Posts Tagged ‘literacy’

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 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.