STEMiverse 0031 - Joy Suliman and community-engaged libraries

February 12, 2018

Welcome to STEMiverse Podcast episode 31!

In this episode, Peter and Marcus talk with Joy Suliman!

Joy is the Learning Space Coordinator at Library Services for the City of Canada Bay, one of Sydney's most multicultural suburbs.

Joy brings together her diverse experience in learning, technology, workshop facilitation, research, professional development training, regional outreach, and community engagement in her role with City of Canada Bay Libraries.

She leads a multi-disciplinary team that works alongside the community at The Learning Space, The Connection, Rhodes, providing access to online resources and a wide range of programs focusing on digital and emerging technology such as 3D printing, augmented reality, robots, and electronic making.

In her previous roles as the digital media facilitator for Save the Children NSW, as Senior Research Fellow at Queensland University of Technology, and before that Thinkspace Manager at the Powerhouse Museum, Joy has researched, developed and implemented innovative STEAM workshop programs and resources for community, school groups, teachers , and cultural organisation professionals.

She has also worked at the University of Western Sydney, Arab Council Australia, ABC local radio, and the University of Wollongong.

This is STEMiverse Podcast episode 31.

This podcast is brought to you by Tech Explorations, a leading provider of educational resources for Makers, STEM students, and teachers. Go to to see a complete list of our books and courses covering the Arduino, Raspberry Pi and electronics.


Show Notes

[00:00] Introduction - Introducing Joy Suliman
[02:40] Greetings and talking about birds that make fire!
[05:16] Joy current occupation as Learning Space Coordinator at Library Services for the City of Canada Bay
[06:38] Joy talks about her background as a media artist
[08:18] How Joy's background connects to her current role in the Canada Bay Library
[10:11] How Joy set up the learning space in the Library
[12:47] What differentiates the Canada Bay Library Learning Space from a makerspace
[14:01] The hurdles to get to the point of being a makerspace
[15:58] Starting the club and reaching the community: Community engagement strategy
[18:38] How people go through the facility
[20:02] Proximity to the Sydney 2000 Olympics' sites
[20:52] The people in the library and their roles
[24:59] A typical scenario of a visitor to the library
[29:03] The worldwide trend for libraries to become more freestyled, away from the traditional book towards more activities
[30:45] Chattanooga Public Library, US
[31:31] Identifying need in communities…
[32:28] ...and developing programs
[33:57] Surprising data or insights: Census 2016: Sydney's best educated suburbs
[35:59] AR and VR in the Canada Bay Library
[37:44] Aurasma
[38:10] How can we see education being affected by AR and VR technologies?
[42:20] Rapid Fire Questions
[42:41] Who has been the most influential in shaping the way you teach? The education manager at the Powerhouse Museum, Peter Mahony
[43:12] Advice to Educators just starting out
[44:35] Professional Development suggestions: the book Lifelong Kindergarten: Cultivating Creativity Through Projects, Passion, Peers, and Play, by Mitchel Resnick
[45:32] Mitchel Resnick's TED talk
[45:45] Programming Language of choice: Python for BBC micro:bit and NAO humanoid robots
[46:49] Joy's contact information: email:


STEMiverse 0030 - Stephen Hohm - Being a learner that teaches

January 31, 2018

Welcome to STEMiverse Podcast episode 30!

In this episode, Peter and Marcus talk with Stephen Hohm!

Steve is the Associate Pastor of LIFE Foursquare Church in Decatur, Illinois, USA.

He also teaches part-time at Decatur Christian School in Forsyth, Illinois. Steve has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mission Education from North Central University in Minneapolis, Minnesota (1984). He has over 30 years of teaching experience in various settings, including teaching various math and computer related subjects.

Since 2012, Steve has operated a light and sound Christmas display with over 40,000 lights on more than 300 networked circuits syncopated with Christmas music and broadcast on a low-power transmitter for people to enjoy. The show runs every night in December, and is a special holiday event for hundreds of families in the community.

The private school where Steve teaches is expanding its curriculum to include STEM subjects, including Micro-controllers, Robotics and Programming. Steve is creating the curriculum for the “Arduino Masters” class by gleaning from various sources and materials.

Steve is a teacher who loves to learn.

This is STEMiverse Podcast episode 30.


This podcast is brought to you by Tech Explorations, a leading provider of educational resources for Makers, STEM students, and teachers. Go to to see a complete list of our books and courses covering the Arduino, Raspberry Pi and electronics.


Show Notes

[00:00] Introduction - Introducing Stephen Hohm
[03:43] Stephen talks about his family and their connection to teaching
[05:26] Stephen talks about his background and his first steps in education
[10:00] What is Arduino?
[11:00] How did Stephen learn Arduino: Breaking down learning into tiny steps
[11:55] Stephen's first Arduino kit
[12:37] From a light show Christmas gadget to teaching Arduino
[13:53] Curriculum setup at the school where Stephen teaches (US)
[16:21] Why is it important to invest time and effort into teaching electronics, even in a totally bound-free curriculum?
[17:38] How colleges assess students of a free curriculum
[20:25] The profile of the student in Stephen's classes
[23:44] Kits Stephen uses for teaching: Elegoo
[25:42] Arduino Step-by-Step
[28:02] Arduino Step-by-Step latest updates
[29:27] Other Arduino resources: kit manuals
[31:28] What a student can learn from a burning chip
[34:39] The students become teachers - C3 B4 ME
[35:39] Why Stephen chose Arduino and is building resilience through trial and error worth it?
[37:40] SparkFun Electronics, SparkFun Inventor's Kit Guidebook - CanaKit
[39:35] Stephen's teaching philosophy and principles of education: Seeing the student as an individual and being a learner that teaches
[42:45] Every teacher should be a lifelong learner: Thinking Better, by David Lewis & James Greene
[44:50] Book recommendations by Stephen: The Art of Learning: A Journey in the Pursuit of Excellence, by Josh Waitzkin
[48:31] STEM education's strength: to combine different disciplines
[48:53] Why US uses 120 volts
[50:15] People who have influenced Stephen: Gene Roddenberry's Star Trek's Captain Kirk and Jean-Luc Picard, and his father
[54:04] Stephen's contact information: Email:
[54:38] Christmas light show:


STEMiverse 0029 - James Zaki - Ozberry meetup, Blockhain, and Education

January 26, 2018

Welcome to STEMiverse Podcast episode 29!



In this episode, Peter talks with James Zaki!

James is a Graduate of Mechatronic Engineering and Computer Science with honours and 14 years of industry experience.

He started in industrial automation and then transitioning to application development.

Outside of development James worked as engineering team lead and management in small-medium sized companies. He worked predominantly with start-ups and small companies, and has spent considerable time abroad (France, China, India), and always connected to the EduTech space. James is skilled in programming for various devices: mobile, linux, and microcontrollers. He is experienced at turning product ideas into reality and managing mixed developer teams.

James can speak fluent French, which he has taught himself.

He is also one of the organisers of Ozberry, perhaps Australia's largest Raspberry Pi and Maker-related meetup.

This is STEMiverse Podcast episode 29.


This podcast is brought to you by Tech Explorations, a leading provider of educational resources for Makers, STEM students, and teachers. Go to to see a complete list of our books and courses covering the Arduino, Raspberry Pi and electronics.

Show Notes

[00:00] Introduction - Introducing James Zaki
[04:41] James talks about his background
[05:01] GW-BASIC programming language
[06:38] Learning how to program before Google
[07:17] Are we going too far today and disadvantaging learners by trying hard to create top notch learning materials?
[11:03] The amount of time and effort one had to go through in order to produce results on their own is a big part of the learning experience - Alain de Botton on meritocracy
[12:53] Diverse students called upon to produce similar results
[14:03] James' current projects: freelancing on various projects such as Blockchain and Smart Contract Development
[14:52] James' definition of the Blockchain
[17:26] Ethereum's Light Sync Mode
[17:59] James' experience in applying Blockchain and Smart Contracts to teaching: the concept of Wallets
[19:07] The Blockchain Private Key
[20:41] Examples of how the concept of a Wallet or Blockchain can be used in education
[21:46] Test Networks and Internal Economies
[22:54] Educational outcomes of such setups: Economics, Entrepreneurship, Bookkeeping Accounting, Distributed Networks, Consensus and more
[24:22] OzBerryPi: The monthly Raspberry Pi Meetup in Australia
[26:04] What happens during an OzBerryPi Meetup
[28:00] OzBerryPi Themes
[29:54] Typical backgrounds of meetup participants
[30:43] A robot to solve a rubik's cube puzzle
[32:20] Why teachers come to OzBerryPi and what do they do there?
[34:20] Top 3 technologies teachers use in the classroom to teach STEM topics
[35:58] James' position on how to begin using low-level technologies that don't work out of the box such as Arduino and Raspberry Pi for educational purposes
[44:58] The Cyclearn project
[48:09] James' future plans
[50:24] Rapid Fire Questions
[50:34] Applications James can't live without: Sourcetree
[53:45] James' programming language of choice: C++
[55:26] Parting thoughts
[57:21] James' Contact Information: Twitter: @james_zaki


STEMiverse 0027 - Peter Mahony and interactive Museums

January 26, 2018

Welcome to STEMiverse Podcast episode 27!

In this episode, Peter and Marcus talk with Peter Mahony!

Peter is manager of Education and Digital Learning for Sydney’s Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences. He leads program direction and delivery for the Museum’s school learning experiences including Thinkspace and The Mars Lab, coding and game design. As learning leader for MAAS, a lean startup approach involves staging punk learning ‘design experiments’ in partnership with young people and school educators or the co-design of bespoke learning experiments.

He initiated Sydney’s first Mini-Maker Faire back in 2014, which has since evolved into an annual event. He has a Master of Teaching, Graduate Diploma in Music Therapy, Bachelor of Arts. Peter’s background is performing and community arts. Back in the day, as performer and musician, he toured nationally and internationally with Castanet Club, including the Edinburgh Arts Festival Fringe, and nationally with theatre and cabaret shows. Currently Peter sings tenor in Sydney gospel choir Cafe of the Gate of Salvation.

This is STEMiverse Podcast episode 27.


This podcast is brought to you by Tech Explorations, a leading provider of educational resources for Makers, STEM students, and teachers. Go to to see a complete list of our books and courses covering the Arduino, Raspberry Pi and electronics.


Show notes

[00:00] Introduction - Introducing Peter Mahony
[02:30] Peter and Marcus discuss Marcus' bitcoins
[03:28] Peter Mahony talks about his work at the Powerhouse Museum
[05:26] Peter Mahony's background and his relationship to education
[07:59] Peter's teaching activities
[09:10] What is a TeachMeet
[10:48] How has Peter's teaching changed from when he first started?
[12:41] How to prepare to teach by providing the maximum amount of choice
[13:47] The role of museums today in delivering and shaping Education, how they have changed during the last decade and what the Powerhouse Museum is about
[15:52] The Exploratorium (Official Website)
[16:33] The Powerhouse as an interactive museum
[21:30] Learning by discussion
[23:35] Linguistics Professor at Arizona State University, James Paul Gee, famous for writing about Games and Learning: Passionate Affinity Space
[25:17] See, Think, Wonder - Visible Thinking - Project Zero
[28:40] Where does Peter think Education is heading? The drive towards authenticity
[30:26] Innovative Learning Environments and Teacher Change
[33:44] "This project will investigate how teachers can use the untapped potential of Innovative Learning Environments (ILEs) to improve learning outcomes for students. It will identify whether there is a link between quality teaching and effective use of ILEs and develop practical tools to assist teachers to adapt their teaching practices to maximise deeper learning."
[35:36] Transfer of responsibility and ownership from the teachers to the students
[37:19] Moving away from prescribed curricula towards student, research or project-lead Education
[39:10] Adding Design to STEM (STEMD)
[40:47] What is Design and why should it be included in STEM?
[44:09] Practical examples of exhibits in the museum that highlight design aspects of an artifact
[47:40] Coding and Arduino courses at the museum - The Lilypad ProtoSnap
[54:13] Building the product and applying the principles of design
[55:45] The ThinkerShield
[59:41] Target age groups for the ThinkerShield
[01:00:47] Rapid Fire Questions
[01:01:02] Peter's greatest influences: James Paul Gee, Ron Berger (from Expeditionary Learning) and his book An Ethic of Excellence: Building a Culture of Craftsmanship with Students, Nina Simon and her book The Art of Relevance and Elaine Gurian
[01:04:45] The Powerhouse Museum is a place that connects us to both the past and the future
[01:05:33] Peter's contact information: Museum Website: Email: Twitter: @vergeofperil


STEMiverse 0028 - Nigel Cartmell - From Architecture to the Mini Makers

January 8, 2018

Welcome to STEMiverse Podcast episode 28!

In this episode, Peter and Marcus talk with Nigel Cartmell!

Nigel is the founder of AKL Minimakers. Started in 2015, AKL Minimakers delivers parent-led technology workshops for Primary and Intermediate school age children. Nigel and other Minimakers members teach design thinking, and maker culture skills, for prototyping – electronics, coding, digital design and 3d printing.

The weekly workshops run weekly workshops started in February 2016, are financially supported by Parents, and partnered with Auckland Council and AUT (the Auckland University of Tecnnology). Their aim is to grow with the children (currently 11-years old), until they’re old enough to become junior tutors – a wider tutor base enabling an increase in class numbers.

In this interview, Nigel talks about his journey to start the Minimaker workshops as a way to help his daughter to learn and build cool stuff, and to complement what she was learning at school.

This is STEMiverse Podcast episode 28.


This podcast is brought to you by Tech Explorations, a leading provider of educational resources for Makers, STEM students, and teachers. Go to to see a complete list of our books and courses covering the Arduino, Raspberry Pi and electronics.



Show Notes

[00:00] Introduction - Introducing Nigel Carmell
[02:17] Greetings
[03:02] Nigel talks about his background and about AKL Mini Makers
[07:39] Nigel's journey from Aviation to Architecture…
[13:49] ...And from Architecture to the Mini Makers
[20:47] Nigel's motivation for opening a Makerspace
[23:53] Nigel describes the first Mini Makers’ workshops
[24:30] How Nigel went about pitching his initiative to the school and parents
[26:20] Now that technology is more integrated in the school curriculum than it used to, does such a club like Mini Makers still have a place?
[27:30] Examples of Mini Makers' projects and their benefits for the students - From Sketchup, Scratch and mBots to SparkFun gyrostabilization projects and Arduino Robots
[32:29] How to introduce a complex project to kids
[33:30] Stumbling blocks during children's learning process in the Mini Makers club
[36:38] The 4 to 1 ratio between students and mentors as an ingredient to prevent frustration and keep students in the zone
[38:16] How Nigel finds tutors for the Mini Makers
[39:22] Nigel's future plans for world domination!
[41:16] Nigel's advice: Is Nigel's approach of running the Mini Makers group something anyone can implement in their local school?
[42:45] Nigel reflects on what he would have done differently
[44:08] How the children in the Mini Makers club have changed through the years
[47:21] Breaking things down to smaller parts to make sure the kids are not overwhelmed
[47:31] Nigel describes the process of writing a design brief
[49:24] Nigel's design thinking brought from the world of architecture
[50:41] What Nigel intends to bring back to architecture when he returns to the field
[53:04] How much are the topics, introduced by Nigel to the Mini Makers, his own interests, rather than what the students would like to learn?
[54:05] Influencers and book recommendations by Nigel:

[57:37] Potential bioship or earthship model projects for the Mini Makers
[59:44] Closing remarks and advice by Nigel: Look for the Maker clubs and get involved
[01:01:38] Nigel's Contact Information: Email:
[01:02:14] Learning monetization and entrepreneurship
[01:02:50] Science fairs and competitions: Encourage schools to enter


STEMiverse 0026 - Simone Maciel - Robot Overload

January 2, 2018

Welcome to STEMiverse Podcast episode 26!

In this episode, Peter and Marcus talk with Simone Maciel!

Simone is a creative individual who revels in educating people. Having graduated from university with a Bachelor in Arts and a Diploma of Education (secondary), Simone spent the next seven years teaching Drama, Music, English, History, Religious Education and Photographic and Digital Media

Her passion for technology imbued itself in her teaching pedagogy and Simone co-led a successful and creative one-to-one laptop program in her time as an educator. Her areas of expertise include movie making, photography, public speaking and music integration. Simone has spent the past seventeen years involved in musical theatre and she draws on this experience in her teaching practice.

In 2012, Simone resigned from her full time classroom teaching role to pursue a career in teacher training and currently runs Professional Development workshops for MAC1 on a plethora of areas, of which the most popular has become STEM with a specific focus on coding and robotics using Apple Technologies. Her focus is to redefine purpose and authenticity in teaching instruction and at the core of her philosophy is a centred approach to ethics in coding.

This is STEMiverse Podcast episode 26.


This podcast is brought to you by Tech Explorations, a leading provider of educational resources for Makers, STEM students, and teachers. Go to to see a complete list of our books and courses covering the Arduino, Raspberry Pi and electronics.


Show Notes

[00:00] Introduction - Introducing Simone Maciel
[02:53] Simone talks about her background
[09:46] Difference of STEM in religious education as opposed to other types of education
[10:47] The ethics of coding and a professional training for teachers that provides the big picture context for the necessity and purpose of coding
[13:34] The most important question: "Why am I teaching this?"
[15:22] Teachers' responses to the "why" question
[16:30] Simone's response to the "why" in teaching drones: The humanitarian aspect
[19:32] Drones is where scientists have been able to source the bulk of the knowledge we have about the solar system
[19:59] Is STEM Education in general, a type of education primed to asking such "why" questions?
[21:39] STEM Education's place in times of financial, political and social crises
[25:13] STEM-style Education shines in equipping students with an increasing capacity to solve more complex problems
[27:14] Simone describes the process for preparing the Professional Development curriculum at MAC1
[29:34] About MAC1
[31:13] What would a simple way be, for a teacher or school, to introduce Programming & Engineering concepts to its students?
[37:32] Sphero and Swift Playgrounds
[41:25] What is SWIFT and why is it so important?
[42:52] Is what we call STEM really dominated by Robots and Programming Languages?
[43:42] Is the market overloaded by robots? Do sciences and mathematics fall behind in products marketed for education?
[47:59] How should new Educators get prepared for teaching STEM? Self-educate, don't try to learn everything, focus on pedagogy and more useful advice by Simone
[51:06] Teacher Development and Education in an ideal world
[51:51] Simone's opinion on what Australia is doing right in Education
[54:59] Should we get rid of exams?
[56:13] Professional Development course suggestions by Simone: Harvard's Introduction to Computer Science on edX, engaging with other like-minded teachers and in Twitter's #aussieED chats
[56:50] Simone's presentation at Edutech: "To code or not to code, that is the question. Looking at coding from the perspective of an English and Drama teacher"
[59:05] Classroom innovators who share their content in Twitter
[01:00:50] Book recommendations by Simone: Hidden Figures, by Margot Lee Shetterly
[01:01:54] The Apple Teacher Platform: Digital resources with programs and classroom activities
[01:02:32] Simone's Contact Information: Email:, Twitter: @mac1_education


STEMiverse 0025 - Kieran Nolan - The School on the Blockchain

December 11, 2017

Welcome to STEMiverse Podcast episode 25!

In this episode, Peter and Marcus talk with Kieran Nolan!

This episode is special because while it might not seem that it's about education, it actually is! In this discussion, Kieran takes us for a ride in the world of networks, block chains, total online transparency, and 10 year-old students create their own cryptocurrencies. Stay with us, it will be worth it!

Kieran Nolan is a qualified Network Engineer, certified Cloud Migration Architect, and Educational Technologist, with certifications from Google, Microsoft and Cisco and a Degree in Network Engineering.

He has 10+ years of experience working in schools from K-12.
Under Kieran’s leadership, Wooranna Park Primary School (WPPS) has established itself as an exemplar in introducing the digital world to students.

The school has led the way in establishing a ‘24/7 International Virtual Learning Environment’ in Minecraft, Victoria’s first CoderDojo, Australia’s first Immersive Education Club (iED Club), the World’s youngest Cisco class., and the very first ‘School on the Blockchain’

This is STEMiverse Podcast episode 25.


This podcast is brought to you by Tech Explorations, a leading provider of educational resources for Makers, STEM students, and teachers. Go to to see a complete list of our books and courses covering the Arduino, Raspberry Pi and electronics.


Show Notes

[00:00] Introduction - Introducing Kieran Nolan
[01:56] Kieran Nolan talks about his background
[05:42] The School in the Cloud
[07:05] What is Blockchain?
[09:11] What a Torrent file is
[10:57] Proof of Existence and Proof of Work
[12:26] Beyond Bitcoin, implementing Blockchain for anything that needs proof that has been decentralized and distributed
[13:16] Application examples of the Blockchain
[16:09] What does it mean that Blockchain is "transparent"?
[17:02] Real-time data about Bitcoin
[18:22] How does Blockchain scale?
[21:19] How long does a Bitcoin transaction take to complete?
[22:13] Physical places that accept Bitcoin for payment
[23:38] What is the best coin currency to invest in, if you want to buy an education for your children? Cryptocurrencies - STORJ
[28:06] Blockchain changes whole industries and can be applied in governments
[28:45] How understanding Blockchain technology helps achieve educational outcomes for students
[32:57] Social aspects of Blockchain and teaching advanced concepts to young kids
[36:52] How does voting work in Bitcoin?
[38:11] Transparent but anonymous voting
[39:17] MiVote: Grassroots democracy movement based on Blockchain, transparent and reliable
[41:31] Where can a teacher interested in Blockchain education look for information and guidance? At the Blockchain Centre in Melbourne and online on Blockchain Education
[44:09] Technology's momentum
[44:43] Minecraft classes:
[46:25] How does it all connect to the curricula?
[47:16] Enhanced human talents
[48:18] What Ethereum technology is
[51:07] CoinLaunch Market
[52:54] Additional applications of Blockchain: Vaccination
[54:58] Kieran's Contact Information: School Website: Woorana Park Primary School, Personal Website:
[56:27] Kieran will be presenting at EduTECH 2018:


STEMiverse 0024 - Viv White on Big Picture Education

December 1, 2017

Welcome to STEMiverse Podcast episode 24!


In this episode, Peter and Marcus talk with Viv White!

Viv is the founder of an innovative new design for learning and schools.

Viv taught primary and secondary education for 13 years, worked in tertiary research for five years as a research fellow at Macquarie University and Victoria University, and served as an adjunct professor at the University of Western Sydney.

She is co-founder, managing director and company secretary of Big Picture Education Australia. The work that Viv does in Big Picture Education is the main topic of our discussion in this episode.

Viv has taken the lead in establishing Big Picture Learning International (BPLI), a venture that will influence governments and educational institutions and launch more schools for disadvantaged and disengaged youth.


This podcast is brought to you by Tech Explorations, a leading provider of educational resources for Makers, STEM students, and teachers. Go to to see a complete list of our books and courses covering the Arduino, Raspberry Pi and electronics.


Show Notes

[00:00] Introduction - Introducing Viv White
[01:35] Viv talks about her background and what lead her to Big Picture Education
[05:05] Who are the disadvantaged kids in schools?
[06:13] Immigrant groups
[06:50] Which aspects of school in the past were problematic for disadvantaged children?
[08:20] Reforming standardized education into something else
[10:27] An out of date delivery system for learning
[10:52] What a modern society needs from its educational system
[12:05] The solution is to personalise learning
[12:20] Start with student interest
[17:02] The meaning of "Do Well" and the example of the New Harmony High School in New Orleans
[19:20] How does the Big Picture program work?
[21:37] Description of the pathway from a Big Picture school to University
[24:54] How assessment at scale works with so much personal customisation
[26:09] How long does it take to mark or assess a student's portfolio
[26:49] Is Big Picture suitable for every student?
[28:07] The long term aims of Big Picture
[31:02] What is the process to convert a traditional school into a Big Picture school and do you need a school in order to participate in Big Picture Education?
[35:47] What are the major role blocks Big Picture had to face?
[37:12] The Big Picture Learning International Network
[38:06] How did Big Picture expand into many countries?
[38:32] Big Picture Education in China
[40:20] The Big Picture Starter Pack
[41:15] How can a mentor volunteer to Big Picture?
[42:08] How students find their mentors: The informational interview - The Shadow Day
[45:30] After retirement, what does success look like?
[47:28] Contact Information: Big Picture Education Website Info & Contact, Viv's Email:


STEMiverse 0023 - Josh Cox - Better Humans through wildlife education

November 1, 2017

Welcome to STEMiverse Podcast episode 23!


In this episode, Peter and Marcus talk with Josh Cox!

Josh Cox founded Reptile Encounters in 2007, following a lifelong interest in Australian wildlife. With two parents with teaching backgrounds the idea was born to take animals into classrooms and educate students about nature.

Josh is the soon to be author of “Better Humans ­ Empower your students to save the planet”, he has a degree in Medical Science from LaTrobe University and worked in the pharmaceutical industry prior to starting Reptile Encounters.


This podcast is brought to you by Tech Explorations, a leading provider of educational resources for Makers, STEM students, and teachers. Go to to see a complete list of our books and courses covering the Arduino, Raspberry Pi and electronics.


Episode notes

[00:00] Introduction - Introducing Josh Cox
[02:44] Josh talks about his background, his relationship to Education and his pet Parrot
[05:47] How does one buy a reptile?
[07:34] What came first for Josh? Love for education or love for animals?
[08:15] Josh describes his Educational Show, Reptile Encounters
[09:30] Size of the animals in Reptile Encounters
[10:28] Age of the audience of Josh's show
[11:06] How did Josh develop his curriculum without formal teacher training?
[11:49] Is there need for training certification in Victoria? How to acquire a demonstration license that allows to take animals into schools
[12:53] How Josh finds people for his staff
[13:36] The emotional transformation of a child when encountering a wild animal for the first time
[15:36] An example story from a birthday party
[16:10] The hardest thing when doing a show working with animals and children
[17:34] Structure of a Reptile Encounters show
[19:07] How does Josh know when the goals of each class have been reached?
[20:18] Has Josh found children that are not interested in pythons?
[21:06] How much does the show cost?
[21:35] Why is it important for kids to be exposed to reptiles and other native animals? The importance of getting in touch with Nature
[26:50] If Josh was the Minister of Education what would he change?
[27:49] Current state of the Australian curriculum regarding nature subjects: The example of ResourceSmart Schools
[28:40] As a principal or teacher, how to go about introducing more nature in the curriculum?
[29:29] What type of animal Josh recommends for teachers as a classroom pet
[32:06] Breeding Programs
[32:36] Josh talks about the book he is writing, "Better Humans"
[34:46] The connection between disrespecting animals and nature and disrespecting material possessions and even humans
[36:51] Are rural kids more or less empathetic to the animals?
[37:44] Reconnecting our children with nature makes them better humans
[38:40] Josh's main mission, teaching behaviour alongside biology
[40:13] Learning how to teach when you're not a classically trained educator and who has influenced Josh on shaping the way he teaches
[42:02] Are new educators ready to teach important topics such as sustainability and preservation of natural resources and what can they do to prepare themselves?
[43:49] Advice, tips and tricks for educators that put on shows or educational seminars for kids
[45:15] Josh's role models: David Attenborough and Steve Irwin
[46:27] What Josh knows after 10 years that he wished he knew when he was starting out
[47:17] Josh's relationship to programming languages and a funny robot story
[48:32] Parting thoughts, dos and don'ts: Reptile Encounters Website


STEMiverse 0022 - Saskia & Alaster - Being a competitive robotics team member

October 24, 2017

Welcome to STEMiverse Podcast episode 22!


In this episode, Peter and Marcus talks with Saskia and Alastair!

This is the second part of the Barker College Redbacks team interview. If you haven't listened to the first part, in which we interview Lael Grant, the team co-ordinator, please do so now before listening to this second part. Everything will make more sense then!

In this episode we hear from Saskia and Alastair.

Saskia is a current member of the team and one of the Team Captains. She is a Year 11 student.

And Alastair is a team alumni and now an Engineering student.

Saskia and Alastair talk about life and learning as a competitive robotics team member.

This is STEMiverse Podcast episode 22.


This podcast is brought to you by Tech Explorations, a leading provider of educational resources for Makers, STEM students, and teachers. Go to to see a complete list of our books and courses covering the Arduino, Raspberry Pi and electronics.


Show notes


[00:00] Introduction - Introducing Saskia & Alaster
[01:51] Saskia & Alaster's feelings and opinions about the Robotics program at Barker College
[02:17] How and why Alaster joined the program
[02:51] How and why Saskia joined the program
[03:49] The connection between Alaster's experience at Barker and his decision to study Mechatronics
[04:35] Choosing one curricular activity over another
[05:50] How to balance the stress of competition with your studies
[07:42] The transition from a Barker student to mentor and examples of mentoring
[11:09] Saskia's specialization on the Robotics team and how she acquired the skills for it
[12:17] Training workshops at Barker Robotics
[13:10] The badge system and safety procedures
[14:23] Controlling electronic devices with thought
[15:31] Saskia's goal to become an Engineer and how the Barker robotics program influenced it
[16:40] How is Saskia planning to deal with the more rigid program of University studies in regards to what she has experienced at Barker College?
[18:03] Alaster's experience with a rigid University program
[19:12] Alaster's business
[19:57] Allowing your students, as a mentor, to make their own decisions when building a robot
[20:48] Saskia's thoughts on mentoring
[21:10] Do you find teaching is a good way to learn?
[21:41] 3D CAD Design Software SOLIDWORKS license
[22:15] Free and low price offers from Software vendors
[22:49] Inspirational people Saskia & Alaster look up to: Elon Musk
[24:53] Reading books
[25:55] Favourite technology
[28:39] How digital is study life these days?
[29:18] ECHO360
[30:03] What's your superpower?