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December 2015


  1. Season's Greetings
  2. Introduction / activities
  3. New members / previous members
  4. General Assembly, October, 13th
  5. Book Fair in Frankfurt October 14th to 18th October
  6. School systems in Europe
  7. Revising the BELMA
  8. OEB conference
  9. BETT 2016
  10. IPA/EPF: EPF Meeting in Cologne, London book fair April and What works conference
  11. Management board meeting in Portugal
  12. Network meetings in 2016
  13. News from the member states
  14. Introducing service providers/suppliers
  15. Useful links

1 Season's Greetings

EEPG Newsletter 2015_4 Pix 000.jpeg

2 Introduction / activities

It has taken some time to get this newsletter off to you for two reasons. Firstly, we are now able to send you this through the website directly. We will be using the same technology for BELMA, when we write to possible participants in mid-January. Secondly, I wanted to make sure we had all the votes for new membership.
In the fourth quarter of this year, activities focussed on organizing the General Assembly as well as the Frankfurt book fair and the BELMA award ceremony. In addition, the bye-laws were revised yet again after the general assembly. Following discussions at the AGM and at the book fair, first steps were taken to revise BELMA. For this, we will need your assistance. Please see under 6

3 New members / previous members

We are very pleased to welcome Ranok as a new member to the EEPG. The EEPG website will be updated with the company profile, the logo and the contact information in the first week of January.
Meanwhile, the votes for Learnetic as the next candidate are coming in. Please keep them coming and remember the deadline of January 15th.
Unfortunately, we have to exclude Vesna from the Ukraine because despite every effort, they have not been able to meet the required financial arrangements and have therefore decided to leave. The same is the case for Prosveshcheniye from Russia, who feel they cannot take full benefit of what the EEPG has to offer.

4 General Assembly, October, 13th

The AGM was attended by 13 members and was held at the Novotel in Frankfurt from 14:00 - 15:00. The presentation of the director as well as the minutes can be downloaded from the EEPG website in the Members area/Useful Documents/Annual General Meeting minutes and presentations.
The most important outcomes of the AGM were:

  • Change of the byelaws for legal reasons (conformity with Danish and European law).
  • Change of the bye-laws to open up the EEPG to strengthen its position
  • Election of the new management board:
    • Frank Thalhofer (incoming chairman 2016)
    • Teuvo Sankila (outgoing chairman)
    • Kina Andreeva
    • Carmo Correia
  • Confirmation of fee structure for 2016
    • Members: 4075
    • First year members: 2850

5 Book Fair in Frankfurt October 14th to 18th October

Because the book fair had reorganized the halls and the international hall 10 was disbanded, there was a lot going on in hall 4, where the EEPG has its stand. We were in a very good position next to the Educational Hot Spot and many people stopped by and enquired about EEPG. Mostly, of course, people want to sell something, but there were also publishers inquiring about membership. We are following this up and will give you more information in the next edition of this newsletter. The EEPG stand was also a good meeting place for members. Please remember that you can use the facilities if you do not have your own stand. Next year, I will allocate a few hours every day for members - and if we are near the Educational Hot Spot again, there is always free coffee! Here are some impressions from the 2015 event.

Before disclosure of the BELMA winners. Members using the stand for meetings.
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The EEPG stand with the BELMA winning products on display and a happy stand crew.

EEPG Newsletter 2015_4 Pix 002.jpg

The management board discusses changes to BELMA with Jean-Claude Lasnier and Christoph Bläsi.
EEPG Newsletter 2015_4 Pix 003.jpg

A good crowd at the BELMA ceremony. More pictures here and in the photo gallery.
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Celebrating with a glass of wine - reception after the BELMA prize giving.

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In Hall 5 Kreativni Centar stand ....

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... and Patakis stand.

EEPG Newsletter 2015_4 Pix 007.jpg

6 School systems in Europe

While I was doing some research on what would make a good foundation for our new BELMA categories, I came across this very interesting dossier - The structure of the European education systems 2014/15: schematic diagrams. The report is available in English, Spanish, French and German. Because it has very good diagrams for each country it is very easy to compare the school systems. Forty-four education systems are included covering 36 countries participating in the EU's Erasmus+ program (EU Member States, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Montenegro, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Norway, Serbia and Turkey). If you are trading rights or want to acquire text books from another publisher this comparison of school systems can be extremely useful.

7 Revising the BELMA

Following the AGM and the BELMA ceremony this year, we sat down to start revising the BELMA. Further down follows a detailed project plan - if you do not have time to read it, here is what we would like you to do:

  • Visit the BELMA Registration page and check out the new description of the categories. If you have comments, please write me a short message.
  • Please send me a contact list of 5 - 8 people who you consider stakeholders. When revising the criteria, we want to test them on stakeholders using a survey tool. For the first round, we already have 10 people to test the questions on, but then we would like to do a second round with 30 stakeholders. They should cover different subjects and levels from primary to tertiary. These can be:
    • People from your editorial team (any subject, any level)
    • Teachers and teacher trainers for different subjects and different school systems and levels
    • People from the ministries you know, who are involved in curricula development
    • Authors you think are particularly aware of quality and methodology
  • Please send me this list by January 30th.
"The aim of the project is to develop a new set of criteria for the Best Educational Learning Materials Awards. These criteria will take into consideration the existing ones where appropriate. The new criteria will be tested extensively and are meant to become fully operational in 2017. A combination of current criteria and new ones will be used - if appropriate - for the 2016 competition.

Specification for new criteria:
  • Based on the same set of criteria, there should be two versions which can be communicated:
    • A clear transparent short version: this can be used by the publisher as a marketing tool and it enables the "normal" user to see why a material is considered prize worthy.
    • A more elaborate jury version that enables the jury to methodically differentiate between the products entered to the award competition.
  • The new criteria will have to be illustrated by sample spreads/learning objects/screenshots, etc., possibly taken from previous winners.
  • The new criteria will have to cater for all kinds of learning materials. To warrant this, two areas apart from the criteria will also need looking at:
    • there has to be a clear definition for the type of products that can be entered
    • a possible revision of the categories may be necessary
The criteria used so far are the result of an EU-funded project of the 1990s; they had been based on contemporary research, with a somewhat bias towards language learning. This bias resulted in the need to extensive discussions when other products were presented that as such could not fulfill the requirements (maths books for example). The jury was aware of this and therefore devised countermeasures that will not be necessary with the new set of criteria.

It is the idea to develop the new criteria in a bottom-up process, based mainly on educated views of stakeholders. One of the reasons for that is that we cannot initiate a corresponding generalized research project at this point - and that the award is situated in a community of practice that can be assumed to have clear ideas on the quality of learning materials.
As far as possible, the bottom-up process will be informed by current scholarly results regarding the quality of learning materials as well as by critical thinking concerning e.g. potentially partial views by specific stakeholders. In addition, its results will be reflected in the light of contemporary research as explicitly as possible, since there are very few resources currently devoted to this kind of research.

Materials publishers, researchers, teacher trainers, teachers as well as people from the educational administration (ministries) are seen as the prime stakeholders in this project. The reason why we do not include pupils and parents is that they are not the decision makers when a learning material gets adopted.
Due to specific requirements as a consequence of
  • the age group of the learners concerned,
  • the school subject
  • the country / language / culture,
it is important to have a balanced set of participants considering this.

In a "pilot" round, we plan to have a first version of the survey questions sent to some 10 stakeholders. Their answers will be used to refine the evaluation methods for the survey. The second round will include 30 stakeholders.

The survey itself will be divided into two parts.
  1. Stakeholders are asked to list what they think makes a learning material a good learning material
  2. They will be asked to bring possible quality (based on the experience of the jury and the old criteria) in a priority sequence.
This combination warrants an open approach that is not too much guided by pre suppositions but at the same time allows a structured evaluation."

8 OEB conference Berlin, December 2015

This conference takes place in Berlin every year. It used to be known as online-educa. I don't know if anybody of you went and how you saw it. Personally, I find it both very technology driven and not practical enough for publishers. But it is always good to see what is happening in the world. I couldn't go this time because I was invited to present the publishers' perspective at a conference in Braunschweig (proceedings to follow in newsletter 2016_1) but I am subscribing to the OEB newsletter. You can get a lot of information on their website. They had interesting keynote speakers this year and you can watch them on video. Unfortunately, not all of the videos have a good sound quality, but I can recommend the video on the investors panel (spotlight stage).

9 BETT Show in London 20-23 January 2016

The BETT show ( Better teaching through technology) is held at Excel in London and admission is free. As those of you know who attend regularly, it is a very big show with a lot of events, seminars and talks in all strands of education. Two members of the EEPG have stands at BETT, CET from Israel and Cornelsen from Germany. Also, the latest candidate for joining the EEPG, Learnetic has a stand. If you are planning to attend, please drop me a line and we can arrange a get-together.

10 IPA/EPF: EPF Meeting in Cologne, London book fair April and What Works Conference

The EEPG will take part in the Educational Publishers meeting in Cologne at the end of January. If you want me to put points and issues on the agenda, please let me know. As a member of the IPA and hence the EPF, we will be able to disseminate the latest information from IPA. If there are any issues or discussion points you would like to put forward to the EPF but cannot attend yourself, you can always send me your questions.

The 31st international publishers congress will take place in London on April 9-12. Here are the details. Don't miss the early bird rate if you want to go.The congress itself is quite expensive and probably not that useful for educational publishers, but please look at the " What works conference" http://www.londonbookfair.co.uk . EEPG Members who want to participate at the "what works conference" will get a special discount through EEPG. Please let me know by early January and I'll send you the code for registration with a discount. Christoph Bläsi, a member of the BELMA jury, will most likely give a presentation.

11 EEPG management board meeting

The next (real) management board meeting will be in Alfragide in Portugal on February 26th when we will finish and confirm the road map for 2016. We will ask you for points to be added to the agenda closer to the date.

12 Network meetings and conference 2016

There will be two network meetings in 2016 and one big conference. The conference will be open to non members of the EEPG and we would like to invite people who are in government and make educational politics especially. As has been discussed many times, because of their "helicopter perspective", those responsible for curricula or educational reform are often so far removed from reality that both students and teachers as well as those providing teaching materials suffer. Please do send me contact addresses from ministries and universities who we should invite for the conference.
The topic of the conference will be along the lines of "New trends in pedagogy and teaching. From kindergarten to vocational schools, from assessment to visualization. How does technology influence learning? What does his mean for curricula development, what is the (new) role of the teacher, what is the publishers position in the triangle of curricula development, teaching and learning?"
Here are the dates for all the network meetings. Please note that network meetings last for a day and a half with a welcome dinner on the evening before, while the conference is a two-day event, also with a dinner on the first day. There is a small fee for the conference to cover expenses. For non-members the fee will be higher. You will be able to register online from the first of January. A detailed description for each event will also be online.
  • Aarhus May 12. - 13. (decision makers)
  • Athens June 9. - 10. (copyright)
  • Berlin September 15. - 17. (conference)

13 News from the member states

The situation in many member states has not changed much. Kina writes from Bulgaria:
"We are here in a very difficult situation. We still don't have approved curricula but we have a draft of an order published on the site of the Ministry of Education which says that we have to submit our new projects of textbooks for the 1st and the 5th grades on August 5th. So we have seven months to prepare about 40 projects."
The situation remains very unstable and difficult in Poland and Serbia. There will be a chance to compare and discuss measurements at the network meeting for decision makers in Aarhus.

14 Introducing service providers/suppliers

During the book fair we were contacted by several publishers, service suppliers and technology companies who would either like to sell rights or products. Mostly, I have referred them and asked them to contact you directly via the contact information on our website, but some asked me to pass on the information. So without any evaluation, here is a company that produces language games and is looking for a partner/distributor:

"If you are interested in Interactive English language games, please contact
Jet Hiensch at Bang the Button.

The star-game «Bang the button!!!», awarded by the European Language Label 2014, is available in 4 editions/levels whereas their most recent game «The Chatterbox» is available at the level Starters.
Their websiteis www.kriamisso.com

Here is also a price list for distribution/resale are concerned:

Here is also a price list for distribution/resale are concerned (Prices in Euro):
Resale/Distribution (excl. VAT) Recommended price (incl. VAT)
Bang The Button 12,50 24,95
The Chatterbox 13,50 27,70

15 Useful links

While looking at new trends in pedagogy I came across this website which holds lot of information for teachers but can also be very useful for anybody developing materials. I also liked their diagram.

If you are looking for statistics on education, here is a link that also might be of interest. I found their take on teacher shortage interesting since we have often talked about the publisher's role in teacher training.
You might also be interested in this (older) report on Education and training in Europe 2010.

And finally to end this newsletter on a lighter note, enjoy this article from the Huffington Post.

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E-Mail: helga.holtkamp@eepg.org