Time for some pretty shameless self-promotion. Feel free to stop reading if that will bother you.
My colleagues, Ed Meyer from BWU, Raja Sooriamurthi from CMU and Zbyszek Michalewicz (emeritus from my own institution) and I have just released a new book, called “A Guide to Teaching Puzzle-based learning.” What a labour of love this has been and, better yet, we are still still talking to each other. In fact, we’re planning some follow-up events next year to do some workshops around the book so it’ll be nice to work with the team again.
Here’s a slightly sleep-deprived and jet-lagged picture of me holding the book as part of my “wow, it got published” euphoria!
The book is a resource for the teacher, although it’s written for teachers from primary to tertiary and it should be quite approachable for the home school environment as well. We spent a lot of time making it approachable, sharing tips for students and teachers alike, and trying to get all of our knowledge about how to teach well with puzzles down into the one volume. I think we pretty much succeeded. I’ve field-tested the material here at Universities, schools and businesses, with very good results across the board. We build on a good basis and we love sound practical advice. This is, very much, a book for the teaching coalface.
It’s great to finally have it all done and printed. The Springer team were really helpful and we’ve had a lot of patience from our commissioning editors as we discussed, argued and discussed again some of the best ways to put things into the written form. I can’t quite believe that we managed to get 350 pages down and done, even with all of the time that we had.
If you or your institution has a connection to SpringerLink then you can read it online as part of your subscription. Otherwise, if you’re keen, feel free to check out the preview on the home page and then you may find that there are a variety of prices available on the Web. I know how tight budgets are at the moment so, if you do feel like buying, please buy it at the best price for you. I’ve already had friends and colleagues ask what benefits me the most and the simple answer is “if people read it and find it useful”.
To end this disgraceful sales pitch, we’re actually quite happy to run workshops and the like, although we are currently split over two countries (sometimes three or even four), so some notice is always welcome.
That’s it, no more self-promotion to this extent until the next book!
A happy surprise in my mailbox today, but first the background. We’ve been teaching Puzzle Based Learning at Adelaide for several years now, based on Professor Zbigniew Michalewicz’s concept for a course that encouraged problem solving in a domain-free environment. (You can read more details about it by searching for Puzzle Based Learning with the surnames Falkner, Michalewicz and Sooriamurthi – we’ve had work published on this in IEEE Computer and as a workshop at SIGCSE, among several others.) Zbyszek (Adelaide), Raja (Sooriamurthi, a Teaching Professor at CMU) and I teamed up with Professor Ed Meyer (Physics at Baldwin-Wallace) to put together a textbook proposal to help people teach this information.
Great news – our proposal has been accepted by an excellent publishing house who appear to be genuinely excited about the book! As this is my first book, I’m very excited and pleased – but it’s a great reflection on the strength of the team and our composite skills and background, especially with the inter-disciplinary aspects. I’ve seen a lot of exciting work come out of Baldwin-Wallace and, while this is my first time working with Ed, I’m really looking forward to it. (Zbyszek, Raja and I have worked together a lot but I’m still excited to be working with them again!)
Good news after a rather difficult week.