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.


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.


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.


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.


[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?


STEMiverse 0021 - Lael Grant on the benefits of competitive educational robotics

October 15, 2017

Welcome to STEMiverse Podcast episode 21!

In this episode, Peter and Marcus talk with Lael Grant!

Lael is computer programming teacher at Barker College, based in the Sydney suburb of Hornsby, in Australia.

At the College, Lael is the team co-ordinator and part of the mentor team of the Barker Redbacks. The Redbacks have established themselves as one of the leading Robotics teams in Australia. When Lael is not planning the future of robotics and STEM education at Barker, he teaches programming as a part of the Computer Science faculty.

We interviewed Lael and two student members of the Redback team at the Barker College campus. The result is a two-part episode in which we discuss the importance of using robotics as a vehicle to develop multiple skillsets and attidutes in students.

In this first episode, Lael talks about Robotics education in Barker College, and the benefits of cooperative competition.

In the second episode, two student members of the Redbacks team (one current and one alumni) give us a student perspective of what team membership is like for them, and how it has helped them develop technical, personal and interpersonal skills. Saskia – a current member and one of the Team Captains is in Year 11. And Alastair is a team alumni and now studying Engineering.

I'll take one more minute in this introduction to give you some background on the Redbacks Robotics team.

The team grew from a small number of students in 2014 through to their successes in 2017. In 2017 the team competed in Australia and around the globe in the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC), the FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) and the VEX Robotics Competition (VRC). The team won the most Regionals of any team in FRC, and were finalists in their Division at Championships.


This is STEMiverse Podcast episode 21.


[00:00] Introduction - Introducing Lael Grant
[02:47] The Robotics Laboratory of Barker College in Hornsby, New South Wales
[04:08] Lael talks about his background and his role in STEM Education and Robotics in Barker College
[04:44] FRC, the First Robotics Competition founded by Dean Kamen
[07:27] Cultural differences influencing teaching Chinese students
[09:07] Communication between students and the language barrier
[10:11] What do students gain out of Competitive Robotics: More motivation to produce something excellent
[16:05] Robotics as a Team endeavour instead of just as a solo activity
[21:07] How large is the Barker Robotics team?
[22:56] How many students have gone through the Barker Robotics teams?
[23:43] Expanding the Barker Robotics team as a future goal
[24:19] Lael's teaching activities: Programming and Web Design
[25:03] The ICT Department is separate from the Technological and Applied Studies (TAS) Department in Barker College
[26:03] Integrated STEM course developed by Dr Scott Sleap
[26:44] How does the experience at Barker Robotics affect students going forward
[32:09] Stress during the Robotics Competition, its effect on students and how they deal with it
[36:14] The need for an inventory system
[37:38] How to get the students to do chores (keep a clean work space, do documentation etc.)
[39:58] Setup of the Training Program
[41:57] Advice for teachers that would like to start a similar robotics program: Begin with VEX Robotics
[44:39] MIT Zero Robotics
[46:33] How to organize a space in a school dedicated to Robotics
[48:00] Differences in engagement in Robotics between boys and girls: How do we provide opportunity for girls to be engaged?
[49:59] What does it cost to build a Robot? Sponsors and other funding sources: Aluminium Warehouse, Innovation First International, Inc.
[52:52] Bitrix24 Management Platform
[53:56] Australian Academic and Research Network (AARNET)
[54:17] Why sponsor Barker Robotics
[55:50] How NASA picks its engineers
[56:25] How to sponsor Barker Robotics
[56:54] Rapid Fire Questions
[56:58] Lael's Favourite Book: The Color of Water: A Black Man's Tribute to His White Mother, by James McBride
[58:03] Lael's Favourite Programming Language: Java
[58:37] Who has inspired Lael? Elon Musk
[01:00:38] Lael's Contact Information: Twitter: @BarkerRobotics, Email:




STEMiverse 0020 - Matt Richards: flipping learning environments with the Makerspace

September 26, 2017

[00:00] Introduction - Introducing Matt Richards
[02:11] Matt talks about his background
[03:44] What prompted Matt to get into Education
[06:30] The first Makerspace in Port Macquarie, St Columba Anglican School
[11:22] The inspiring beginnings of the Maker Movement in the States
[13:54] What makes a Makerspace special in comparison to a classroom: A Makerspace supports "differentiated personalised learning"
[16:21] As a teacher, where should I begin in order to turn my classroom into a Makerspace or create a new Makerspace in a dedicated area of a school? - The Competency Framework of The Four Cs: Communication-Collaboration-Critical Thinking-Creativity
[19:40] How does the teacher assess the students in this model?
[21:28] In some countries there is a gap in the curriculum between what is expected and what we really need
[23:13] A Makerspace is an environment where the traditional roles can be flipped: "It's what YOU want to make of it"
[23:50] The Concept of Ako
[25:50] Activities at the Hinatore Learning Lab at New Zealand's National Museum:
[26:40] Museums, just like Libraries are transitioning to including interactive learning activities
[27:43] Caring about the Stories around the Objects
[28:59] A session of Pacific Explorers, one of the programs of the Hinatore Learning Lab
[32:11] Technology used: Tinkercad, Google Tilt Brush, Minecraft, Makey Makey Kits, Raspberry Pi Robots, 3D Printers & Scanners (Space Spider & iSense), SculptrVR (find more at
[34:31] Equity of access in Creativity: Alpha Artists in Wellington (
[35:05] Augmented Reality (AR): HoloLens
[38:47] Do we put too much Technology, especially Hi-Tech, into our kids' Education and lives? Are we replacing human teachers with CyberSpace?
[40:33] Buckminster Fuller: "It is now highly feasible to take care of everybody on Earth at a higher standard of living than any have ever known. It no longer has to be you or me. Selfishness is unnecessary. War is obsolete. It is a matter of converting our high technology from WEAPONRY to LIVINGRY."
[41:15] Entering a Post-Scarcity era
[44:00] Digital Citizenship
[46:05] What is the Blockchain?
[49:36] Rapid Fire Questions
[49:52] What will be the bleeding edge in a year in Educational Technology?
[52:48] What learning toys would you stay clear off?
[54:18] Favourite Programming Languages and Productivity Tools: Google Tools, Slack, Trello, Feedmesh
[56:40] Matt's Blog, his Linkedin and Twitter profiles
[58:32] Advice to Educators just starting out: Be spontaneous


STEMiverse 0019 - Brian McNally: Thinking While Moving

September 18, 2017

Welcome to STEMiverse Podcast episode 19!

In this episode, Peter and Marcus talks with Brian McNally!

Brian is a veteran teacher with 23 years of experience.

Brian has moved from Outdoor Education to Primary Physical Education, Secondary Physical Education, IT, Maths and Science. Specialising in Gifted and Talented Education, Brian is now teaching stage 3 students, which is years 5 and 6, on the NSW Central Coast in Australia.

He is regularly presents seminars and training events to teachers in topics such as:
* Thinking while Moving in Mathematics
* Using IT in PE
* Mathematics

These are some of the topics that we will discuss in this podcast.

Brian’s passion is in encouraging students to make links between concepts taught in STEM subjects. By making learning relevant through Pop Culture, his students become actively engaged in their lessons through familiarity with themes common to their generation.

This is STEMiverse Podcast episode 19.



[00:00] Introduction - Introducing Brian McNally
[01:49] Brian talks about his background
[03:29] Outdoor Education
[05:52] Brian's transition from PE to IT
[06:29] How did Brian learn the IT subjects: Online training with the University
[06:51] How much time did Brian spend in PE before moving to IT?
[09:04] Cross-fertilization between PE and IT
[10:36] Example of cross-fertilization between different subjects
[15:39] Use what the kids are familiar and excited with to teach STEM
[19:33] TV Show ‘Letters and Numbers’ on SBS One
[22:29] Brian's current teaching subject: As a mainstream primary teacher, stage 3, years 5-6, and with a Rich Tasking group, applying Project Based Learning
[23:35] Purpose of the Rich Task group
[29:41] How Brian uses physical movement in STEM education: Thinking while Moving in Maths program, by Dr. Nick Riley, University of Newcastle
[32:13] Benefits of learning Maths while moving: engaging different learning styles
[32:53] Thinking while moving enhances memory or computational process as well?
[33:57] Learning while sedentary vs while moving
[35:04] Applied learning
[38:19] Resources: Videos & Representatives visiting schools
[40:59] Rapid Fire Questions
[41:17] Who has been the most influential in shaping the way you teach: Elaine Johnston, hockey coach
[44:27] Advice to Educators just starting out: Learn along with your students and teach how to learn
[47:03] Brian's Contact Information: Email:


STEMiverse 0018 - Naomi Young: STEM on Youtube

September 12, 2017

In this episode of STEMiverse Podcast, Peter and Marcus talks with Naomi Young!

Naomi Young, who is also known by her screen nick-name "Nay Nay", is a star of ABC Kids and the creator of the TV and YouTube Kids show Tinkertime. Her songs ‘Bubble Pop’, ‘Smash It Down, ‘I Have A Voice’ and ‘My Brother Ate My LEGO’ are Australian household favourites. You may also know Naomi for her work as the voice of ‘Hootabelle’ on Giggle and Hoot. Her TV credits also include Nickelodeon’s host of Nick Takes Over Your School and Sarvo’, The Wiggles (assistant choreographer, dancer), Playhouse Disney, Home and Away, All Saints and much more.

Naomi has been working in Children’s Television and Theatre for 15 years. She graduated with a BA Media & Cultural Studies and Graduate Diploma of Education (Secondary English & Drama) both from Macquarie University. Her kids channel, Tinkertime is all about experimenting, pulling things apart and not being afraid to make mistakes. Nay Nay wants to encourage kids to get curious about STEAM (Science, Technology, Art, Engineering, Maths) and nurture a love of adventure and inventive thinking.

While in education, Naomi was Runner Up Most Outstanding New Teacher awarded by the NSW Teachers Guild in 2009. On top of her teaching load she co-founded The Project - Schools Industry Arts, an initiative that collaborated with schools and arts industry professionals to push the boundaries of arts education programs in schools. The team delivered NSW Institute of Teachers accredited professional development to hundreds of teachers.

After building her own companies, Naomi has become passionate about encouraging artists and educators to take an entrepreneurial approach to building brands and utilizing online mediums and has begun consulting small businesses and individuals.


Show notes

[00:00] Introduction - Introducing Naomi Young
[02:58] Greetings
[04:01] Naomi talks about her background, mentioning Tinkerlab: A Hands-On Guide for Little Inventors, by Rachelle Doorley, the inspiration for Tinkertime
[07:18] Naomi's childhood and its link with her current activities: "The curiosity has to be alive."
[11:21] What could teachers have done to help Naomi stay focused in the learning of Science?
[14:18] Personalised learning
[15:46] Is the art of entertaining a skill teachers can learn? The Charisma Myth, by Olivia Fox Cabane
[17:47] Teaching as a performance vs communication & World's Teacher day
[20:36] What ninja skills does Naomi have that she can give to other teachers?
[24:29] “Find the joy in everything”
[25:21] When we walk into a classroom let’s not forget to make teaching fun
[26:25] Naomi's creative process
[29:40] Naomi's process for mental rest & recovery
[32:04] Musical instruments Naomi plays
[32:49] Working with other people and how Naomi got Tinkertime off the ground
[37:35] Why go to television in 2017?
[39:27] Quality content in current educational & children's television: The Storybots
[41:39] Benefits of getting your content on TV: Power, distribution, paid media and an already attentive audience
[42:44] Naomi's goals for her YouTube channel
[45:40] How would Naomi like teachers to use her channel and content?
[47:36] The model on how to use Naomi's content in the classroom
[48:39] Length of educational videos: The factor of audience engagement
[51:02] What kids engage with in Naomi's videos
[52:22] Naomi's plan for scaling her business
[55:10] Naomi's setup & equipment
[57:51] How Naomi learned to make and edit YouTube videos
[59:06] Creating video content as a new skill teachers should try to master
[01:00:40] How to maintain engagement in the age of binge watching
[01:02:20] Rapid Fire Questions
[01:02:24] Who has been the most influential in shaping the way you teach? The Pixar philosophy of story
[01:03:08] Is Programming a necessary skill for teachers or not?
[01:04:12] Parting Thoughts, Dos and Don'ts
[01:05:39] Naomi's Contact Information: YouTube channel, Website