Stemiverse 0029 – James Zaki – Ozberry meetup, Blockchain, and Education 

 February 20, 2018

By  Peter

In this episode, Dr. Peter Dalmaris talks with James Zaki.

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

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

Outside of development James worked as an 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 organizers of Ozberry, perhaps Australia’s largest Raspberry Pi and Maker-related meetup.

This is Stemiverse Podcast episode 29.

Stemiverse 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

Downloadable Resources

These materials are created by James Zaki and are available for free download with his permission. All rights are reserved by James Zaki. Click on the images to download.

Cyclearn Arduino Cyclearn Raspberry Pi


Peter Dalmaris is an educator, electrical engineer, electronics hobbyist, and Maker. Creator of online video courses on DIY electronics and author of three technical books, and has recently released his book Maker Education Revolution.   As a Chief Tech Explorer since 2013 at Tech Explorations, the company he founded in Sydney, Australia, Peter’s mission is to explore technology and help educate the world.  Tech Explorations offers educational courses and Bootcamps for electronics hobbyists, STEM students and STEM teachers. A life-long learner, Peter’s core skill is in explaining difficult concepts through video and text. With over 15 years of tertiary teaching experience, Peter has developed a simple yet comprehensive style in teaching that students from all around the world appreciate.  His passion for technology and in particular for the world of DIY open source hardware has been a dominant driver that has guided his personal development and his work through Tech Explorations. Peter’s current online courses have helped over 60,000 people from around the world to be better Makers. 

Peter Dalmaris

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