Archive for July 2019

IT and Mathematics teacher choice on educational publishing products, with Jeff Nicholson

Portrait of Jeff Nicholson

Portrait of Jeff NicholsonIn this post we interview IT and Mathematics teacher, Jeff Nicholson, on what aspects of educational resources he looks for to utilise in his classroom. 

How long have you been a teacher and what inspired you to become one?

I’ve been a secondary school teacher since 2005. I teach IT and Mathematics. Before that, I have predominantly (but not exclusively) worked in IT and that has often involved teaching colleagues how to use technology (especially in the 90s). I recall being asked (as a senior high school student) to teach the teachers at my school how to use a piece of software in the early 90s. I’ve also worked as a tutor at university teaching IT. Helping others learn technology has always been part of my life.

Where do you currently teach, what are you teaching and to what Grades?

I currently teach at a comprehensive government high school in Albury NSW. I have always worked in the public system, and have taught at a variety of schools from south-west Sydney to the western edge of NSW.

How often do you use published texts, learning resources and teacher guides for your classroom? Why do you choose to use them?

As a mathematics teacher, textbooks are invaluable as a reusable question bank resource. Even these days, repetition is a critical part of developing mathematical skills and fully worked solutions and examples underpin the teacher-assisted learning. By also providing alternative voices in how the material is explained, textbooks and other published material give the student the chance to explore other ways of understanding the same content.

What features of an educational learning resource do you look out for? Why?

As a technology-based teacher, I am particularly keen on digital resources. I don’t mind being required to own a physical copy in order to access the digital, although the time-limited subscription model to digital access is problematic. Being able to upload a task to Google Classroom (for internal use only, of course) can be very helpful. It is particularly useful for teachers to have an electronic copy they can access at home (for preparation of work). I’m always on the look-out for publishers who offer an electronic-only site licence arrangement at a reasonable price. In my technology classes, I would ideally like to be paperless and this would assist … but so far the options aren’t that good.

What’s the most valuable thing about a high quality resource to you in your planning and classroom?

Flexibility and currency. Teachers are constantly trying to innovate, and this means being able to use textbooks, or electronic versions, or additional resources that can be on screen or printed. There is no single solution in this mixed-mode education era, and being adaptable is the most helpful. In technology, the world is changing quickly that if we’re to pay for a subscription model for a textbook then we should be seeing that text updated more often.

What resources do you really value and what aspects work for you and your students?

In Mathematics the texts that have differentiated learning – easy, medium and hard questions that are colour coded in the same exercise set – are invaluable for being able to give differentiated work to students in the same class without them directly being labelled as “dumb” or “smart”. In Technology there are often ‘core’ and ‘option’ strands so texts that assist the teacher in developing an integrated program are incredible. This is the thing: course ‘units’ in schools do not always match the textbook chapters (and certainly don’t match the order). Texts that have more, and more narrowly defined, topics (rather than a few broad categories) are easier to mix-and-match in a program and will be more appealing to teachers.

How do students respond to high quality learning resources in your experience? To what extent can a good resource shift how engaged a student can be? Have you witnessed this happening with a particular student?

In my subject area, it’s hard to find any pre-published resource that ‘engages’. Mathematics texts are useful and change a student’s engagement if it provides the right level of support at the right time. Examples on the page (interspersed with the question in the exercise) assist more than a series of examples three pages earlier. I have heard and seen students react against the latter sort of text after they’ve become used to the former: “where are the examples?” has been asked more than once when dealing with a less interlaced resource.

Nominations open for the inaugural Mike Horsley Award

Mike Horsley Award

At this year’s Educational Publishing Awards the first Mike Horsley Award will be presented to an individual who has shown dedication and excellence in their contribution to the Australian educational publishing sector.

The Mike Horsley Award recognises outstanding service to the Australian Educational Publishing Industry (primary-secondary-tertiary) by an individual from within its ranks. The award honours Educational Publishing Awards founder, the late Professor Mike Horsley.

Nominations are now open for the inaugural Mike Horsley Award, the winner of which will be announced on 4 September, at the 2019 EPAAs. The individual will be selected by the Schools & Education and Tertiary & Professional Publishing Committees of the Australian Publishers Association.

Nominations can be made via this form and close on 9 August 2019. 


About Professor Mike Horsley

Professor Mike Horsley in 1994 commenced the Educational Publishing Awards with the vision to promote and celebrate research, innovation and excellence in Australian educational publishing. He believed that Australian learning resources are a critical feature of the education landscape and a key influencer of student learning outcomes.

Starting his career as a secondary school teacher, Mike became president of the Economics and Business Studies Teachers of NSW, and went on to become deputy director of a UNESCO/UNDP/IOE regional vocational education curriculum project in the 11 countries of the South Pacific. With Ni-Vanuatu partners he established a new business school in Espiritu Santo in Vanuatu and was a long time resident of Samoa and Fiji. Between 1991-2001 he was the director of the Diploma in Education at the University of Sydney, and subsequently became foundation director of the Master of Teaching; the world’s first case based teacher education program. This led to appointments on Board of Studies Curriculum Committees and to the Review of Teacher Education in NSW, which prepared the path for the NSW Institute of Teachers.

For almost 10 years Mike conducted learning and homework centres for Sydney’s Islander (Samoan, Tongan, Fijian) communities. He was a world authority on homework research and in 2012 Reforming Homework, jointly authored by Richard Walker from the University of Sydney, was published by Palgrave Macmillan.

The 26th Educational Publishing Awards Shortlist

EPAA website image


Announcing the 26th Educational Publishing Awards Australia (EPAA) shortlist.

Organised by the Australian Publishers Association and sponsored by Copyright Agency, the prestigious EPAAs recognise excellence and innovation within the educational publishing industry.

In total, 148 entries were received — the highest in a number of years — so we would like to thank those who submitted their titles for consideration.

Many thanks also go to our fantastic judging panel, and, finally, a big congratulations to those shortlisted.

Educational Publishing Awards Australia 2019 Shortlist



Primary Award Categories 


Adaptations, Student or Teaching Resource

A shortlist for this category will be announced at the Educational Publishing Awards ceremony.


Student Resource – Arts/Science/Humanities/Social Sciences/Technologies/Health and Physical Education/Languages 



Woody Brambles

Louie & Ted (an imprint of Wild Dog Books)

Australian Backyard Earth Scientist

Peter Macinnis

National Library of Australia (NLA Publishing)


Student Resource – English (Literacy/Literature/Language)


Talk About Texts

Julie Baillie et al.

Macmillan Education Australia


Oxford Reading for Comprehension

Carmel Reilly, Holly Harper, Cameron Macintosh et al. 

Oxford University Press Australia & New Zealand


Student Resource – Mathematics (Numeracy) 

A shortlist for this category will be announced at the Educational Publishing Awards ceremony.


Teaching Resource (Primary)


Informative Writing Manual

Beverley Laing

Highlighting Writing Pty Ltd trading as ‘Seven Steps to Writing Success’


Sound Waves Foundation Teacher Book and Foundation Online and Student Book

Barbara Murray, Terri Watson

Firefly Education Pty Ltd


Reference Resource


Nganga: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Words and Phrases

Aunty Fay Muir, Sue Lawson

Walker Books Australia


The alphabetic principle and beyond: surveying the landscape

Robyn Cox, Susan Feez, Lorraine Beveridge

Primary English Teaching Association Australia (PETAA)


Educational Picture or Chapter Book


It’s a Story, Rory!

Frances Watts, David Legge

ABC Books: An imprint of HarperCollins Publishers 


Nature Storybooks: Dingo

Claire Saxby, Tannya Harricks

Walker Books Australia


Through My Eyes: Natural Disaster Zones (series)

Lyn White (series editor), Wai Chim, Zoe Daniel et al.

Allen & Unwin



Donna Rawlins, Mark Jackson, Heather Potter

Walker Books Australia




Student Resource – Junior –  English/Humanities/Languages/Arts/Technologies/Health and Physical Education


The Obento Deluxe and Supreme 5e Series

Obento Deluxe: Sue Xoris, Kyoko Kusumoto, Peter Williams 

Obento Supreme: Kyoko Kusumoto, Ayako Lyons, Jean Swinyard et al.

Nelson – A Cengage Company


Pearson Humanities Victoria 7-10

Grant Kleeman, Peter Byrne, Sharon Szczecinski et al. 

Pearson Australia


iiTomo 1 to 4, Second edition

Yoshie Burrows, Yoko Nishimura-Parke, Mami Izuishi et al.

Pearson Australia



Student Resource – Senior – Mathematics/Science


Chemistry for Queensland Units 1&2 Student book + obook assess

Krystle Kuipers, Paul Keillor, Philip Sharpe et al. 

Oxford University Press Australia & New Zealand


Jacaranda Maths Quest 11 for Queensland + studyON series

Mark Barnes, Steven Morris, Kahni Burrows et al. 



Student Resource – Senior – English/Humanities/Languages/Arts/Technologies/Health and Physical Education


Global Interactions

Grant Kleeman, David Hamper, Helen Rhodes

Pearson Australia


English for Queensland Units 1&2 Student book + obook assess

Kelli McGraw, Lindsay Williams, Sophie Johnson

Oxford University Press Australia & New Zealand


Business for QCE Units 1 & 2: Creation and Growth

Sally Adams, Berenice Furlong, Melissa Larsson et al.

Nelson – A Cengage Company


Physical Education for Queensland Units 1&2 2E Student book + obook assess

Crystal Hede, Kate Russell, Ron Weatherby et al. 

Oxford University Press Australia & New Zealand


Macmillan Accounting VCE

Neville Box, Simon Phelan

Macmillan Education Australia


Teaching Resource (Secondary)


Physical Education for Queensland Units 1&2 2E Teacher + obook assess

Crystal Hede, Kate Russell, Ron Weatherby et al. 

Oxford University Press Australia & New Zealand


Poems to Share II

AATE and Red Room Poetry

AATE and Red Room Poetry


Reference Resource

A shortlist for this category will be announced at the Educational Publishing Awards ceremony.


Tertiary and TAFE


Scholarly Non-Fiction Book of the Year


Call of the Reed Warbler 

Charles Massy 

University of Queensland Press


Atomic Thunder: The Maralinga Story

Elizabeth Tynan

NewSouth Publishing


The Art of Time Travel: Historians and Their Craft

Tom Griffiths

Black Inc.


Deep Time Dreaming: Uncovering Ancient Australia

Billy Griffiths

Black Inc.


Grappling with the Bomb: Britain’s Pacific H-bomb Test

Nic Mclellan 

ANU Press


Tertiary (Wholly Australian) Teaching and Learning – print 


The Child in Focus: Learning and Teaching in Early Childhood Education

Estelle Irving, Carol Carter

Oxford University Press Australia & New Zealand


Learning through Play: Creating a Play Based Approach within Early Childhood Contexts

Christine Robinson, Tracy Treasure, Dee O’Connor et al. 

Oxford University Press Australia & New Zealand


Tertiary (Wholly Australian) Teaching and Learning  – blended learning (print and digital) 


The New Lawyer

Rachael Field, Nickolas James, Jackson Walkden-Browne

Wiley Australia


Financial Institutions and Markets 8e

Ben Hunt, Chris Terry



Australian Politics in the Twenty-First Century: Old Institutions, New Challenges

Glenn Kefford et al. 

Cambridge University Press


Clinical Psychomotor Skills (5-Point Bondy): Assessment Tools for Nurses 7e

Joanne Tollefson, Elspeth Hillman



Tertiary (Wholly Australian) Teaching and Learning – digital only


Bachelor of Applied Business

Chris Swan, Kathryn McInnes

La Trobe University in partnership with Didasko


Introduction to the Tibetan Language: An eTextbook for spoken and literary Tibetan

Ruth Gamble, Tenzin Ringpapontsang, Chung Tsering et al.

ANU Press


Teaching: Making a Difference, 4th Edition

Rick Churchill, Sally Godinho, Nicola F. Johnson et al. 

Wiley Australia 


Tertiary (Adaptations) Teaching and Learning  – print or blended learning (print and digital) 

Literacy for the 21st Century: A Balanced Approach, 3rd Edition

Gail E. Tompkins, Carol Smith, Rod Campbell et al. 

Pearson Australia


Child and Adolescent Development for Educators 1e with CourseMate Express

Christi Crosby Bergin, David Allen Bergin, Sue Walker et al.



Tertiary (Adaptations) Teaching and Learning – digital only


MindTap for Czinkota’s International Marketing Asia-Pacific edition 4e

Michael Czinkota, Ilkka Ronkainen, Catherine Sutton-Brady et al. 



Fundamentals of Corporate Finance

Robert Parrino, David Kidwell, Hue Hwa Au Yong et al.

Wiley Australia


Revel for Principles of Marketing, 7th Edition

Gary Armstrong, Stewart Adam, Sara Denize et al.

Pearson Australia


TAFE & Vocational Education Teaching and Learning – print or blended learning (print and digital) 


Clinical Placement Manual for the Diploma of Nursing 1e

Catherine Joustra, Ali Moloney



Support by SDL – A series for the Individual Support Worker

Hayley Costa

Skin Deep Learning Pty Ltd


TAFE & Vocational Education Teaching and Learning – digital only


SHB30315 – Certificate 3 in Nail Technology

Hayley Costa

Skin Deep Learning Pty Ltd


MindTap for Leadership and Management: Theory and Practice 7e

Kris Cole


Certificate IV in Patisserie 

Kathryn McInnes, Kathy Roser, Denise McCallum 




Hear who the winners are first – Early Bird Tickets are on sale


With thanks to our sponsors:

  • The Copyright Agency
  • OPUS Group
  • NewGen Knowledgeworks
  • VitalSource
  • Indigi-Print
  • ReadCloud and,
  • CQ University.

Interview with keynote speaker, educator and Principal, Lian Davies

Portrait of Lian Davies

Portrait of Lian DaviesLian Davies is an educator and leader with a passion for global educational systems and strategies focussing on student centred learning. Lian has worked in both Scottish and English schools in the UK, developing her leadership skills while navigating a new country and education system she became an Assistant Principal and Acting Principal in NZ in 2011. Lian moved to become Assistant Principal at Templestowe College in 2016. Continuing to develop an innovative model of education, Lian is now Principal at Whittlesea Secondary College. Lian was the winner of The Educator Rising Star Awards 2018.

Lian is one of two keynote speakers for the Educational Publishing Awards Australia in 2019. She shares her thoughts on educational products below. 


What first inspired you to embark on a career in education? Is that what keeps you there today? 

I first considered education when I was studying at university. I became part of a peer mentoring program for students who were in earlier years of our degree course. I realised how much I enjoyed helping others learn as well as how much more I understood the work through teaching it. I signed up for a post graduate teaching course after completing my honours degree and have never looked back. The pleasure of helping young people learn is a strong driver and I love to continue learning myself.


You’ve worked in a few countries. What differences have you observed about educational publishing products and purchasing them across these countries (if any)?

I have worked in Scotland, England, New Zealand and Australia. Each has its own educational systems but a common theme is the need for good quality resources to support educators in delivering engaging and challenging learning experiences for students. As the years have gone on what these resources might look like has gradually changed from the standard text book to more interactive materials. Australia and New Zealand have some strong publishers and materials that are used on both sides of the ditch and educators know they can rely on them for quality and supporting students to engage with the curriculum knowledge.


You are passionate about student-centred learning. For those who may not know what this is could you please explain it briefly?

Student centred learning is focussed on designing learning experiences that recognise and respond to the individual needs of each student. It is moving away from the previous methods of the teacher being the front and centre and all students following the lead.

Student centred educators and schools are working to understand and support student learning, rather than focusing on how best to teach or how to cover the curriculum.

We aim to actively create opportunities for families and communities to participate as equal partners in their children’s education and empower students to lead their own learning as much as possible.


How and where do you see this reflected in Australian learning resources (if at all)? What further knowledge needs to be shared to make learning resources for this model/approach? Or is this being done really well already?

Learning resources are starting to reflect this by providing a variety of media for our learners to engage with. An example would be a text book having a digital version or an audio version. I know a large number of my students who use text to speech software to support them in listening to books whilst studying. I have also seen interactive activities with some digital resources that engage our learners in a way they feel is interesting and stimulating. This shift to multiple media creates opportunities for learners to engage and experience learning differently.


Another thing you are dedicated to is about empowering students to take control of their own learning. How do learning resources help students feel empowered? Are resources helping towards this end?

As mentioned above by providing a variety of mixed media resources that students can engage with to suit their needs is a key to empowering our young people. In an age where we are understanding more around neurodiversity we want to be able to provide options for our students to engage with a range of quality materials. Flipped learning is a popular tool and allows young people to research, watch or engage with learning topics before they come into the classroom and explore these ideas further.


When it comes to choosing educational resources for your school, what features do you look out for? Why? 

This can be a complex one as it depends on the subjects, the teams who are teaching and using the resources as well as the students themselves. The ability to cover key curriculum areas, whilst not limiting to only that information is often looked at. We want to support our learners to find key information but engage their thinking and learning to relevance in the real world. Engaging them through high quality diagrams, or online pictures often allows them to see things we may not have within the classroom environment. Having links to media they can look at engages our young digital natives into an environment they are familiar with and can learn from quickly.


Is there a particular Australian resource that you really value? What aspects of it really work for you, your staff and your students?

As a science educator I always appreciated the resources that considered not only the students with books and ebooks or apps, but also provided support notes for technicians or teachers to help with practical experiments and activities. Some of the resources had clearly spent a great deal of time considering all aspects of the learning outcomes and how to ensure everyone referring to the resources were best equipped to deliver this effectively.


Register to hear Lian Davies speak at the Educational Publishing Awards being held in Melbourne on 4 September 2019. 

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