Book Creator competition – meet the judges

Dan KempBlog

Hopefully you noticed the announcement of our Book Creator competition last month and have started making preparations to enter and win some amazing prizes! Up for grabs are 5 Chrome tablets, a Book Creator premium upgrade for every teacher in your school, paid registration to ISTE next June and professional printing of the winning books.

You have until 10th January 2020 to get your entries in! There are two age categories and the theme is A Better Future. Full competition details are here.

Book Creator competition for schools

Meet the judges

Now then, here’s your opportunity to meet the judges and maybe pick up some tips from expert Book Creator Ambassadors!

The panel will be assessing your books with three main criteria: idea/concept, design and communication. So we’ve made sure your judges represent a wide spectrum of disciplines, world views and expertise. Here they are.

Michael Cohen

Michael CohenBetter known as The Tech Rabbi, Michael is a designer, educator and creativity instigator. His mission is to help educators around the world reveal their own creative abilities so they can empower students to solve interesting problems and become positive contributors to our global society.

He is the author of the book Educated By Design, which outlines his principles for revealing and nurturing our innate creative courage and capacity. He is a national keynote speaker, advisor, and trainer. When he isn’t traveling the world sharing his message, he serves as the director of innovation for Yeshiva University of Los Angeles Boys School (YULA) where he manages and teaches at the Schlesinger STEAM and Entrepreneurship Center.

Michael says:
“I am excited about this competition because it celebrates student ideas and empowers them to publish learning that they care about. Entrees should showcase the empowerment of student voice and authorship, as students need to have the freedom to create and not just consume.”


Josephine Kulandairaj

Josephine KulandairajJosephine is a Computer Science teacher originally from India but now teaching in Bristol, UK. Josephine’s student Nandini won the first ever Book Creator competition in 2016, so she’s worth listening to!

Josephine says:
“I cannot forget those moments when my student stood first in the global competition and received an iPad Pro. It has motivated her and helped her to excel and achieve more. I can’t thank the Book Creator team enough for shaping such young learners. It drives me to motivate more young learners across the globe. I am happy now to contribute to the team as a panelist.

“I love the theme for the current competition ‘A Better Future’ — imbibed with the 17 UN Sustainable Goals. Students of this generation are well aware of their problems in every walks of life, may it be social, economical or environmental. I believe they are the problem solvers and solution makers. My message to every student – remember, the most important thing is not to win but to take part.”


Jonathan Nalder

With over 19 years in education, Jonathan has seen seen how learning, digital tools (iPads, STEAM, AR/VR) and “future thinking” can transform lives. Now, as a globally awarded innovator, Digital Coach at St Peters Lutheran College (Brisbane, Australia), Advance Queensland Digital Champion, Apple Distinguished Educator, HundrEd Advisor and CoSpaces Ambassador, Jonathan actively helps leaders and learners shift thinking to embrace the coming fully digital, AI era.

Jonathan says:
“The future is a place we will all share – and who better than its future residents to start sharing their thoughts and plans now? The truth is we know the transition to a fully digital, AI-era is happening – but the speed of change means we don’t know how it will turn out. The 100+ experts of the global FutureWe community have concluded that students need the skills to adapt and thrive no matter what comes. As the founder of FutureWe, I’m thrilled that students can share their solutions in this competition and start focusing on the problem solving that will set them apart.

“When entering, make sure you think that less is more. You’re mastering the sharing and storytelling skills that can help you get a great job in the future. Think about using images and shorter amounts of text that help the reader absorb your book more easily.”

“Also – (wink wink) students can find out where they are up to with future skills with the free survey our community has prepared: bit.ly/future_survey_students


Pana Asavavatana

Pana AsavavatanaPana is the PreK-1 Technology and Design Coach at Taipei American School. Prior to this she taught in early childhood classrooms for seven years. She has studied, lived, and worked on three continents in eight different cities. Pana shares insights into her teaching process on her blog, mspanasays.com. With the goal of connecting early childhood educators and classrooms, she founded the educational Twitter hashtag chat, #IntEarlyEd (International Early Educators), and the Traveling Teddy Project (travelingteddybear.com #GlobalEdTed). Pana is an Apple Distinguished Educator and the winner of ISTE’s 2018 Kay L. Bitter Vision Award.

Pana says:
“The Book Creator Competition is such an amazing opportunity for educators and their students to create a publication that can help address an issue or a need in our world. Whether it be a story that teaches us about one of the Sustainable Development Goals, or book that aims to grow awareness of a specific issue relevant to their setting, this is an opportunity for us all to learn from one another and take action for a better future. I cannot wait to see the wonderful books that will be created and to learn from them all!

“As you brew up your creative juices and plan out ideas, don’t forget to consider the visual design and layout of your book so that your ideas are effectively communicated to your audience. Don’t overload pages with too much or the eye won’t know where to focus. Think carefully about what you want your audience to see, notice, and ultimately understand on each page and highlight it visually.”


Alberto Valdes

Alberto Valdes is a Technology Integration Specialist, responsible for supporting teachers in the effective integration of technology in classrooms as well as designing and implementing professional development for different schools in Mexico. He’s an Apple Distinguished Educator, Seesaw Ambassador & Google Certified Innovator. He’s the creator of the .EDU Conference in Monterrey, Mexico.

Alberto says:
“I believe that creativity can be expressed in many ways and the Book Creator competition is a great way to showcase the best of our new generation of authors across the world. Students participating in this contest will gain a sense of ownership towards their learning, but most of all, it will empower them by giving a global space to express their voices through the publishing of their own book.

“My advice – use different shapes to create color backgrounds or cool designs for your pages, use opacity when needed and share your personality and essence in your book!”


Bronwyn Desjardins

Bronwyn DesjardinsBronwyn is the Digital Learning Coach and Resource Centre Co-ordinator at St Stithians Girls’ Prep in Gauteng, South Africa. She is an Apple Distinguished Educator (Class of 2015), ADE EMIEA Advisory Board member and APLS. Bronwyn has spearheaded the iPad rollout at the Girls’​ Prep since 2013 and runs a comprehensive approach to integrating iPads. Her depth of systems administration knowledge coupled with her passion for EdTech, make her skill set unique in its comprehensiveness when advising schools, staff and students.

Bronwyn says:
“Any opportunity for students to showcase their creativity is a win for all involved. The topic, A Better Future, is one that is on the minds of many students. And we don’t need to look far to see what an impact young people can make – Greta Thunberg being a case in point. I look forward to learning about the creative solutions in the entries from around the world.

Be original with illustrations and content. Entrants should showcase their Book Creator skills and use the opportunity to present creative and authentic solutions for a better future.”


Are you ready to get creative?

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