Giovanni Zimotti is the Director of Spanish Language Instruction at the University of Iowa. He is from a little Italian village called Cagnano Varano and he holds a Ph.D. in Spanish Linguistics from The University of Alabama.
Giovanni is a passionate educator who embarked on the mission to stop using traditional commercial textbooks and fully switch to OER textbooks. His journey started approximately 3 years ago and expects his students will be able to save more than $250,000.00 per academic year once the program is complete.
Identifying collaboration as a key element for success, Giovanni encouraged his colleagues to participate. He wrote “Intermediate Spanish II for Education Professionals” with Prof. Castro-Ortiz and then an adaptation of the book with Prof. Jimenez. He is currently working on an Elementary Textbook, “Semillas” with an interuniversity team. And at the same time, he is editing a generic Intermediate Spanish textbook with multiple authors from all around the U.S.
Last year, Giovanni founded HEROE-S an organization that brings together Spanish language educators to create, develop, and share high-quality educational resources. He is also working on two different tools that are being released under a Creative Commons license; A series of VR situations for Spanish-English Medical Interpreting, and a web-based app for language learning self-assessment based on the ACTFL Can-Do Statements. Giovanni is an advocate for OER at his University. He is part of a University-wide committee to promote OER adoption and is constantly making presentations to promote OER and to facilitate recognition of OER works for promotion and tenure.