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.
We caught up with Gregory Crocetti, the Co-director at Scale Free Network, about The Invisible War: A Tale of Two Scales, to see how things have panned out since winning the Most Outstanding Resource of the Year Award at last year’s Educational Publishing Awards Australia (EPAAs). Here’s what he had to say:
After taking out the gong for ‘Most Outstanding Resource of the Year’ at the 2017 EPAAs, the resource has generated considerable buzz. Did you expect the response for The Invisible War: A Tale of Two Scales to be overwhelming positive?
From the start, we knew we had a unique idea, but we couldn’t be sure of how it would be received. The team (Ailsa, Ben, Briony, Jeremy and I) worked really hard to weave the diverse elements of the story together in an engaging way, and to do justice to the history and the science content. We felt proud of the work before we started getting validation from independent sources, but I think we have all been surprised at just how well it has done. It feels great to see the creative risks we took, pay off. Considering that for most of the team, The Invisible War is our first graphic novel, we’re doubly pleased that the response has been so positive, not just from an educational publishing perspective but also from the book design and literary world. Perhaps there’s something to be said for coming to a genre fresh, with no set idea about what a comic should or should not be able to express.
How has winning an EPAA award made a difference to Scale Free Network?
It’s really been an amazing ride for Scale Free Network (SFN) since the EPAAs in late 2017. With this award under our belt (and the sticker on the cover of our graphic novel), we have felt more confident in our interdisciplinary approach and developments have been happening at a faster rate. We might not be able to call ourselves a micro-publisher much longer! First off, we’ve finalised a deal with CSIRO Publishing to co-publish four titles in our picture book series, Small Friends Books, and recently we received support from the Australia Council for the Arts to travel to the Frankfurt Book Fair. Concerning The Invisible War, I am excited to announce that earlier in 2018, we signed the North American rights to Graphic Universe, an imprint of Lerner Books – the largest independent publisher in the USA – who will release a US hard-cover edition of the book around April/May 2019.
Could you tell us what this North American deal means for the future of the book?
Our immediate hope is that we can now capitalise on the momentum from North America to pursue other foreign rights deals at the Frankfurt Book Fair in October. We would particularly love to see The Invisible War published across Europe and Asia. Of course, the upcoming US release also means a wider audience for our story. Ultimately, we want as many people to read the book as possible – and to journey into the amazing (and radically underappreciated) world of microbes that call our bodies home.
Perhaps most significantly, we also now feel we have a strong case to take the ideas and concepts behind The Invisible War from one book, and turn them into a series of graphic novels, set across the microscopic landscapes of the human body. The working title for this series is Planet Human…Stay tuned!
For those that may not know, could you tell us a little more about Scale Free Network? And the wins and challenges of being considered a micro-publisher in Melbourne.
SFN is a Melbourne-based, art-science collective and micro-publisher originally founded by conceptual artist Briony Barr and myself, having stepped back from my research as a microbial ecologist.
Since 2007, we have developed our interdisciplinary methodology through workshops (co-developed with artist Jacqueline Smith), participatory installations and exhibitions inspired by the ‘invisible majority’ (microbial communities and physical forces beyond human perception). Our projects aim to ‘visualise the invisible’ and to question the human-scale lens through which we relate to the world. We have presented work at science and art institutions throughout Australia and internationally, including at the 2017 Melbourne Festival (Experimenta Make Sense), World Science Festival Brisbane and Museum of Modern & Contemporary Art in Korea.
In 2014, we expanded our practice to include the co-creation and publication of the Small Friends Books series. The series – now co-published with CSIRO Publishing – explores the ubiquitous phenomenon of cooperation between microorganisms and larger life forms. Each story is created in collaboration with writer Ailsa Wild, illustrator Aviva Reed in consultation with scientists and educators.
How does The Invisible War improve educational outcomes for students?
I find it amazing that 99% of the biodiversity on Earth, including the diversity on and inside our bodies, is invisible to the naked eye. There’s all of this amazing new scientific research revealing the roles that microbes, especially bacteria and viruses, play every day in keeping our bodies and minds healthy. Ultimately, we hope The Invisible War will help spark curiosity in the minds of readers – both young and old – about the microscopic world, encouraging people to take a less human-centric perspective about our place in the natural world. We can talk about STEM or STEAM resources as much as we like, but in my humble opinion, the best science education finds engaging ways to inspire a sense of wonder and get people asking questions…
Taking a broader view of education, there has been lots of talk of cross-curriculum priorities and interdisciplinary resources in recent years, but high school classrooms and textbooks largely remain within their content silos. I’d like to think that The Invisible War might help nudge more teachers to think about the possibilities of working more across disciplines – for example, using science to help think about history, literature to think differently about science and so on.
How does your resource approach the course material in a different way to others in the market?
The Invisible War is clearly an unconventional resource. On one hand, it only covers a limited amount of science and history content. But on the other, feedback from teachers suggests that it has much greater potential to engage a broader range of students in learning than a typical textbook. As a species, we’ve learned through telling stories for thousands of years, so why not use that to our advantage in the classroom as much as possible – particularly in Science classrooms – where the content can often be difficult to bring to life…and where so many students give up trying, having decided they “don’t get it”.
We hope to see you all at the industry event of the year, held at The Pavilion, Arts Centre Melbourne on Thursday, 20 September 2018.
We asked Cengage Content Manager, Chee Ng, and author Vivienne O’Shannessy, about The Road to Hospitality, 4e, winner of the 2017 EPAA for TAFE & Vocational Education: Student Resource. Here’s what they had to say:
Tell us about one thing that makes the quality of The Road to Hospitality so great?
Currency in training and learning contexts is king in the fast-paced, often volatile and frequently uncertain world of hospitality. Learners and trainers need to be confident that what they learn today is still valid and relevant tomorrow. The Road to Hospitality contextualises latest scenarios and case studies from the industry to provide learners with rich and practical learning experience.
How does this resource improve education outcomes for students?
Job outcomes is frequently cited as a core focus of vocational education. The content focuses on core knowledge and essential skills to help learners acquire relevant employability skills throughout their course. Learning skills, adaptability, problem solving, self-management, communication and technical competencies are some examples of employability skills covered in the text, to make learning more authentic and practical for learners.
Tell us about the additional teaching and learning resources that support this title.
Trainers and assessors are typically time-poor; therefore, any additional support they can derive from resources that accompany the text such as PPT, extension activities, quizzes, mapping grids, and solutions manuals, help them focus their time and energy on delivering great learning experiences for the learner. Trainers can utilise the complimentary SearchMe! Hospitality online database in research activities or as assessments to enrich and extend students’ knowledge base.
How does this resource approach the course material in a different way to others in the market?
This text has been a mainstay for learners and trainers alike. Throughout its long life, the Road to Hospitality has always focused on learning outcomes for real occupational outcomes. It provides foundational skills on which to build a lifelong career in the hospitality industry. Each chapter addresses one unit of competency, mapped to the latest SIT Training Package whilst providing adequate volume of learning and amount of assessment for hospitality courses.
We hope to see you all at the industry event of the year, held at The Pavilion, Arts Centre Melbourne on Thursday, 20 September 2018.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Daniel Aspinall and I am the Publishing and Editorial Manager for Secondary at Oxford University Press.
What Educational Publishing Award did you win in 2017?
In 2017, we were lucky enough to take home the Secondary Publisher of the Year award. This was a great honour for us – firstly because we had never won it before – but mainly because it is an award that is determined by the outcome of a survey conducted by the Australian Publishers Association of teachers, librarians and booksellers around the country. As these are the people we are here to help, it’s a lovely validation of all the hard work that goes into what we do.
What is it about your products that makes the quality so great?
At Oxford, we take our responsibilities to teachers and students really seriously, and ensuring great quality content is a large part of that. It’s really a team effort from start to finish. Our authors, publishers, editors, designers, production and permissions staff consults closely with partner schools at the start of each project to identify what they need. We then work hard to give it to them in a range of different formats that will suit their needs. In other words, we try to put our customers at the centre of everything we do.
Many of us have been teachers in our former lives, so we understand the importance of having resources that are designed to meet the demands of classrooms today. To do this, we trial content and digital resources with partner schools throughout development and work directly with teachers and students to ensure our books are appropriate for use in a range of different schools and classrooms.
How has winning awards at the EPAAs made a difference to your company?
As a company, I think winning the Secondary Publisher of the Year in 2017 helped us build credibility and trust with our customers. It’s a great award because the people who voted for us – teachers, librarians and booksellers – are the reason why we’re in business.
When it comes right down to it, though, I think the real value of the EPAAs lies in their ability to raise the profile of educational publishing in Australia as an industry. They make a difference for all of us by increasing awareness in the wider community about the importance of the work that we all do. It may not be terribly sexy, but developing high-quality, innovative print and digital resources that help improve learning outcomes for Australian teachers and students can be really rewarding. That’s the real difference we’re interested in making.
How do your resources improve educational outcomes for students?
That’s a really interesting question. On the one hand, it’s very simple and straightforward, but on the other hand it’s actually one of the most complex and pedagogically challenging questions going around at the moment – so, let me answer it in two parts.
At a local level, we do everything we can to ensure that our resources are accurate, appropriately levelled, aligned to curriculum and offer multiple entry points for students of all abilities. Many of the teachers using our products on a daily basis contact us to tell us about the positive impacts our resources are having with their students and also identify aspects of our resources that could be improved and refined. Teachers know their students better than anyone and are generally pretty happy to discuss their thoughts and feelings about what’s working and what’s not. To improve outcomes, you just have to be prepared to listen and act on this feedback.
On a global level, we are currently developing a consistent process for evaluating our educational products and services so that teachers, learners and parents can be sure that our resources make a positive difference. As a department of the University of Oxford, improving educational outcomes is fundamental to our mission as an organisation. By evaluating the impact of our products and services, we will be able to evidence the difference that our products and services make, and feed results into the product development process.
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.