Tuesday, 25 February 2014

For teachers - Educanon to create interactive videos

I love using videos in my classes and with the following tool I can even create my own interactive videos

With Educanon you can choose a video from the web (YouTube, Vimeo, or TeacherTube videos) and embed anything you like. You can  transform what is traditionally passive content into an active experience for students.

You can:
(1) Build. You can add questions, lesson information, paste a video or a url directly INTO any video.
(2) Assign. You can create your class(es) and assign lessons.
(3) Monitor. You can watch student progress in real-time, question-by-question.

The following simple example I made for you is in preview mode (I didn't create my own class). In the actual student lesson, students cannot fast-forward or skip parts. Moreover, when they are asked to answer some questions, they can write in a blank space that you cannot see in the preview mode.

Watch my example: 

An invitation to visit Britain:

I think Educanon it's perfect to create your own video lessons in flipped and blended learning environments.Try it!

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Travelling into Italian culture - Puglia

Puglia (or Apulia) is the "heel" of Italy.

Click on the following Thinglink image I've created to have some information:

I've also created a  presentation with Blendspace . You can find videos, pictures, recipes and information about Apulia: 



And now some information by my students about their town:
In this blog we usually travel around the world and study different cultures, now we want to talk about ourselves! Our school is in Gioia del Colle, Puglia. It literally means "Joy of the Hill" and it is located on the Murge plateau at 360 metres above the sea level.
There is a famous Castle, built in the 12th century, during the time of Norman Count Riccardo Siniscalco d'Altavilla. Destroyed by William the Wicked of Sicily, the castle was rebuilt in 1230 by Emperor Frederick II.

Gioia del Colle is famous for its fantastic "mozzarella"!

This is our school

At the following link you can have some information about some monuments of Gioia del Colle:

Come and visit Puglia!!

Monday, 17 February 2014

Carnival in Italy

Carnival  occurs just before Lent and typically involves street  parades. People often dress up or masquerade during Carnival celebrations and parties.

In this post I'm showing you three important Italian Carnivals.


The Carnival of Venice (Veneto)
was first recorded in the 13th century but Venice has only been "the city of Carnival" since the 18th century, when people from all over Europe came to its fantastic parties. Recently there has been a great revival of the Venetian carnival. In the city there are a lot of parties, dancing and costumes parades. 

The Carnival of Viareggio  (Tuscany)
It was born in 1873 as a masquerade event for the rich bourgeois in their discontent at having to pay a too-high tax price. Through the course of time its principal characteristic has become its enormous, animated papier-mache floats. On these floats that parade along the coast of Viareggio, big caricatures of the political, cultural and showbiz names dominate.

The Carnival  of Putignano (Apulia)
is famous for the spectacular parade of papier-mache floats. It starts the day after Christmas and finishes the day before the ash Wednesday.
The figure that represents the Carnival of Putignano is "Farinella". The name derives from Farinella, a chickpea and barley flour which is the ancient food of country workers.
In July  there is a 'summer edition' of the Carnival. 

Have a look at the following information I've put on Thinglink about these three Italian cities. Moreover I've added on Thinglink some videos I've mixed up with Metta. Enjoy!

View the presentation:
(once you open Thinglink, click on the links of the image)

And now, could you find some information about some other famous carnivals in the world? You could  make a presentation using some of the tools I showed you! Have fun!

Saturday, 15 February 2014

New York

“The city seen from the Queensboro Bridge
 is always the city seen for the first time, 
in its first wild promise of all the mystery
 and the beauty in the world.”
F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

Top ten New York travel attractions:

New York skyline

Now surf the following sites
 to learn something about the history of the city
History of New York

New York timeline history:

Some information about New York

Times Square

Brooklyn Bridge

And now watch the videos below 
A day out in New York

NY history

A melting pot

You read some information and watched some videos about New York. Can you answer these easy questions?
  1. Can you name some of the most famous NY attractions?
  2. Where can you find Central Park?
  3. Where is The Times Square located?
  4. What are the Broadway Shows?
  5. Who were the first inhabitants of NY?
  6. Which were the first names of the city?
  7. What is a "melting pot"?
  8. How many Italians are there in NY? 

 Let's sing "New York New York" with Frank Sinatra
..."New York state of mind" with Billy Joel
... "New York" with the U2
...and "Sunday Morning New York Blue" with Rob Thomas!

Which song did you like the most?
 Read carefully the  lyrics, 
what do you feel while listening these songs? 
Do  the songs have something in common?

 "One belongs to New York instantly, one belongs to it as much in five minutes as in five years".  
Tom Wolfe

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Safer Internet Day - February, 11

Today we celebrate the "Safer Internet Day"!

Safer Internet Day (SID) was born as an initiative of the EU SafeBorders project in 2004 and is now celebrated in more than 100 countries across all continents.
Each year SID chooses a topic concerning online issues, from cyberbullying to social networking, to reflect on online safety,  rights and responsibilities, to encourage users to 'connect with respect'.  
In particular, for  2014 the topic is "Let's create a better internet together".

I'm a blogger, I use my blog with my students at school, I encourege them to use it at home because they are "digital natives". Moreover the Internet can be a wonderful resource for kids.
But the access on the Net can also pose hazards and adults have to protect kids from the potential dangers. 
One of the most dangerous problem concerning our "digita kids" is cyberbullying.
Cyberbullying is the use of technology to harass, threaten, embarrass  another person. It can include:
  • sending threatening or offensive text messages
  • creating or sharing embarrassing images or videos
  • excluding children from online activities or groups
  • creating hate sites or groups about a particular person
  • stealing online identities to embarrass or trouble a child

But what are the main problems cyberbullying can cause in a teenager? 
Cyberbullying can provoke physical and emotional problems:
  • depression
  • anxiety
  • sadness and loneliness
  • changes in sleep and eating patterns
  • loss of interest in school, hobbies, friends
  • self-harm
What to do
First of all parents, teachers and adults in general should:
1. Step into kids cyberworld 
Adults have to get involved to keep their eyes open. It's important to be aware of what our kids see and hear on the Internet, who they meet, and what they share about themselves online.
2. Set house or school rules
Decide how much time children can be online and which sites they may go to. For example, as a teacher, I usually use "webquests" if I want my students to do some research. With a webquest you decide in advance which sites your students can surf to find the required information.
3. Teach kids to protect their privacy 
you should say your children/students:
* never to give their name, phone number, e-mail address, password, postal address, school, or picture without permission
* not to open e-mail from people they don't know
* not to respond to hurtful or disturbing messages
* not to get together with anyone they "meet" online.

Kids should: 
1. Tell  an adult they trust
2. Walk away (ignoring bullies is the best way to take away their power)
3. Resist the urge to respond
4. Save evidence of the bullying (it can help to prove the offence if needed)
5. Report bullying to the service provider
6. Block the bully (most devices have settings that allow to electronically block the bully  from sending notes)
7. Be safe online (use password and  think twice before sharing personal information or photos/videos because, once posted, they are very difficult to delete).

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Cineforum: movies taken from British or American novels for children


I've always used movies to improve students' listening comprehension, but I've always preferred movies taken from novels. So I have the chance to talk about literature, as well. 

This is a poster about my cineforum I created with Piktochart. You can save you poster as an image, as the following, or you can make it interactive, as you can see clicking on the next link.

Below you can find the above poster, but now it's interactive...

Below you can have some more information. This time I used Blendspace.
There are links to the movies' trailers, to some information about the novels they are taken from, to sites about movies or books for EFL students. 


 "I think cinema, movies, and magic have always been closely associated. The very earliest people who made film were magicians".
Francis Ford Coppola