Posts Tagged ‘education’

Interview with Amelia Taylor, Twinkl Education Publishing

The Educational Publishing Awards are committed to rewarding excellence and innovation in the publishing industry at primary, secondary and tertiary levels. We have put together a series of interviews with the publishers, editors and authors involved in the creation and development of educational resources.

We caught up with Amelia Taylor at Twinkl to talk about Twinkl Australia, a shortlisted entry for the Adaptation – Teacher or Student Resource award.

Could you tell us a little bit about Twinkl?
At Twinkl Australia, we pride ourselves on providing teacher-created teaching, planning and assessment materials for our users. We are just about to open our first Australian office in the beautiful Wollongong at the beginning of September and we are so excited. We have gradually grown our Twinkl Australia family over the past couple of years and have a strong, creative team of Australian teachers who create our content. All of the resources you see in our ‘Australia’ section have been created by Australian teachers, for Australian teachers. The teacher content goes through a thorough checking process and is sent to highly trained graphic designers and illustrators, who create the final resource by designing the content and adding hand drawn illustrations.

What was your motivation for developing this resource?
Australian teachers are very creative, dedicated, lovable and committed people – which is what we stand for here at Twinkl. We wanted to provide resources to Australian teachers that are fun, engaging, informative and easy to prepare. We understand how hard teachers work and know what a massive impact they make to young peoples’ lives. We wanted to help teachers out by providing them with time-saving, high-quality resources.

Why does your product deserve to win at this year’s EPAAs? Is there anyone you would like to acknowledge and thank for making this product the success it is?
While we have had Australian customers for a while, we are really trying to cement ourselves in the Australian market by bringing an office over from the UK. We have put a great deal of effort into making resources that are specific to Australia; we provide many resources in state-specific fonts and we also have an area of the site which provides resources specific to Australian curriculum aims. This award would give us great recognition for the work we do that some others may not be aware of yet.

We would like to thank all of the Australian Teacher Advisors in our team who think of the amazing resources for our Aussie teachers, the designers and illustrators who bring the resources to life and all of the others behind the scene who make sure the website runs smoothly.

What challenges do you think teachers face and how can Twinkl address them?
I think any teacher would tell you they are short for time! Teachers are always busy so we thought it was a great idea to have a bunch of amazing, high-quality resources in one place – so all teachers have to do is search for whatever resources they’re looking for, download and/or print them and away they go. This means that teachers do not have to spend time making the resources themselves and allows them to really focus on teaching.

Many teachers also experience stress in their job and Twinkl hopes to help with that by improving teachers’ work/life balance. It is all about making sure things are easier for teachers – but still having that high quality resource standard.

What impacts have this resource made in the classrooms? Is there a need for teachers to use this resource?
A high impact would be an understatement! We are always bombarded on social media with photos from Australian teachers who love the resources in their classroom. This displays to us that our resources are relevant and interesting, but they’re also visually appealing! We are told on a daily basis that ‘Twinkl saved me today!’ or ‘What would I do without Twinkl?!’ and we love this feedback!

Good luck and all the best to the Twinkl Australia team!

The Educational Publishing Awards are held at The Pavilion, Arts Centre Melbourne on Wednesday, 20 September 2017.

Keep up with the latest EPAA news @EPAs_Aus or join the conversation #EPAA17.

Interview with Charles Hope, Wild Dog Books

The Weird and Wonderful World of Words, Wild Dog Books

The Educational Publishing Awards are committed to rewarding excellence and innovation in the publishing industry at primary, secondary and tertiary levels. We have put together a series of interviews with the publishers, editors and authors involved in the creation and development of educational resources.
We caught up with Charles Hope from Wild Dog Books to talk about The Weird and Wonderful World of Books, a shortlisted entry for the Student Resource – English (Literacy, Literature, Language) award.

Could you tell us a little bit about yourself and your shortlisted entry?

I’m the author of The Weird and Wonderful World of Words. I grew up on a farm outside the country town of Wagga Wagga and studied Arts and Screenwriting before delving headlong into the world of publishing educational non-fiction picture books. I’m currently living with my wife and infant daughter in Melbourne.
The Wild Dog motto is explaining the complex simply. From straightforward animal books to more difficult subjects like genetics or the human brain, our objective is to distill engaging information to its simplest essence.

This was somewhat challenging to implement with. As the English language is a potentially cavernous topic, our aim was to cover a broad range of topics that would appeal to variety of readers; especially those who may otherwise find English a dry and onerous subject.

We decided to further engage readers via puzzles and trivia questions, which immediately illustrated topics as they were being learnt. Examples of these include spoonerisms, mondegreens, oxymorons, kangaroo words and tongue-twisters.

Why do you think this resource will be appealing for students to engage with in their studies?

The Weird and Wonderful World of Words utilises a range of visual styles. Strongly composed photographs and illustrations are isolated on stark white backdrops, with these visual styles changing dramatically from page to page.

The disparate visuals are complimented by brief paragraphs of easy-to-read text, which in turn are broken up by enlarged, colourful fonts that further assist in capturing the students’ attention.

What challenges do you think teachers face and how can this resource solve these challenges?

An ongoing challenge that teachers face is being able to capture the attention of an entire classroom at the same time. Differing student abilities and interests make this a tricky problem to overcome.

The Weird and Wonderful World of Words aims to address this by stepping quickly and lightly from one topic to the next, all the while in a colourful, bright and visually engaging way. If a reader happens to baulk at a page of less-than-appealing subject matter, the clear and concise text allows them to move swiftly on to the next topic of interest.

Is there anyone you would like to acknowledge and thank for making this product the success it is?

We’d like to thank Lorna Hendry for her outstanding editorial work on this book. She was instrumental in tidying up the overall aesthetic of the book, which was no small feat given the multitude of visual elements being used. So to Lorna, a hearty thank you!

Good luck and all the best to the Wild Dog Books team!

The Educational Publishing Awards are held at The Pavilion, Arts Centre Melbourne on Wednesday, 20 September 2017.

Keep up with the latest EPAA news @EPAs_Aus or join the conversation #EPAA17.

Interview with Georgina Argus, HTAV Publishing

Twentieth Century series, HTAV Publishing

The Educational Publishing Awards are committed to rewarding excellence and innovation in the publishing industry at primary, secondary and tertiary levels. We have put together a series of interviews with the publishers, editors and authors involved in the creation and development of educational resources.

We caught up with Georgina Argus at HTAV Publishing to talk about the HTAV Twentieth Century Series, a shortlisted entry for the Student Resource – Senior – English/Humanities/Languages/Arts/Technologies/Health and Physical Education award.

For the benefits of those who don’t know about HTAV Publishing, could you tell us a little bit about HTAV and the shortlisted entry?

HTAV Publishing is actually a department of the History Teachers’ Association of Victoria (HTAV), a member organisation dedicated to improving the quality of History teaching and learning in Victorian schools. The Publishing department is a small team consisting of two part-time staff members and a consultant. Up until recently, our projects were completed entirely in-house. With new VCE History courses implemented last year, there was (and still is) high demand for new textbooks, and so we had to start outsourcing stages such as editing in order to produce more books.

The Twentieth Century series consists of two titles,Twentieth Century 1: Between the Wars and Twentieth Century 2: Post-War Challenges. These titles werewritten specifically for the VCE year 11 Twentieth Century course. It’s a very exciting course with many, many topic options for schools, and it was very difficult to choose which ones to focus on in this book! We did not see the point in giving a brief overview of everything – we wanted to go into some depth – which resulted in quite large books.

The wonderful thing about working for a teacher organisation is that creating resources to properly support teachers and students is part of our mission. Therefore the budget and potential profits come second to quality. If we have to add pages to a book or purchase more images because we think they are needed, we will do it. The Twentieth Century series is an example of this – the books are 300+ pages and include many fantastic photographs, artworks, maps and diagrams, yet remain affordable for students and teachers.

What was your motivation for developing this resource?

The motivation for all our HTAV Senior History series titles is twofold:

1. We want to support our members – history teachers in Victoria. With a new VCE History Study Design, teachers were desperate for their students to be supported with new textbooks written specifically for them.

2. We want to increase student numbers in each VCE History subject. We believe that producing quality resources, designed specifically for VCE, will help do that.

Why did you decide to submit the series for the EPAAs?

We decided to enter this series in the EPAAs because we were so proud of how it turned out!

In a small team, it is necessary for all staff members to jump in and do a bit of everything on all titles. For example, on these titles, the Publisher also conducted all the image research and permissions, and completed the typesetting. This leads to a huge personal investment in the title/s, and makes any reward all the more meaningful.

Why does your product deserve towin at this year’s EPAAs? Is there anyone you would like to acknowledge and thank for making this product the success it is?

I believe all the elements of these books – the design, narrative, images and diagrams, and activities – all contribute to making the series extremely engaging for students. This history is still so recent and students often don’t realise that so many significant events were happening around the world at the same time, until they see the timelines!

I particularly love the covers for these two books. The focus on ‘contrasts’ really reflects what was going on in the twentieth century – periods of war vs periods of peace, prosperous times vs depression, leaders intent on hate-filled persecution and murder vs leaders campaigning for the civil rights of minority groups using non-violent tactics.

The covers and overall design can be attributed to Kim Ferguson, an amazing graphic designer. We would also like to acknowledge the authors, our wonderful editor (Philip Bryan), and HTAV staff.

Good luck and all the best to the HTAV Publishing team!

The Educational Publishing Awards are held at The Pavilion, Arts Centre Melbourne on Wednesday, 20 September 2017.

Keep up with the latest EPAA news @EPAs_Aus or join the conversation #EPAA17.

Interview with Jennifer Griggs, CSIRO Publishing

The Educational Publishing Awards are committed to rewarding excellence and innovation in the publishing industry at primary, secondary and tertiary levels. We have put together a series of interviews with the publishers, editors and authors involved in the creation and development of educational resources.
Today we caught up with Jennifer Griggs from CSIRO Publishing to talk about Double Helix Lessons, a shortlisted entry for the 2017 EPAA Student Resource award.

Jennifer, for those who don’t know you, could you start by telling us a bit about yourself and about this shortlisted entry?

I am the Senior Marketing Manager at CSIRO Publishing responsible for the breadth of our products, from scholarly journals to our children’s books program.

Our newest product Double Helix Lessons from CSIRO represents an extension of our kid’s magazine Double Helix https://doublehelix.csiro.au/. Double Helix Lessons is a suite of fun, interactive digital lessons covering Years 5 and 6 science.

Double Helix Lessons, CSIRO Publishing.

Students are taken on science adventures with the Double Helix characters – Rocky, Skye and their pet Chameleon Kevin – as they discover the wonders of science in the world around them. As they progress through the units, students interact with a combination of simulations, videos, animations, augmented reality and hands-on investigations. Learning is then reinforced as students apply their knowledge to real-world situations and even meet some CSIRO scientists.

 

What was your motivation for developing this resource, Double Helix Lessons?

Fostering a love of science early in life will build the number of students we keep in STEM education, and result in more career scientists. This is good for Australia, Australian science and CSIRO.

Through the Double Helix brand CSIRO has been engaging kids in science for over 30 years. Double Helix Lessons draws kids into a new interactive digital learning environment and aims to change their perception of what science is and where it can take them. We want to be part of that journey and provide tools along the way. We also want kids to see science as fun, fascinating and solving real problems in the world. So, even if it is not their career choice, they have an increased appreciation of what science contributes to their lives.

What challenges do you think teachers face and how can Double Helix Lessons solve those challenges?

I’m sure there are countless challenges that teachers face, one of them being time. Double Helix Lessons is classroom ready and covers the entire curriculum for grades 5 and 6. It can be edited to arrange the lessons to be appropriate for the needs of each class and extra content can be easily added. There is also a teacher’s module enabling online assessment and feedback to students.

Another challenge for primary school teachers is that many of them are not experts in science, so this resource enables them to teach to the curriculum without having to research topics that are new to them or where they lack experience. The diversity of content formats also means the teacher can match lessons to the way students like to learn. If they are not strong readers they can switch on the audio and listen to the text, watch the videos or focus on the activities. This will keep students engaged for longer and increase the likely retention of the information. It is also a lot more interesting for the teachers!

Is there anyone you would like to acknowledge and thank for making this product the success it is?

Double Helix Lessons has been developed in partnership with Stile Education and our Editorial Advisory Board of teachers and education specialists. Their expertise and knowledge has been crucial to the success of this initiative, and we are very grateful for the opportunity to work with them. Stile’s mission is to improve scientific literacy among young people around the world – that is, their ability to engage, reflect and think critically about how the world works. This is a natural match for what we are also trying to achieve. The Stile platform provided the structure we needed to host the content for our lessons and provided the tools for teachers to manage classroom workflow, assessment and feedback. We could then work together on the creative side with talented writers, animators and teachers to design the content.

Good luck and all the best, CSIRO Publishing!

The Educational Publishing Awards are held at The Pavilion, Arts Centre Melbourne on Wednesday, 20 September 2017.

Book your ticket now.

Keep up with the latest EPAA news @EPAs_Aus or join the conversation #EPAA17.

Interview with Phillip Mendes, UNSW Press

The Educational Publishing Awards are committed to rewarding excellence and innovation in the publishing industry at primary, secondary and tertiary levels. We have put together a series of interviews with the publishers, editors and authors involved in the creation and development of educational resources.

We caught up with Phillip Mendes, the author who has teamed up with UNSW Press to create Australia’s Welfare Wars: The Players, the Politics and the Ideologies 3rd Edition, a shortlisted entry for the Tertiary (Wholly Australian) Scholarly Resource award.

Could you tell us a little bit about yourself and the shortlisted entry?

I am the Acting Head of Social Work and the Director of the Social Inclusion and Social Policy Research unit in the Department of Social Work, Monash University. I have been a social work and social policy practitioner and educator for 30 years, with particular experience in the fields of income security, young people leaving state care, social workers and policy practice, and illicit drugs.

Little has been written about the impact of ideologies and interest groups on the contemporary debate surrounding the Australian welfare state. Many local texts emphasise major historical developments and key policy initiatives rather than the political debates, ideologies, and interest groups which influenced these outcomes.

In contrast, this text concentrates on the role played by ideology and advocacy groups in determining welfare outcomes, with specific reference to up-to-date theories about globalisation. Students are provided with relevant case-study and source material which is used to analyse and explain contemporary policies and outcomes in the Australian welfare state, and to assist readers to predict future policy directions.

What was your motivation for developing this resource?

Many of the ideas in this text are drawn from my experiences as a social work and social policy practitioner and educator over the last 30 years. During this period, I have noted with grave concern the increasing harshness of government and community attitudes towards the poor and disadvantaged, and the corresponding growth in social and economic deprivation and inequity. Most policy makers today don’t even pretend to view the welfare state as an instrument to promote greater equity and social cohesion.

This text represents an attempt to question many of the key values and assumptions that underpin contemporary social welfare policies. In particular, it is intended to be a critique and expose of the neoliberal ideas currently dominating welfare debates locally and internationally, and an opportunity to reaffirm the continued relevance of social democratic/welfare state ideals such as social justice and fairness.

Why do you think this text will be appealing for students to engage with in their students?

It provides lots of case studies on real-world social welfare policy debates and outcomes, and also places Australian policies in a global context utilising comparative perspectives from the Nordic states and Singapore.

What challenges do you think teachers face and how can this resource solve these challenges?

[The challenge is] how to teach social policy as an interesting and practice-based discipline, particularly when educating diverse groups of local and international students who come from different political and cultural contexts. Many texts talk about theory and abstract issues, but don’t explain the range of real world factors – including ideologies and lobby groups – that impact on policy options and decisions. This text does so in detail.

What impacts have this resource made in the classrooms? Is there a need for teachers to use this resource?

It appears to be widely regarded given the large number of University social work and social science departments across Australia that utilize the text.

Why does your product deserve to win at this year’s EPAAs? Is there anyone you would like to acknowledge and thank for making this product the success it is?

It is an accessible and user-friendly text that seems to be valued by students. [If it is to win], personally, it would be very exciting, and confirm the value of social policy education for those practising in human service fields.

Particular thanks to the numerous Monash University social work students emanating from many corners of the globe who have alternatively challenged and inspired over the past 20 years.

Good luck and all the best to Phillip and the UNSW Press team!

The Educational Publishing Awards are held at The Pavilion, Arts Centre Melbourne on Wednesday, 20 September 2017.

Book your ticket now.

Keep up with the latest EPAA news @EPAs_Aus or join the conversation #EPAA17.