic creation to schools and beyond. Teachers and students are now able to easily create beautiful comic books and share them with each other. Using a simple and intuitive interface, students choose from a variety of professionally designed comic templates, add stickers, speech bubbles, photos and captions to create their comic eBooks. Watch the video below to learn more about how to use Book Creator to create a comic eBook. 

Using Book Creator, you will will be to:

  • Create books on your iPad with an easy-to-use interface
  • Apply rich formatting with over 100 fonts to choose from
  • Add photos and video or record your own audio
  • Draw and annotate your book with the pen tool
  • Choose comic layouts and use the library of fonts, stickers and shapes
  • Open your books in iBooks and share them with friends
  • ePub format enables you to publish your work on Apple's iBooks Store

Watch THIS VIDEO to see Book Creator in action.

A simple tool to create stunning video animations for your class

Written by Gianfranco D'Aversa.


Biteable is a web-based tool that allows you to create beautiful explainer videos to share with your students. Explainer videos are short animated clips that make use of a wide variety of visuals and multimedia materials to communicate a message in a concise and comprehensible way. You probably have already seen some examples of Explainer videos on ads played on YouTube, several companies use this kind of videos to advertise their products.

However, as a teacher, you can create explainer videos to explain key concepts, create instructional guides and tutorials to share with students and many more. You don’t need advanced video editing skills to use Biteable. The process is simple and easy. You simply select an animation style from Biteable’s template gallery, edit the text and colours, the add photos and music. When your are done editing your video, click on ‘Email Me My Video’ and your video will be created in a matter of minutes.

Biteable is free to use. Videos created in the free version are watermarked. To remove the watermark you need to go premium.

Watch this video to see Biteable in action.

Gianfranco D'Aversa

Mexico City // Rome // Foggia


Work with me

Writing this blog has given me the opportunity to work with some great people in the education community. I cannot accept every invitation that I receive, but I do give serious consideration to all invitations. If you are interested in having me speak at your School, College or Conference please use the email addresses below (Contacts) or complete and send this Form.

Thank you very much for your interest in my profile.


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