The connection between Australian educators and publishers, who create learning resources for the classroom, was last week celebrated at the Educational Publishing Awards of Australia in Melbourne.
Twenty-three winners were announced across three broad categories of primary, secondary and tertiary education.
The big winners of the evening were PLD – a learning and literacy organisation and Oxford University Press (OUP) who were awarded Primary and Secondary Publisher of the Year respectively, as voted by Australian teachers.
Director of PLD Diana Rigg was thrilled that her organisation won the award being the first time they were nominated. “We create tools for primary educators to enhance literacy development in young children and we’re so grateful to be recognised by teachers across the country,” Ms Rigg said.
Daniel Aspinall from OUP was really proud of his workplace being named Secondary Publisher of the Year for the second year in a row. “What we do is for teachers and students and to better education in Australia overall. It’s a team effort, we work with many people to bring resources to the classroom and we’re really pleased with the award,” he said.
Keynote speaker for the event, TV presenter and primary school teacher, Shelley Ware, shared with more than 200 individuals in attendance her personal story of needing quality, engaging texts as a young person with literacy difficulties, and as a teacher, and as a parent of a child with similar reading difficulties that she faced.
In her speech, Ms Ware reinforced teachers’ love of good educational resources and the joy teachers feel when a new package arrives from publishers sharing new materials.
Ms Ware also shared her journey in becoming an educational resource author — starting with being asked to prepare ten lessons for Sunshine Classics’ Teachers Notes, which was shortly updated to 130 lessons.
Along with Shelley Ware, awards were presented by Adam Suckling from the Copyright Agency who were the major sponsors of the event, as well as President of the Australian Publishers Association and Schools Director of Oxford University Press, Lee Walker.
Award winners were selected by a panel of judges led by Associate Professor Angela Carbone from Swinburne University.
Images from the event can be sourced here.
View the full list of winners.
More than 200 educators and educational publishers will come together at The Arts Centre in Melbourne tonight to toast another year of making high-standard educational materials for Australia’s roughly four million school students, and also Tertiary and TAFE/vocational learners.
The combined efforts of educators and educational publishers will be celebrated in the 25th Educational Publishing Awards of Australia on Thursday 20 September 2018.
Keynote speaker at the awards, TV presenter and primary school teacher, Shelley Ware knows doubly well how involved and crucial educational learning resources are, having authored Teacher Notes for literacy and regularly chosen learning materials for her classroom.
“Good educational resources engage students. Teachers fully rely on them, and they are a part of the big picture to inspire students to have a lifelong passion to read and learn,” Ms Ware said.
“As a writer I learnt so much about the valuable role of and immense skill of editors and also the timelines in the publishing process, and as a teacher I look for good quality, interesting, children-friendly texts – they’re vital for the classroom,” Ms Ware continued.
In the hands of hardworking educators across the nation but often overlooked, learning resources are a critical component for an active and engaged classroom. Good educational resources make the lives of teachers easier, and are created by switched on and connected educational publishers.
Schools and Educational Publishing representative on the Australian Publishers Association’s Board, Brendan Bolton said, “Many educational publishing staff previously worked as teachers, and publishers always consult classroom educators to inform the development of a new product. Publishers work closely with curriculum bodies to produce relevant and timely resources as well.
“Learning resources can take anywhere from 18 months to 3 years to create”, Bolton said, “and when we do our job well, it’s great to know we’re helping teachers do the important work of bringing their classrooms to life.”
Twenty-three awards will be presented across primary, secondary and tertiary education.
See you all tonight from 5.30pm!
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Keynote speaker Shelley Ware is perhaps best known for her work on the SBS footy show, Marngrook, yet she’s an experienced and practising primary school teacher based in Victoria and is author of the educational resource, Teaching Notes for Sunshine Classics.
Shelley spoke with us recently about her love for teaching, her experience in writing and working with editors and publishers, and the importance of learning resources being quickly engaging for students.
You’ve noted that from a young age you wanted to be a teacher. What was the genesis of this career goal?
Yes, I have always wanted to be a teacher. My father Bob Ware valued education and the pathways it created in your life. My mother Jan Ware went back to study nursing in her late 30s so education has always been important to me because of their inspiration and thinking.
In your experience, to what extent do teachers rely on good-quality texts in the classroom?
Good quality, interesting, children-friendly texts are vital for the classroom. You want to engross students and help develop their love for reading. Teachers fully rely on good-quality texts; they are a part of the big picture to engage students to have a lifelong passion to read and learn.
What was the process like in developing Teaching Notes for publication? How did you tackle research, writing and editing it?
We treated Teaching Notes as a resource teachers could pick up and use without having to read the text beforehand and do any preparation. A teacher’s day is so busy and we wanted to make life easier for them. We developed a tool to help a time-pressured teacher get the most out of their busy planning and reading sessions.
What insights did you get about educational publishing in writing Teaching Notes for Sunshine Books?
I learnt about publishing deadlines and how quickly publishers want your work! And also about the amazing support and skills editors have. I very much appreciated them!
You were a literacy program coordinator for four years. What can you tell us about literacy and the role good books and resources play in schools today?
The books I chose as a literacy program coordinator needed to engage my students quickly and they loved the books I picked out for them. If I chose a book that didn’t engage them it was sent to the back of the pile never to be used again, only in case of emergencies. Easy to read, colourful, well laid out and well written books are essential.
What would you say is the role of educational publishing in an innovative classroom?
Educational publishing has a responsibilty role is to engage learners of all ages and levels. The publisher has an obligation to listen to the students and teachers about what their needs are.
In an article you’re mentioned to have said that you love Aussie Rules because of the opportunities it gives people, which is often said of education as well. Are they the same in any other ways?
I love the opportunities education gives people! I wouldn’t have the life I have without education playing a huge role. Football and education are both exciting, exhilarating and with you for the long haul. Always by your side giving you a focus and passion in your life that keeps your soul alive.
Learn more about Shelley Ware.
We asked Angela Carbone, Chief Judge, about the final judging day, her take on the state of the educational publishing industry and her new role at Swinburne University. Here’s what she had to say:
What is your role in the judging process?
I’m the Chief Judge and I work very closely with the panel of judges. The panel is split into assessment teams that review entries submitted in each of the following categories: Primary, Secondary and Tertiary/Vocational. Each team has a lead judge, and I collaborate with the lead judges to make the final decisions.
There is much talk around final judging day. Could you tell us a bit about the process?
Prior to judging day, all the assessors review each
submission, evaluate the entry based on the judging criteria and write a few comments to justify their assessment.
On final judging day, the panel comes together to discuss their assessments, sharing their ratings and rationales. During this moderation period judges can change their assessment. They continue this process until a consensus is reached on the ranking of applications. Eventually, the panel nominates the top 2–3 titles with a ‘commendable’ or ‘highly commendable’ award, and they present their top-ranked entries to the rest of the judges.
As part of the final stage of the judging process, the lead judges share their top 2–3 entries with me and together we decide the winner. During the day, I immerse myself in the table discussions as listening to the judges’ rationales assists me in making a considered decision.
How has judging changed from last year?
We have revised the judging criteria this year based on feedback from last year’s judges. We have made the criteria clearer. The distinct criterion includes: publishing contribution; educational rigour; relevance, cohesion and suitability; flexibility and adaptability; and clarity, design and engagement.
A significant change was to select one winner for each category (Primary, Secondary and Tertiary/Vocational). Last year, there was considerable concern from the judges, including myself, around judging resources fairly. Comparing a primary school resource with a university resource was like comparing apples and oranges! So, this works much better this year and has been well received.
All resources are judged for excellence, innovation and originality. How do you think this year’s entries fared against the judging criteria?
Entries are improving each year. Publishers are more cognisant of the changes occurring in the way students learn and are fully exploiting the affordances of technology.
In the past twelve months, you’ve moved to Swinburne to become the Associate Dean (Learning Innovation) for the Faculty of Science, Engineering and Technology. Could you tell us a bit more about your role and what responsibilities you have?
As Associate Dean Learning Innovation, I am primarily charged with the responsibility of leading strategic development and overseeing the operational implementation of strategies relating to learning, teaching and scholarship . I hold overall accountability for ensuring the implementation of the university’s Learning and Teaching strategy within my Faculty. Often this includes facilitating leadership of teaching and learning innovation, driving specific agendas and ensuring the quality of courses and programs.
I’m also leading education in the faculty at an operational level. I supervise a number of teams that ensure our courses are of a high quality and are accredited by professional bodies. Among other responsibilities, they also ensure that student resources and learning environments are up-to-date and contemporary, and that students have pathways to change courses.
What are some challenges you think educators face in today’s learning environments?
Educators have to really think about ways to engage students by giving students authentic learning experiences. Learning today doesn’t just happen in the classroom or from a textbook. Students may not be receptive to a passive, didactic teaching delivery. Instead, we need to focus on creating active learning environments which give students engaging and rich experiences. We want students to talk about the issues discussed in our classrooms with their peers outside of the classroom.
Is there anything you’d like to add in the lead up to the 2018 EPAAs?
The publishers are doing a great job. They’re operating in an educational environment that is changing rapidly. Advances in technology, providing online resources in which students can assess their knowledge and skills at the own pace and in their own time are becoming more and more prevalent. Yet, many teachers still see the value in teaching from textbooks.
We’re at an interesting point in time in education, where traditional textbooks are still valuable, but online adaptive delivery is becoming more accessible and intuitive and provides teachers with timely learning analytics at their fingertips. It will be interesting to see what further advances will occur in the next couple of years.
The resources that are being published in both print and digital are fabulous.
The finalists and all the winners have done an exceptional job. Compared to last year – as good, if not even better I would say.
We hope to see you all at the industry event of the year at The Pavilion, Arts Centre on Thursday, 20 September 2018.