Leading innovator in mathematics education resources, Brisbane-based ORIGO Education is at it again – taking out an impressive win in the prestigious 2021 Educational Publishing Awards Australia.
Co-founded in 1993, the annual Educational Publishing Awards, coordinated by the Australian Publishers Association, reward excellence and innovation in the industry.
Announced as national winner of the Primary: Student Resource – Mathematics category, ORIGO Education has led the way in producing traditional printed and digital interactive resources for Foundation and Primary aged children since its establishment in 1995.
Initially created to help meet the needs of time-poor and under-resourced parents struggling to home-school their children during the pandemic, the digitally animated Big Books series is ideal for students from Foundation to Year 2 and has been met with wide acclaim from the industry, teachers and parents.
As the pandemic crisis was escalating in 2020, ORIGO Education was inundated with orders for its already popular hard copy Big Books (a series of engaging large-format mathematics storybooks for young learners) but quickly recognised the need for something more.
Heeding the call of time-poor parents, fun and interactive digital Big Books were created, featuring animated avatars of teachers – one of which is ORIGO Education co-founder and co-author of the Big Book series, James Burnett.
The avatars not only read the stories, but they pause after each page to engage learners with thoughtful questions.
Mr Burnett said his team was honoured to receive such a distinguished award from Educational Publishing Awards Australia.
“The Educational Publishing Awards Australia is the industry’s major annual awards event. For more than two decades the standard of winners has been exceptional and hard to beat, so it’s a true honour for us to be recognised at this level,” said Mr Burnett.
Mr Burnett said one of the biggest issues that children face during the pandemic is being out of a school routine, which impacts their ability to retain information as they usually would in a classroom environment.
“While it can be a struggle to juggle the many facets of life in lockdown, parents are also discovering they can do so much more at home to support their children’s learning and help to make it fun,” he said.
“Feedback indicates that our animated Big Books have helped reduce the anxiety that many parents experience when supporting their children with learning at home, and they are providing a new and interesting resource for teachers in the classroom.”
ORIGO Education worked with Cetati Studios, whose veteran artists hail from beloved creativity centres such as Pixar, Disney and Warner Brothers, to produce engaging digital versions of ORIGO Big Books.
“Learning math through stories is fun and feels natural when kids form an emotional bond with diverse characters they can relate to,” said Brian Lovrin, CEO and co-founder of Cetati Studios.
Mr Burnett said it was clear parents of young learners were eager to access the best resources to help their children get ahead, or in some cases, catch up.
The Big Books are designed to introduce new mathematics concepts to students in Foundation to Year 2 by using language and contexts that are familiar to them.
“They put the mathematics in real, non-threatening situations to allow children to experience the fun of mathematics without feeling the pressure that they are actively learning,” said Mr Burnett.
“With the accompanying tunes and digital learning tools, ORIGO Big Books make the learning experience engaging and exciting.
“The books expand on children’s existing language and vocabulary to help them understand new maths concepts.”
ORIGO Education co-founders James Burnett and Dr Calvin Irons also authored Mathematics from Many Cultures, the series that took out its category and the overall award at the inaugural Educational Publishing Awards almost three decades ago.
After 26 years of creating accessible mathematics content for Australia and 13 other countries, the ORIGO Education team is focused on ensuring children worldwide have a concrete understanding of mathematics concepts so they can use it beyond the classroom.
“Of course, we want all children to perform well in school – however, our underlying purpose is about so much more,” said Mr Burnett.
“We want to prepare children for a world where they have the skills and the confidence to contribute to society as problem solvers, thinkers, and innovators.
“We want to encourage our children to become the best citizens they can be – individuals who can find alternate solutions that can better shape our world.”