10 Sep 2010

CUADERNIA - an educational materials generator

It has been almost two years since I started writing this blog and it is incredible how much I have learnt from many great teachers I have met on the net. Writing was not easy at first. What could an almost new teacher say? However, I have enjoyed a lot having "this little window" to share what I have learnt, my educational worries and tips to introduce technology in the classroom. After a long busy year without time to update the blog, I am back to introduce you a valuable tool to create educational digital books, CUADERNIA 2.0.

This fantastic free authoring tool, created by Oscar Guerrero Sánchez and his team Entornos Innovadores, is at teachers' disposal in the website of the Education Department of Castilla-La Mancha (Spain). Up to now, it is only available for Windows and is offered only in Spanish language. I hope there is an English version, as well, in the future so that teachers from all over the world can benefit from it.

Cuadernia is really easy to use, even for those teachers who do not have much computering knowlege, and it has real potential for helping to make our lessons more engaging and dynamic. You do not need to be a genius to create complementary material for your English lessons, you just need to know your students' interests, motivations and needs to generate activities which are relevant for them. Many times course books include many general topics and they may be useful for English teachers who teach in a big city, for instance, but not for teachers working in a village. This is just one of the reasons I believe that creating our own material or adapting it is worthwhile.

One of the tools you can use to create your own materials is Cuadernia 2.0 which allows us to create 21 different kinds of activities using a background, text, flash images, pictures, videos as well as speech bubbles, augmented reality objects and some free applications to change your archives to different formats.

The software is available in three different versions - an online version, a downloadable version for your PC or laptop and another one to save it in your USB. If you decide to use the online version, you have to take into account that it is not possible to save the digital version directly. You will need to export it to your PC to be able to save it and finish your digital book later.

Lorena Pinillos Chávez has published an easy to follow tutorial (20 pages) that shows you how to use Cuadernia. However, you will find a more complete tutorial (81 pages) in the website of the Education Department of Castilla-La Mancha.
Some of the main advantages which Cuadernia offers are:
  • It provides an attractive learning environment for students.
  • It is not just a tool for teacher to create their materials and share them with other teachers, but also a collaborative tool for students. Have a look at "Estrategia pedagógica con Cuadernia" by Eva M. Perdiguero Garzo.
  • It includes a broad range of resources to assist in the autonomous use of the programme (tutorials, videotutorials in Cuadernia Youtube Channel).
  • It includes a forum where teachers can express their opinions about the software and help to its improvement as well as a facebook group.
    In the
    Educative Digital Objects Library (Librería ODEs) you will find some didactic units not just for the English Class but for other subjects as well.
What I do not find so easy using this software is:
  • Inserting the digital books in a blog.

  • using other types of formats, you need to change them using the applications offered.

You can download some EFL materials created with Cuadernia:


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