STEMiverse 0007 - Tim Heinecke

June 12, 2017

In this episode of STEMiverse, Marcus and I talk with Tim Heineke.

Tim is a former Physical Education teacher, and has been wondering about the art and practice of student engagement. In fact, he founded the Student Engagement Institute, based in Sydney Australia, to explore what it takes to help students become passionate learners.

Tim is the author of Student Engagement, How to inspire and motivate every child, and offers professional educational experiences for teachers that want to make a difference in the lives of children. Tim’s book and approach in teaching dominates our discussion, which is full of practical ideas for turning any classroom into a place where children want to be.

This is STEMiverse episode 7.

Show notes

[00:00] Introduction - Introducing Tim Heinecke

[01:24] Tim talks about his background, his relation to teaching and his company Student Engagement Institute

[03:26] What motivated Tim to launch the Institute

[05:54] Meaningful strategies from Tim's book 'Student Engagement: How to Inspire and Motivate Every Child': Aesthetics, Belonging, Cognitive willingness, Dialogue, Investment & Systems

[07:23] Tim talks about his training and his approach in PE (Physical Education)

[12:11] The 6 engagement elements: Investment (from the teacher to the student)

[17:19] The importance of face-to-face communication for children today

[18:51] Treatment of Investment in STEM education

[21:47] The 6 engagement elements: Aesthetics (in the classroom)

[26:22] The 6 engagement elements: Belonging (kids being part of something bigger than them)

[27:57] Sparking students’ interest - Encouraging children to seek new experiences (special mention to Poll Everywhere app)

[31:11] The 6 engagement elements: Cognitive willingness (lifelong learning & providing students with a variety of topics to explore)

[35:49] The 6 engagement elements: Dialogue ("choosing simple words but choosing them well")

[38:39] The 6 engagement elements: Systems (e.g. preparation, resources, welfare, making sure things work properly)

[42:03] Putting it all together (building a garden example)

[46:26] Rapid Fire Questions

[46:47] Favorite Book: 'Teach Like a Pirate: Increase Student Engagement, Boost Your Creativity, and Transform Your Life As an Educator' by Dave Burgess

[46:59] Who has been the most influential person in shaping the way that you teach: Don Northey

[47:41] What app can you not live without: Safari

[48:03] Advice to Educators just starting out: "Jump in"

[48:27] Favorite Programming Language: BASIC

[48:58] Parting Thoughts, Dos & Don'ts: STEM innovation will make the biggest difference

[50:02] Contact information and workshops: Website: - Email: - Phone: +614 STUDENTS


STEMiverse 0006 - Jorge DeSousa Pires

June 5, 2017

In this episode of STEMiverse, Marcus and I talk with Professor Jorge De Sousa Pires.

Jorge is a retired associate professor. He was a researcher and senior lecturer at Uppsala University. He was also the Research and Education manager of Apple Sweden from 1988 onwards, and in 1996 he joined the Education Team of Apple Europe.

Jorge is fascinated by the power of technology to transform education. He worked at Malmo University in Sweden with the specific goal of improving Computer Assisted Learning at the University. He is also the author of several books and many peer-reviewed articles in Education and engineering.

In this conversation, Jorge discusses his colorful experiences in his long career in education. From helping his mother to teach grammar in her school in Portugal, to moving to Sweden, learning several languages, spearheading many educational initiatives, and using spreadsheets as a teaching tool.

This is STEMiverse episode 6.


These are resources that Jorge made available to listeners for download. 

01 Easter Påsken 2001 (PDF)
02 Easter Påsken 2001 (PNG)
  [Swedish, English, Portuguese] All about the days of Easter Such a file can be copied and changed for the actual year. Software: Inspiration

03 Concept map Communication (ISF - You will need Inspiration to open this file)
04 Concept map Communication picture File with the Concept map (PNG)
  Screen dump of the Concept map
  Software: Inspiration

05 Timeline size (JPG)
06 Timeline of history of Europe, Sweden, England, Portugal (3D) (PNG)
  Timelines always start with Me, My parents, My family and then the rest Software: Timeline 3D

07 Visual programming (from one of my books) (PDF)
  Programming with modules was introduced vey early on the Mac.
  Software: Extend, Stella, Excel, Mathematica,ANUGraph (Australia), Workbench, LabView

08 Read carefully! (PDF)
  Pay attention to the detail! It is true.

-- Good luck with your Mission! Jorge de Sousa Pires 20170410


Show notes

[00:00] Introduction - Introducing Jorge De Sousa Pires

[01:44] Jorge talks about his background, his book 'The joy of understanding how the concepts are interrelated', his company JSP and his relation to teaching

[05:41] Jorge discusses his books: His first book on electronics and his next three on Technology Enhanced Learning

[07:45] Using spreadsheets (Excel) as a teaching simulation tool

[08:54] How teaching in Sweden differs from elsewhere in the world

[10:55] Knowing your student before teaching

[12:24] Jorge's first spreadsheet application programmed in Basic before Excel and his journey of becoming a teacher

[15:55] Jorge's radio show during the period of dictatorship in Portugal and his migration to Sweden

[22:22] Getting over the language barrier

[24:59] How the students have changed over the years: Behavioral management & teacher's administrative duties

[30:32] Sweden's educational system and MOOCs

[34:21] What tools have changed in Jorge's time that change the way that he sees teaching STEM subjects: The computer

[37:30] How does one use technology in the classroom to gain insights: Go from 'what' to 'why'

[41:42] One of the responsibilities of a good teacher: Encourage the student to ask questions

[43:02] The impact of technologies such as AI, the Oculus Rift, 3D glasses, Virtual Reality on learning

[48:56] The most important technology for education in the next 5 years: AI and Programming

[50:18] Every student should be a programmer

[52:28] Rapid Fire Questions

[52:54] What App can you not live without: Evernote, Concept Maps and Timelines

[58:26] Most Influential Person in shaping the way that you teach: Teaching analphabets

[01:00:56] Jorge explains Concept Maps

[01:06:14] Advice to Educators just starting out: Elevate your students, keep in mind that not all children know about technology and be confident

[01:09:55] Parting Thoughts & Contact Information: Email:


STEMiverse 0005 - Keith Heggart

May 29, 2017

In this episode of STEMiverse, Marcus and I talk with Keith Heggart.

Keith is an Academic at the University of Technology, Sydney, and the University of Western Sydney.

He is an Organiser at the NSW Independent Education Union, expecting a PhD in Citizen Education and Critical Pedagogy expected at the end of 2017, and many more qualifications in Education and Engineering.

In this conversation, Keith discusses some of the STEM-related topics that excite him, including community-lead makerspaces, the magic of the Raspberry Pi, programming, online resources for teachers, and practical approaches to teaching science.


Episode notes

[00:00] Introduction - Introducing Keith Heggart

[01:22] Keith talks about his background, his relation to STEM and Education and his current activities

[03:19] Community-lead and funded Makerspaces

[05:01] What is needed to run a Makerspace

[06:57] Examples of current Makerspaces in Sydney: in schools

[09:26] How to run a Makerspace as a Teacher in a school: "Experiment and try and have a bit of fun" - Edutopia & Treehouse

[11:24] If you started a Makerspace today what would be the first thing you'd buy: Raspberry Pi Platforms

[12:42] Bias in favor of Engineering and Computer Science in Makerspaces - How to also expose children to Science and Mathematics

[16:40] The most important responsibility of Teachers: Not to kill students' creativity

[17:37] Administrative tasks restricting teachers from doing their job as well as they possibly can

[19:15] MIT assesses students' Portfolios, not just their marks

[20:01] How students' learning process changed over the last 10-20 years - What could be improved and how

[24:48] Alternative to age criteria for dividing student classes: capability, desire, customized learning experience via computer teaching tools and the Teacher's place in such an environment

[27:42] Mentorship rather than distribution of facts and data - How far into the future is this possible

[29:22] Arguments against PBL (Project-Based Learning): Does not allow information processing, cognitive overload vs explicit instruction for developing a base level of understanding

[31:24] Maker Education (Maker Revolution): Can it be applied in the classroom

[34:12] What is the biggest thing that will disrupt Education in Australia

[35:38] School of the Air

[36:30] Rapid Fire Questions

[36:59] What App can you not live without: Evernote, Zapier, Wunderlist

[38:22] Who is the Most Influential Person in shaping the way that you teach

[39:34] Advice to Educators just starting out: Join a Union

[41:25] How should new educators prepare for teaching: "If things are not working well try something new, and then evaluate"

[42:44] Favorite Programming Languages: MATLAB, Python, Swift

[43:59] Teaching Python vs Swift

[46:46] Professional Development Conferences and Workshops: #edu Twitter, #aussieED (@aussieEDchat), Teacher's Education Review Podcast (, Treehouse, Lynda, Apple Distinguished Educators Program & Apple Teacher Program

[49:35] Parting Thoughts, Dos and Dont's: Be inclusive

[52:30] Links and Contact Information: Website: - Twitter: @keithheggart


STEMiverse 0004 - Chris Johnson & Keith Burston

May 22, 2017

In this episode of STEMiverse, Marcus and I talk with Chris Johnson and Keith Burton.

Both Chris and Keith are retired academics with a love for technology and education. They have teamed up to create large constructions using Mechano blocks and Arduino-powered electronics. They take this hoby seriously, as you will see later on.

In this conversation, Chris and Keith discuss their Mechano crane and explain how it represents a great way to introduce children to engineering and programming. Among other things, we also discuss the Differential Analyser, robotics, artificial intelligence and conversation bots, and the dangers of abstraction in education.


Episode notes

[00:00] Introduction - Introducing Chris Johnson and Keith Burston

[01:20] Chris's background: IT Academia, Meccano and Research in Robots and AI

[02:36] Chris describes Meccano toys

[05:03] Keith's occupation with Meccano and Electronics

[05:32] Keith's background: Academia, industry research with Telstra, Communications, Project Management and Teaching

[06:39] Keith's current occupation with Meccano

[08:08] The Meccano Differential Analyzer

[11:21] Meccano advantages: "becomes intuitive" and promotes creativity

[12:55] Using Lego in teaching

[14:07] Chris's Researching Interest in AI includes Robotics, how to program autonomous thinking and the Turing machine

[17:07] Chris's choice of Programming Language for AI: Visual Basic

[19:03] Keith and Chris's current mentoring activities

[20:54] Keith built his first robot with Meccano when he was a school boy

[23:02] Future predictions: Becoming further and further abstractive and the dangers of only teaching the top levels

[33:27] Disappearing knowledge after 25 years when the Baby Boomers are gone

[35:28] Teaching STEM as the responsibility to teach people how to build things from scratch (which "enhances creativity")

[37:28] How would you structure the teaching of technology: Get input from the students

[39:46] Rapid Fire Questions

[39:58] Book Recommendations: Subscription to New Scientist, Longitude by Dava Sobel, The Victorian Internet by Tom Standage

[45:18] Favorite Programming Languages: (Keith) C++ (Chris) COBOL, Pascal, Visual Basic, C#


STEMiverse 0003 - Pasi Suhonen

May 15, 2017

In this episode of STEMiverse, Marcus and I talk with Pasi Suhonen.

Pasi is a Maker from Finland. By day, he is a customer-facing engineer at Rohde & Schwarz Finland, a German telecomunications company based in Munich, Germany. At any other time, Pasi is a tinkerer and life long learner.

In this conversation, Pasi tells us about his path in education and especially his experience as an apprentice, what schooling is like in Finland, and his hobbies, in particular microcontrollers, programming and radio astronomy. I think you will find Pasi's learning experiences very intersting!


Episode notes

[00:00] Introduction - Introducing Pasi Suhonen

[01:18] Pasi talks about his work in Rohde & Schwarz

[05:05] How Rohde & Schwarz survived the war

[05:57] Family companies in Germany are common to grow large without privatization

[07:30] Pasi's training in engineering

[10:04] Apprenticeship programs vs classroom education

[11:03] Finding a mentor

[11:51] A typical day with a mentor

[17:37] Pasi's childhood: how he began exploring electronics, what influenced his interest in science and technology & how was school in Finland

[21:25] Requirements for the Vocational school in Finland

[23:22] Pasi's current involvement with education: Open University courses

[24:45] How Pasi's early educational experience has helped him with self-directed, independent life-long learning in the present

[27:04] Public education in Finland

[28:41] Pasi's mentoring experience with his own child - Differences between current and older times for children

[31:31] Current state of STEM education in Finland: mandatory programming courses

[35:08] Russia's (Soviet Union) influence in electronics, differences and similarities

[38:02] Pasi's occupation with Arduino platforms and micro-controllers as a hobby

[41:01] How much Arduinos are used in schools in Finland

[42:23] Rapid Fire Questions

[42:52] Most Influential Person in shaping the way that you learn: many people, mentors, teachers, students, fellow-students, colleagues and especially Spock from Star Trek

[44:26] What App you cannot live without: email, others related to signal generation, spectrum analysers, EMI test receivers

[47:21] Advice to new Engineers just starting out: focus on prospective fields that are in demand and have growth potential

[48:20] Qualities of a mentor that you appreciate the most: will & patience

[49:40] Programming language that Pasi uses: C, related to Arduino

[50:07] Pasi's training as Professional Development: in-house seminars & training programs at Rohde & Schwarz

[51:17] Recommendations of publicly available courses: Pasi's company webinars

[51:48] Rohde & Schwarz ( Seminars & Trainings, Webinars & Videos

[52:30] Parting thoughts: study while you are young, keep an open mind and study in a wide scope


STEMiverse 0002 - Julija McDowell

May 8, 2017

In this episode of STEMiverse, Marcus and I talk with Julija McDowell.

Julija and her husband Nicholas are the founders of TinkerTank, a creativity and collaboration space in beautiful Manly, just out of Sydney, Australia. At TinkerTank, Julija, and her mentor collaborators offer STEAM education programs and activities, aimed to inspire the next generation of scientist and engineers.

In this conversation, Julija discuses STEM, makerspaces, schooling and homeshooling, and how to motivate children so that they learn because they want to, not because they have to.


Episode notes

[00:00] Introduction - Introducing Julija McDowel

[01:16] Peter and Marcus meet Julija at TinkerTank and discuss the facility's purpose (

[04:12] Julija talks about her background at George Lucas's Industrial Light & Magic

[08:01] Children at TinkerTank learn how to make YouTube videos and animation

[09:33] How to teach children without them thinking that they are in school: Create a fun environment ("try not to be like a school")  - Project Based Learning

[12:15] Hiring mentors: by word of mouth

[14:04] Age group targets: main group ages 7-12 - Finding ways to motivate ages 12-16 to rediscover science

[15:02] Advice for parents and teachers for motivating older children: surprise them and inspire with new and exciting things

[18:35] If money wasn't an issue what would Julija do with her company

[21:20] Makerspaces in Australia vs the US: differences in focus

[23:43] Changes in learning ways and expectations of students and parents over the last 10-20 years

[24:58] Homeschooling benefits and alternatives for working parents

[28:22] TinkerTank's schedule and approach, similarities and differences with Montessori

[31:29] Examples of Student-Led Learning and Length of Program

[34:29] Art Integration: creativity in everything

[36:16] Choice of equipment for TinkerTank

[40:13] Discussion about littleBits

[42:10] Learning through making: Troubleshooting skills development

[43:25] Rapid Fire Questions

[43:50] Who has been the Most Influential Person for Julija: Sir Ken Robinson

[44:19] Favorite Teaching Book: John Holt's Books (regarding the choice of unschooling)

[45:29] What App can you not live without: Homeschooling App AT3N (, wich is now integrated into TinkerTank apps, and Social Media

[47:08] Advice to Educators just starting out: Believe in yourself and your kids and go with the flow, break outside of the box and keep learning

[48:00] Professional Development Conferences and Workshops: Raising Happy Kids Conference (Sydney) and SXSW Conferences

[50:32] Advice to Educators with non-STEM related backgrounds: Face your Fears

[51:31] Parting Thoughts, Dos and Dont's: Learn the Value of STEM and STEAM

[52:54] Open Days at TinkerTank


STEMiverse 0001 - Jenny Lynch and science communication

May 3, 2017

In this episode of STEMiverse, Marcus and I talk with Jenny Lynch.

Jenny wears many colorful hats, and depending on the day she is a science communicator, a trainer, an educator and a designer of science kits for toy companies. She is the founder of Creative Science, a Sydney-based science communication business.

In this conversation, Jenny shares with us her experiences and lots of actionable advice for science teachers.

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 Jenny Lynch

[00:56] Jenny Lynch talks about her background in Science Communication, Professional Development Workshops for Early Childhood Educators, designing Science Kits for Toy Companies and more

[04:08] Jenny Lynch talks about the process of becoming a Science Communicator

[05:59] Communications Degree components

[06:52] Necessary qualities for teachers of science and engineering courses: focusing on the student

[09:09] Teaching programs in Australia that help teachers improve their science communication and day-to-day teaching skills

[10:19] Tips, Tools and Tricks for teachers to use on a daily basis

[12:33] How to interest young children in science - Pirate Science Kit example

[14:33] How Art relates to how people learn, to STEM, and how it helps strengthen our ability to teach and learn

[19:22] Jenny Lynch's Product Development process of Science Kits and Toys

[23:47] Prototyping Ideas

[24:45] Script Writing Process for Marketing Products

[26:30] Discussing the current state of the Science Kit market and sales of such products in households and/or classrooms

[29:56] Rapid Fire Questions

[30:42] Who is the Most Influential Person in shaping the way that you teach: Jenny's teaching has been influenced by many people

[31:54] What App can you not live without: Google Apps

[32:09] Advice to Educators just starting out: Find a Mentor

[33:39] Favorite Teaching Book: The Art of Electronics ("electronics being an art")

[34:39] The keys to Teaching and Presenting in front of a large audience of students: Preparation, Practice, Knowledge and Improvisation

[35:24] Worse Age Group to Teach: Year 9 being harder to respond - Alan Alda's Improvisation Exercises

[37:51] Professional Development Conferences and Workshops and the importance of the scientific method and scientific thinking

[39:15] Recommended Teachers' Conference: University Colloquia and Public Lectures, keeping up with the latest research

[41:44] Parting Thoughts, Dos and Don'ts: The importance of balancing between STEM integration and separation of disciplines

[43:06] Jenny Lynch's company Creative Science, links and contact information


STEMiverse 0000.5 - Peter and Marcus introduce themselves and Stemiverse podcast, Part 2

May 3, 2017

In this episode of STEMiverse, Marcus and I continue the discussion we started in the first episode!

In this Part 2 of episode 1 we have an open conversation on things such as our approach to teaching and learning, favourite tools, productivity tools and tips, lessons from Star Trek, educational technologies, and much more.

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 - Continuing from episode 0000

[00:58] Peter's approach to teaching: learning by doing

[05:39] Marcus's approach to teaching: simplistic approach, get the students through the first gate

[07:51] Marcus's Tools: Keynote, Arduino kits, Workshop kits, Google Apps

[10:13] Peter's Tools: Instructional Videos, Content Websites, Quiz Engines, Learning Management System: Teachable (, Tech Explorations (, Adobe Tools, Evernote, G Suite

[15:04] Peter's custom Project Management System

[18:39] Marcus's To-Do Lists: Things app & Asana

[19:16] Final Cut for video editing - Keynote animations

[21:10] Programming Languages (Marcus): Ruby

[22:47] Programming Languages (Peter): Ruby, C, C++, Objective C, Python, Java and more

[25:15] Scratch: Graphic, visual programming language, ideal for learning all the basics of programming

[27:27] Programming is different that learning a language

[28:14] Scratch is good for STEM teachers

[29:46] Why Programming is so important in STEM and Art

[34:26] Rapid Fire Questions

[34:57] Who has been the Most Influential in shaping the way you teach: Peter: Socrates & Carl Sagan - Marcus: Peter

[38:29] Advice to educators just starting out: Marcus: Learn a programming language and how the web works - Peter: the Educator Mind Set

[44:02] Parting Thoughts: Marcus: Publicise what you do - Peter: Watch Star Trek: Next Generation

[49:58] Contact Information: Peter: email:, twitter: @futureshocked - Marcus: twitter: @Schappi




STEMiverse 0000 - Peter and Marcus introduce themselves and Stemiverse podcast, Part 1

May 2, 2017

In this episode of STEMiverse, Marcus and I talk with Marcus and I!

This is the first episode of our brand new STEMiverse podcast. We introduce ourselves and the podcast. We explain (or at least we try to explain) our motives for starting this podcast, technology education, schooling, our approach to learning and teaching.

In this discussion, we also talk about our favourite tools and technologies for helping us produce and manage educational content, and, of course, programming and programming languages.

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 Marcus & Peter

[01:25] Introducing the Podcast STEMiverse and the reasons for creating it

[03:05] Peter's background in STEM education

[04:58] Marcus's background in STEM education

[05:58] Peter's training and education, his background in academia and his online school

[08:28] Marcus's training and education, his website Little Bird Electronics, selling and teaching Arduino and Raspberry Pi

[15:32] What problems STEMiverse intends to solve

[19:27] Why STEMiverse is the solution to the problem of what does it take to become a better STEM teacher

[22:11] Announcing STEMiverse episode 0000.5