Posts Tagged ‘educational publishing awards’

Interview with Peter Stannard, Firefly Education

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 individuals involved in the creation and development of educational resources. We caught up with Peter Stannard from Firefly Education to talk about Think Mentals, a shortlisted entry for the Primary: Student Resource – Mathematics (Numeracy) award.

What challenges do you think teachers face when teaching mental computation?

Maths can be scary for young learners. Without being explicitly taught effective strategies for tackling mental computation students can become overwhelmed and stumble upon everyday maths problems. Given that most of the maths we do every day we do in our heads, mental computation is an essential skill for students to learn. Likewise, teaching mental computation can also be daunting. Unless you’re equipped with a variety of computation strategies it’s difficult to teach students how to solve a maths problem quickly, easily and accurately. Think Mentals provides teachers with a unique and easy-to-use approach to teach mental computation, which in turn gives students an easy-to-understand approach to tackle mental computation.

How does Think Mentals make learning mental computation easy?

Think Mentals is all about making numbers friendly. It teaches students how to use strategies to break maths problems into friendly, manageable chunks so they can calculate answers fluently. The easy-to-follow weekly structure includes worked examples of strategies and carefully graded practice activities. Each Student Workbook builds on the strategies and skills developed in the previous year. The same friendly language and layout is used from Years 1 to 6, so students will learn new skills every year in a familiar context. This consistent approach not only helps students consolidate their learning, it makes life easier for teachers too.

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

I’m sure every product that’s made the shortlist deserves to win, but what’s special about Think Mentals is its innovative approach that systematically teaches students a range of mental computation strategies. Put simply, Think Mentals makes maths friendly. The unique Think Mentals strategies are ‘how-to’ guides for making maths calculations easy. By learning and practising Think Mentals’ friendly strategies, students can train their brains to solve maths problems quickly and easily.

As for acknowledging the efforts of everyone involved in Think Mentals, of course I’d like to thank our team of authors; Mary Serenc who wrote Year 1, and Chris Linthorne, Peter Williams and Sandra Williams who wrote Years 2–6. As with all of Firefly’s programs, the authors are practising Australian teachers which ensures a relevant connection to the classroom. With a manuscript in place, it was over to the Firefly Education team to bring Think Mentals to life. Everything from page layout to refining the strategies and even creating the gang of friendly monsters that feature on the front covers was carefully crafted to create this unique mental computation series.

Good luck and all the best Firefly Education!

The Educational Publishing Awards are held on Thursday, 6 October at The Pavillion, Arts Centre Melbourne.

Interview with Sonia Davoine, Pearson Australia

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 individuals involved in the creation and development of educational resources.

We caught up with Sonia Davoine from Pearson Australia to talk about Pearson 7–10 Activity Books, a shortlisted entry for the Secondary: Student Resource – Junior – English/Humanities/Languages/Arts/Technologies/Health and Physical Education award.

What is your current role at Pearson? Could you tell us a little bit about yourself and your interest in publishing.

I work in the Schools Learning Services department at Pearson, in the Literacy and Humanities team as a Senior Content and Learning Specialist. I am in charge of the Languages portfolio, as well as some English, Literacy and, sometimes, Humanities projects, from Foundation to Year 10.

After studying publishing in France, I lived in China and taught ESL and French in years F–12 and at university, and also worked as a freelance translator and editor. When I first started living in Australia, I taught French and Chinese and freelanced for a few educational publishers before starting work at Pearson 8 years ago. This allowed me to combine my passion for learning and developing quality resources that engage students and address the needs of the classroom.

Why do you think Pearson 7–10 Activity Books stand out in the crowd? What does it offer that schools and teachers are looking for?

The Pearson English 7–10 Activity Books have been carefully rewritten for this second edition based on teacher and student feedback and analysis of classroom needs. The Activity Books address the requirements of the latest version of the Australian Curriculum: English and offer updated texts, activities and design. The authors, who are experienced practising teachers and writers, have revised the content of the books to ensure it caters for students of all abilities, including students with English as an Additional Language.

The Activity Books are designed to develop and consolidate students’ knowledge and understanding of the English language and grammar, and integrate cumulative learning in the Language strand of the curriculum, as well as in the Literature and Literacy strands. Students are supported with clear explanations and scaffolded learning. They are exposed to rich and varied literature sources and text types, including contemporary and classic texts, Australian Aboriginal storytelling and news articles. Clear Language explanations are followed by scaffolded activities to use the language in context and build on grammar, vocabulary, spelling, reading and writing skills. At the back of the book, four revision units support students in preparing for summative assessment. Teachers have access to extension activities, tests, pedagogical support and Australian Curriculum correlation charts online for free.

Pearson English 7–10 has been revised and offers updated texts, activities, design and coverage of the Australian Curriculum: English. For those that may not be sure, how do the Activity Books fit within the Pearson English digital and print suite of resources?

The Activity Books tasks can be used in the classroom as part of the English lesson, at the end of a lesson to further practise or extend knowledge, or at home as homework. It is really up to the teacher to decide on how it will best benefit their students’ learning outcomes. The student-friendly language explanations are supported with clear examples, as well as the supporting feature boxes embedded in the pages that allow students to work independently. They can also choose to pair up with a classmate or a friend to complete an activity. The teacher becomes the facilitator in Language learning.

The Pearson Places Teacher ProductLink page for the Pearson English Second Edition Activity Books, available online, includes additional teacher support linked directly with the Activity Book content including: a Teacher Companion (including all answers, teaching and learning strategies, EAL/D teaching notes, extension activities and revision ideas for the classroom and more), Australian Curriculum mapping of the Activity Books, tests and worksheets for extension work.

How do you see digital developing in future classrooms?

I like to believe that in the near future, all students in the Australian classroom will have their own device of choice and access to personalised learning, instant feedback and creative opportunities. Teachers will be able to track their students’ progress, as a class and individually, and adapt instructions accordingly. All students will be challenged at their personal level and supported in order to address their needs. Teachers will facilitate learning and have all the tools they need in one place. Students will take responsibility for their learning and feel empowered.

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

I think there are some great products presented at this year’s EPAs. It is really hard to say that your product deserves to win over any other. I trust the judges of this year’s EPAs, as per any previous year, have done a great job at assessing all the resources that were submitted for consideration and will choose the product they think best fits the selection criteria.

I would like to thank the team that worked on this project, including the in-house and out-of-house personnel (the project managers, development editor, designer, illustrators, editors, copyright and permissions editor, and everyone else) who believed in this product and worked tirelessly at making it a success.

Good luck and all the best Pearson Australia!

The Educational Publishing Awards are held on Thursday, 6 October at The Pavillion, Arts Centre Melbourne.

Interview with Lesley Englert, Firefly Education

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 individuals involved in the creation and development of educational resources.

We caught up with Lesley Englert (former ACARA board member and teacher) who has teamed up with Firefly Education to create English Stars, a shortlisted entry for the Primary: Student Resource – English (Literacy, Literature, Language) award.

Why do you think English is such an important subject?
English is the foundation for all learning! We rely on literacy for nearly every aspect of life; it helps us develop our knowledge and potential; allows us to fully engage with our community and culture. Our ability to read, view, write, design, speak and listen means we can understand and communicate effectively in the world we live.

What challenges do you think teachers face when delivering a comprehensive English program?
Being a teacher is a lot harder than most people realise! I know first-hand how much time it takes to put together a lesson. Teachers are expected to do so much more than just teaching: there’s also planning, finding quality resources, marking, and managing behaviour. Now, imagine this workload across five or more subjects! I wanted English Stars to include everything teachers need, so they can focus on what’s most important — their students.

What was your motivation for developing an English program?
The implementation of the Australian Curriculum for English was the subject of many discussions I had with Peter (Stannard) and Ann (Smales) – the Directors of Firefly Education. All of us have been in the classroom and know the kind of pressures that teachers face.

We incorporate English learning into just about every subject, but until now there hasn’t been a comprehensive English program available to teachers.

We wanted to create a program that would be teacher-led… Something with all the lesson resources, planning and assessment tools that teachers could use to deliver an effective English program. After a lot of late nights and long phone calls, working through our shared vision, we decided the time was right to make it happen– and that’s how English Stars was born!

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

English Stars isn’t just the same old workbook exercises — we really wanted to make the most of all the new technology that has been making its way into classrooms. At the same time, we didn’t want to arbitrarily digitise everything, just for the sake of it. There are things that technology allows us to do that we could never do before. But sometimes, it’s better to have students writing things, or collaborating, or interacting with real, material objects.

So, we created a program that could have the best of both worlds. We use digital technology to save time on things like automatically marking activities, monitoring progress in real time, or capturing results and collating them in interesting and meaningful ways. That said, we haven’t thrown the baby out with the bathwater! There are still abundant opportunities for kids to engage in handwriting, and hone their listening and interaction skills. It’s all there!

I think the program’s innovation in seamlessly uniting curriculum and technology is a great representation of what the awards are all about. English Stars is certainly unique in the Australian education landscape.

I’d also be remiss if I didn’t mention all of the talented people at Firefly Education who helped create the amazing learning videos, and teaching slideshows and all of these clever interactive tools and activities that I believe are both delightful and useful.

Good luck and all the best Firefly Education!

The Educational Publishing Awards are held on Thursday, 6 October at The Pavillion, Arts Centre Melbourne.

Interview with Nina Sharpe, Cambridge University 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 individuals involved in the creation and development of educational resources.

Today we caught up with Nina Sharpe from Cambridge University Press to talk about Knowledge of Life, a shortlisted entry for the Tertiary (Wholly Australian): Scholarly Resource award.

For those that may not be sure, what is your role at Cambridge University Press? Could you tell us a little bit about yourself and your interest in publishing.

I am Senior Commissioning Editor and Development Manager at Cambridge University Press where I have worked for the past six years. I’ve worked for other publishing houses throughout my time in the industry, always placed in Higher Education. I have a passion for Education and developing content into learning solutions for students. It’s ever challenging and rewarding to see this unfold.

Knowledge of Life is the first textbook to provide students with a comprehensive guide to Aboriginal and Tores Strait Islander Australia. Do you believe there is a need in the market for a product that is written by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander academics on a range of topics from history and reconciliation, to sport and health?

There are so many reputable Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander academics within Universities across Australia and I have been lucky enough to work with many of them. As I worked with this team, led by Kaye Price, the experience and passion among them prevailed, and the collaboration allowed the sharing of ideas to come together as a team.

Not only do the authors write with authority on their respective topics, but they present a precis’ to open each chapter offering a personal insight into their experience growing up as an Aboriginal Australian. These authentic voices encourage students to engage with the issues on another level and to understand the real-life implications.

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

It does not specialise in one area and allows students to explore a range of pressing issues across social, cultural and political landscapes. The topics cover sport, reconciliation, literature, art, human rights and midwifery to name a few. The language is engaging and personal, while well researched and detailed. It is contemporary, topical and relevant. It was a manuscript I couldn’t drag myself away from and I’m sure the book has had the same effect on readers.

Were there any challenges leading up to the publication of Knowledge of Life?

As with many books, it was challenging to bring together the right team to write and to keep things on schedule – though this is of course not unique to this text! While there were challenging times during the writing process, the manuscript was delivered to publish on time and once it publishes all those delays are a distant memory.

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

There were many involved in bringing this publication to life across editorial, production, sales and marketing but most importantly I want to acknowledge the author, Kaye Price. Kaye’s career has been dedicated to better education and she has worked tirelessly to improve the education experience of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. I have personally learnt so much and benefited from my experience working so closely with her and value the ongoing friendship we have developed.

Having Kaye’s expertise and leadership, alongside the collaboration of the contributors and the array of ideas presented in one package is unique and distinctive from any other publication. This is a very special book!

 

Good luck and all the best Nina and the team at Cambridge!

The Educational Publishing Awards are held on Thursday, 6 October at The Pavillion, Arts Centre Melbourne.

 

Professor Mike Horsley and the Educational Publishing Awards

Until the establishment of the Educational Publishing Awards, educational publishing in Australia enjoyed little, if any, professional recognition. The inaugural Awards in 1994 gave Australian educational publishers their first opportunity to shine.

This year, the Awards mark their 23rd year of celebrating excellence in educational publishing.

Their ongoing success is a tribute to Professor Mike Horsley, who was a driving force in their inception. In establishing the Awards in partnership with the Australian Publishers Association, Professor Horsley’s aim was to encourage leading-edge educational publishing. He has been Chief Judge in the Awards since then, tirelessly promoting the cultural and educational value of publications designed to meet the needs of Australian students and teachers.

Words: Penny Martin 

For the full story remember to pick up a copy of the Educational Publishing Awards catalogue at the ceremony.