STEM Education Resources for Teachers

In STEM education, we emphasize the way we use Science, Technology, Education,  Mathematics, and the Arts work in unity to help create creative solutions to problems. 

STEM is not just a curriculum; it is an approach to learning.

This page contains links to articles and podcast interviews that answer many questions around the Why and How of STEM education.

What are the four core principles of STEM Education?

Learner has agency

“There is no greater education than one that is self-driven.” — Neil deGrasse Tyson

The kind of skills the our children need now and in the future to thrive (not just survive) can not be force-learned.

The student has to buy-in to what they learn. The best way to do this is to inspire them and let them have a say in their learning.

The student will then assume at least part of the responsibility of their own education, with some of their time allocated to student-led exploration of topics that resonate with them.

Project-based learning

“Failure is instructive. The person who really thinks learns quite as much from his failures as from his successes.” — John Dewey

Learning is a journey and a destination. The destination can be an ideal but also a specific goal. It must be specific so that we can measure our improvement over time, and correct our path if we are failing to get closer to our goal.

Projects provide students a realistic and achievable goal to aim for. Projects provide the student opportunities to build and improve on existing skills, require her full attention and are meant to take her outside of her comfort zone.

Teachers are gardeners

“What is a teacher? I'll tell you: it isn't someone who teaches something, but someone who inspires the student to give of her best in order to discover what she already knows.”
― Paulo Coelho, The Witch of Portobello

A gardenerteacher does not "teach" a treeperson how to grow. She simply provides protection from the elements, water, and nutrientsyoutube, TV, and wasted time. The treestudent is doing the growing on its own, but a treestudent that was nurtured by a good gardenerteacher grows to be tall, and strong a thriving individual.

Knowledge is singular

“We have sold ourselves into a fast food model of education, and it's impoverishing our spirit and our energies as much as fast food is depleting our physical bodies.” — Ken Robinson

It is hard to imagine anything good that can derive from a single "thing". Even water, need hydrogen and oxygen to blend in H2O. As humans, anything we create also comes from the combination of multiple "principles" of knowledge, and iterative experimentation. Knowledge is like water, it is fluid and wants to combine with other knowledge so it can be creative.

What is STEM Education?

STEM Education is an approach to learning that is based on the principles of problem and project-based learning, the unification of traditional knowledge "disciplines" and the transformation of teachers into mentors.

Maker Education is about the process of cultivating and strengthening our intrinsic drive to learn for the sake of learning, and make for fun.

STEM Education orientation articles

What is STEM education? Why should teachers be interested in it?

Peter Dalmaris

In a simplified model of how the world works, we have technological advancement that feeds social, economic and political change, which in turn feeds back into more technological advancement.


Myriads of parameters influence this process. Demographics, energy, food and water, raw materials, climate change, are just some of the most prominent influencers.

Do teachers need a technical background to be able to teach STEM?

Peter Dalmaris

Some of the best teachers I have met, had no formal training in the core STEM disciplines before they became involved in STEM education.


It is common for teachers who trained for a career in teaching religious studies, English, Humanities or Arts, to name just a few, to develop a keen interest in STEM.

A STEM teacher’s technical competence is important – but not only for the reasons you may think

Peter Dalmaris

Continuous professional development is always in a teacher’s to-do list. New evidence-based pedagogical methods, new tools, new curriculum requirements, policies for helping students with special needs, and so much more, all need dedicated learning time put aside to achieve a higher level of professionalism and capability.


What is learning through doing?

Peter Dalmaris

Inventors are revolutionaries. They change the way we live by solving everyday problems. Their inventions are proof of what is possible when the mindset and way of thinking goes against the grain of the established way of doing things.


Henry Ford showed that cars can be made in massive numbers and cheaply at a time when car manufacturing produced expensive cars for the few and the privileged. On a different scale, Elon Musk showed that private space flight is possible at a fraction of the cost of that operated by governments.

What tools should I use in my STEM class? 5 rules to help you select

Peter Dalmaris

Because STEM has such a broad context, many different kinds of tools and resources can be used.


A quick search on the web for “STEM tools” will return millions of hits.


Visit your local department store, go to the toys section, and you will see boxes full of toys that the manufacturer claims to offer “STEM” learning opportunities.

What is a Bootcamp and how is it different to a self-paced course?

Peter Dalmaris

An online bootcamp brings together a small number of participants who learn as a team. They support each other, and a healthy competitive spirit emerges to add strength to the individual internal drive to succeed.


The instructor is part of the team, and because the student to instructors ratio is small, it is possible to devote significantly more resources to the team than what is possible with a MOOC (“Massive Open >Online Course”).


Project-Based Learning

Celinda Corsini on designing Project-based Learning

Peter Dalmaris

In this Stemiverse podcast episode, Peter Dalmaris talks with Celinda Corsini.


Celinda is a passionate and innovative educator with a commitment to developing bold initiatives in education to equip students with the skills and competencies they need to thrive in our ever-changing world.


She is a blended learning expert, having conceptualised and developed flipped learning for the language classroom in isolation in 2011 by embracing 21st-century technologies and skills.

Meridith Ebbs: Project-based learning

Peter Dalmaris

In this Stemiverse podcast episode, Peter Dalmaris talks with Meridith Ebbs about project-based learning, integrated and thematic teaching. Meridith emphasises the importance of computational thinking and describes how she uses Twitter in the context of her work in education.


Meridith is a teacher with 23 years of experience in K-10 and adult education. She is interested in integrating STEM into classrooms and she is now also working as the NSW Project Officer for the CSER program with the University of Adelaide. 

Rich Lehrer: Creating Changemakers

Peter Dalmaris

In this Stemiverse podcast episode, Peter Dalmaris talks with Rich Lehrer about Authentic Project-Based Learning and his philosophy in teaching and learning.


Over the course of his career, Rich has been an educator in the Canadian public school system, in international schools in Venezuela and Brazil, and in the U.S. independent school system.


Throughout his 27 years in education, Rich has been committed to the search for “what works” in education. 

Dr Marc Noakes on teaching Teachers

Peter Dalmaris

In this conversation, Marc talks about the disengagement from Science as students grow into adulthood, re-engagement, helping teachers gain confidence in their ability to teach science, misunderstandings around STEM, hands-on learning and collaboration, why being a polymath helps in being a better teacher, and much more.


As a STEM Specialist Educator and NESA-endorsed professional development provider, Marc works with schools and STEM-related organizations to develop and deliver high-quality teaching and learning programs.

Julija McDowell and TinkerTank

Peter Dalmaris

Julija and her husband Nicholas are the founders of TinkerTank, a creativity and collaboration space in 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 homeschooling, and how to motivate children so that they learn because they want to, not because they have to.

From Architecture to the Mini Makers

Peter Dalmaris

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


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


Women in STEM

Kavita Krishnaswamy discusses assistive robots

Peter Dalmaris

In this Stemiverse podcast episode, Dr. Peter Dalmaris talks with Kavita Krishnaswamy about Developing Assistive Robotics. Kavita is a Ph.D. candidate in Computer Science at the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMBC) working with Dr. Tim Oates. She is also a Google Lime Scholar and Microsoft Research Fellow, a Ford Foundation Predoctoral and National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow. 


Kavita is a professional researcher with a physical disability. She’s motivated by a powerful, innate force: autonomy is the soul of independent daily living that she has achieved with the advancement of technology. 

Dr Jillian Kenny: the power of engineering and making real difference

Peter Dalmaris

A creator at heart, Dr. Jillian Kenny is constantly on the lookout for opportunities to challenge traditional ways of thinking. As a result of her work she was named one of the first Superstars of STEM by Science and Technology Australia in 2017 and as one of Australia’s Top 100 Most Influential Women by the Australian Financial Review and Westpac in 2014.


In this conversation Jillian talks about her non-profit organization Power of Engineering and Machinam, a company that develops innovative digital high school mathematics resources that are engaging and relevant to real life.

Andra Keay discusses art, science, and Robotics

Peter Dalmaris

In this Stemiverse podcast episode, Peter talks with Andra Keay.


Andra is the Managing Director of Silicon Valley Robotics, an industry group supporting innovation and commercialization of robotics technologies.


She moved to San Fransisco from Sydney and established herself as an influencer in the hyper-competitive space of robotics and education. 


Andra talks about her experience in television and art, how she moved to a new exciting industry, competitive robotics, educational robots, telepresence, women in robotics, and a lot more.

Dr Sue Keay Leading Robotic Vision

Peter Dalmaris

Dr. Sue Keay is recognized as Superstar of STEM by Science & Technology Australia.

Sue is a trained scientist with highly developed business skills. She runs the world’s first robotic vision research center.

The Australian Centre for Robotic Vision, headquartered in Brisbane, is an ARC Centre of Excellence with more than 100 researchers distributed across Australian and overseas research institutions.

The Center’s mission is to create robots that see and understand their environment so that we can finally reach the tipping point where robots can assume capabilities that have previously only been imagined.

Sue recently developed a successful $1.5m R&D project supported by the Queensland government to explore the vision capabilities of Softbank’s social robot, Pepper.

Keen to make sure that women contribute to the development of the technologies of the future, Sue believes that everyone can be a roboticist and that science should be accessible to everyone.

Ruthe Farmer how to increase girls’ participation in STEM

Peter Dalmaris

Ruthe Farmer is Chief Evangelist at CSforALL, a national organization in the United States, working to bring rigorous, inclusive and sustainable computer science education to all US students.

Ruth previously served in the Obama administration as Senior Policy Advisor for Tech Inclusion in the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy.

As a policymaker and activist Ruthe’s focus is on increasing girls’ participation in technology and engineering.

Here’s some of the amazing work she has done, and some of the awards she has received in the past:

She has worked for the Girl Scouts, as a program manager for STEM education, and was a founding committee member of the Oregon Robotics and Tournament Outreach Program. Ruthe was named a “Champion of Change for Technology Inclusion” by the White House in 2013 and won the Anita Borg Institute’s 2014 Social Impact ABIE award.

Dr Rebecca Johnson and Superstar in genomics

Peter Dalmaris

Dr. Johnson is Director of the Australian Museum Research Institute, a Wildlife Forensic Scientist, a Conservation Geneticist and co-chief investigator of the Koala Genome Consortium.

Rebecca is the first female science director in the Museum’s 190-year history and is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Sydney. She and her team were instrumental in establishing the Museum as a global leader in the field of wildlife forensics and applied conservation genomics including developing strong translational research with direct links to industry. She is a member of the Australian Academy of Forensic Sciences and represents the Museum in many government and industry committees.

Rebecca’s is one of the inaugural 30 “SuperStars of STEM.” This is a group of some of Australia’s most dynamic scientists and technologists whose mission is to create role models for young women and girls and working towards equal representation in the media of men and women in STEM.


Game-Changing Educational Technologies

Kieran Nolan talks about the Blockchain in education, RocketShoes

Peter Dalmaris

Kieran is an International Speaker, CoderDojo Mentor, and Blockchain Expert.


He's an Educational Technologist at Wooranna Park Primary School, Melbourne, Australia, where his strategic leadership has led the school to launching a 24/7 International Virtual Learning Environment in Minecraft, Victoria’s first CoderDojo, Australia’s first Immersive Education Club, the world’s youngest Cisco class, and the very first School on the Blockchain.


Kieran is also a Co-Founder & Business Development Executive of RocketShoes.io, an educational platform designed for a learner-centric approach and providing powerful tools to manage content in a decentralized way.


Kieran is driven by innovation, disruption, and lifelong learning.


These drivers empower him to play his part in revolutionizing the EduTech space as we know it.

Dr Jason Zagami on advanced educational technologies

Peter Dalmaris

In this episode of Stemiverse, Peter Dalmaris talks with Dr. Jason Zagami about brain science research, EEG headsets and the practical application of this technology, in teacher education and in the classroom.


Dr. Jason Zagami is an academic in the School of Education and Professional Studies of Griffith University on the Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia where he teaches and conducts research in educational technologies and Computer Science Education (K12).

In the context of Educational Technologies, Jason focuses on the identification of emerging trends, educational gaming (VR, AR, and VWs), student co-creation of secondary worlds, and neural /cognitive activity measurement. In Computer Science Education (K12), he focuses on curriculum implementation approaches involving higher order thinking skill development, concept development through visualisation and manipulation, concept development through use of Robotics, Drones and IOT, and challenges for female participation in Computer Science education.

Dr Melina Uncapher bridging neuroscience and technology

Peter Dalmaris

In this conversation, Dr. Melina Uncapher introduces us to Educational Neuroscience.

Dr. Uncapher is an Assistant Professor in the Dept. of Neurology at UC San Francisco, and Director of Education for Neuroscape. Neuroscape is a translational neuroscience center that bridges the gap between neuroscience and technology. Melina has spent 16 years at the forefront of learning neuroscience and now applies research to solve real-world problems in education and technology.

Melina leads a multi-university National Science Foundation-funded network studying how executive function contributes to academic achievement and is leading an initiative to launch Learning Engineering as a new way to build research-practice partnerships. She co-founded and is CEO of a nonprofit that arms educators and students with practical tools based on learning science: The Institute for Applied Neuroscience. Melina runs an NIH-funded research program that investigates whether technology use is associated with neurocognitive changes.

Kurt Yang discusses modern educational technology & robots

Peter Dalmaris

In this Stemiverse podcast episode, Kurt Yang gives us a glimpse of how the market works with the education sector to provide the best possible tools to STEM teachers. 


Kurt is the product manager of an Australian EduTech start-up company, Actura. Actura provides leading STEAM learning solutions spanning from in-class to out-of-class environments. 


While he is not a teacher, Kurt's job is to design and give teachers the tools they need to be awesome. In his current role, he is challenged by the development of FlipRobot. Towards this, he brings a lot of experiences from his career with an emphasis on product innovation. This is an episode in which we looked at education from a market supply point of view, and it is surely not one to be missed.

Dr Karsten Schulz: Walking Supercomputers

Peter Dalmaris

In this episode of Stemiverse, Peter Dalmaris talks with Dr. Karsten Schulz.


Karsten Schulz (Ph.D.) is an engineer, computer scientist, and educator. He is leading the Digital Technologies Institute and is the designer of the B4 Modular Microprocessor for the classroom. Karsten has a background in the ICT industry, specifically in R&D. He has been involved in the Digital Technologies education space since 2008. 


Some of his previous activities include Young ICT Explorer and Bebras. Most recently, he designed and manufactured the B4 Modular Microprocessor, which students can experiment within the classroom. Karsten is passionate about digital and biological systems, their similarities, and how things work deep inside.

Mark Roper discusses the Blockchain and how this technology can help save the world

Peter Dalmaris

Mark Roper is a strategic thinker, entrepreneur, and lecturer who enjoys working at the leading edge, envisioning solutions to real-world problems and taking action to make these solutions a reality.


Mark is a co-founder of Royalti Blockchain Group Pty Ltd, an Australian-based blockchain training and consulting company. In that capacity, we invited Mark to have a discussion with us, in which we explore the Blockchain and the ways by which it promises to change the world.

Transformational Teaching

Dr Chris Matthews on teaching mathematics through dance & story

Peter Dalmaris

Dr. Chris Matthews, a Noonuccal man, is passionate about connecting culture and mathematics, having developed a method of teaching maths to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students through dance and story. He teaches students to bring maths to life by crafting stories in which characters take actions that add, subtract, or divide.

As Chair of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mathematics Alliance (ATSIMA), Dr. Matthews also organizes camps and conferences designed to promote Indigenous participation in STEM and to support mathematics outcomes for Indigenous students.

Dr. Matthews highlights the importance of engaging Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in mathematics to ensure they are prepared for life beyond school.

Matt Richards: flipping learning environments with the Makerspace

Peter Dalmaris

In this conversation, Peter Dalmaris talks with Matt Richards about the Maker Movement and what makes a Makerspace special compared to a classroom. Matt offers advice to teachers who are interested in turning their classroom into a Makerspace or creating a new Makerspace in a dedicated area of a school.


Matt is an education and creative director, learning innovation leader and educational technologist. He has 10 years experience creating innovative learning environments, high performing teams and education programmes in schools, social enterprise and government organizations (most recently the new Hinatore Learning Lab at New Zealand’s National Museum).


Matt employs emerging technologies to empower learners and build global learning communities. He is a Google Certified Innovator and Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert.

Christie Evans discusses learning through real-world problem-solving

Peter Dalmaris

In this Stemiverse episode, Peter Dalmaris talks with Christie Evans about the difference between project-based and problem-based learning.


Christie has a deep interest in STEM initiated by a science degree at Flinders University, then further developed by a strong classroom practice from her first days of teaching.

Within the classroom, Christie engages students through problem-based learning with real-world applications using a cross-curricular inquiry model.

Christie’s enthusiasm for both the Sciences and Technologies has enabled her to have a significant impact not only at her site but across several schools. Teachers recognize, and are enlightened by, her progressive pedagogies and connection to authentic context and are thereby motivated to adopt this way of teaching.


Brian McNally: Thinking While Moving

Peter Dalmaris

Brian is a veteran teacher with 23 years of experience. He has moved from Outdoor Education to Primary Physical Education, Secondary Physical Education, IT, Maths and Science. Specializing 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 regularly presents seminars and training events to teachers in topics such as thinking while moving in mathematics, using IT in PE, and mathematics. These are some of the topics that we discuss in this Stemiverse podcast episode.


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.

Prof John Fischetti: Transformational Teaching

Peter Dalmaris

Professor Fischetti is Head of School of Education School at the University of Newcastle. Over the past 30 years John has worked to revamp classroom practices, school structures and board policies around the new era we are in, that he calls “the collaborative, global innovation age”. In the past, John has served as a Dean in the US, a Professor, and teacher.


Working inside school reform, revamping teacher education and rethinking leadership preparation over the past thirty years, Professor John Fischetti brings a divergent set of experiences to The University of Newcastle.


In this hour-long, gem-packed discussion, John talks about

  • equity vs equality in education,
  • flipped schools,
  • refugee education in Miami,
  • personalized education,
  • intellectual inspiration,
  • student engagement,
  • how to equip our children with the intellectual tools they need to reach the moon and beyond,
  • how the role of teachers has already changed,
  • and much much more.

Dr Steve Brodie: Open Innovation

Peter Dalmaris

Steve has over 20 years’ experience in research and development, commercialization and open innovation within corporate research and development laboratories (multinational and SME) and University technology transfer offices. He is a creative intrapreneur with a proven ability to recognize innovation opportunities and to create and implement solutions to go after them.

A core theme throughout Steve’s career has been innovation and, in particular, how individuals and organizations can collaborate to identify innovation opportunities, develop new ideas and innovate.

In this interview, we discuss Open Collaborative and Wicked innovation, classroom-friendly ways to foster innovative thinking, Lady Bird science books, the continuum between school student and a University career as a researcher, problem-solving and much more.


Maker Movement

Wayne Stambaugh talks about Kicad’s past, present, and future

Peter Dalmaris

Wayne has been a developer for the KiCad project for over 12 years and the lead project developer for the last 6 years. He is an electronics engineer with over 30 years of experience in electronics design and software development. Wayne has done a little bit of everything during his career including digital, analog, and embedded design as well as embedded programming in assembly and C and desktop programming in C, C++, and Python.

In this interview, Wayne takes us back in time, to tell the story of KiCad’s early days, trials and tribulations. Of course, we also discussed the future of KiCad. With CERN backing the project, as well as other organizations (like Wit, which now employs Wayne full time to work on KiCad as its leader), and thousands of people contributing donations, I expect KiCad to grow and became perhaps the best open-source PCB tool.

Wayne spoke about his experience at the recent first KiCad conference (KiCon) and the future of KiCad. Tech Explorations was a proud sponsor of KiCon.

Gil Poznanski discusses thinking like a maker, exploring ideas and peer-to-peer learning

Peter Dalmaris

Gil is all about engaging people with technology. As an international leader in the Maker community, inspiring speaker and teacher, Gil has spent the last eight years building a proven track record in developing STEM and Maker environments.

Gil is always looking for the personal narrative in every project and shares it with as many people as possible.

In the past, he worked with the City of Melbourne running the Makerspace at the Library @ the Dock in Docklands, as well as developed and deployed the Creative Technologies Hub for Hobsons Bay City Council.

In our discussion, we drill into Gil’s previous life in the movie industry in Los Angeles and how his learnings and experiences lead to his re-invention as the “Kosher Tony Stark.” We talk about his experiments with cutting edge technology, prototyping, how he’s using social media and YouTube to expand his reach, and much more.

Norman Pirollo and the art of woodworking

Peter Dalmaris

In this Stemiverse episode, Norman Pirollo discusses woodworking as an artist and a teacher.


Norman is the editor of WOODSKILLS magazine, an online woodworking instructor, and author. In a previous life, he was a C++ developer for some of the largest computer companies in the world. He decided to turn his life around and dedicate himself to CAD Design, prototyping and creating contemporary furniture at his company, Pirollo Design.


Norman writes and publishes woodworking courseware on his website, and also teaches woodworking in the traditional “in-person” way.


He has authored and published four books:

  • The Wood Artist: Creating Art Through Wood
  • Start Your Own Woodworking Business
  • From Hi-Tech to Lo-Tech: A Woodworker’s Journey
  • Abstracted: An Artist’s Journey

Most recently, Norman published WOODSKILLS, a bi-annual magazine about fine woodworking.

George Katz, Water Rocket Man, and Dr. Peter Dalmaris, author of Maker Education Revolution

George Katz engineering water rockets

Peter Dalmaris

George Katz has been making things ever since he can remember. As a child, he used to make paper models of all kinds of things, until his parents bought him a 2-transistor radio kit. From that point, he was interested in all things electronic.

He studied electronics in high school and later completed his degree in Computer Engineering from UNSW. He enjoyed the course because it combined electronics with software and so that computers would interact with the real world. There, he also became interested in robotics and built a number of research robots for his thesis and for the AI department for other students to use. After university, his day job was on developing software for various companies, but electronics remained his hobby.

About 13 years ago he saw an episode of MythBusters that featured water rockets.
Searching online, he discovered a whole world of DIY makers that made rockets and posted instructions on how to do that.

George shares his experiences as much as possible online and runs a website with instructional videos as well as launch and experiment reports. The website contains many of the hard to find details about water rockets so that others can learn from his successes and mistakes the same way people shared their knowledge with him when he started out.


Doonie Benton discusses life-long learning, taking charge, motorcycles and golf

Peter Dalmaris

Geoffrey was born in Frankston when they still shoed horses in the stables near the railway station. Geoffrey attended Tech school and became an apprentice as a plastic die-maker/toolmaker.

He worked as a maintenance fitter and in later life he became a policeman, then a truck driver and has also owned several small businesses.

He retired in 2012 and went on to discover a range of activities that keep him interested and, sometimes, frustrated! These include filmmaking, short story writing, making model boats and generally beavering away in his shed for days at a time. He recently discovered the joys and frustrations of learning how to use a laser cutter and has since filled the house with tiny wooden boxes.

Then, he was bitten by the electronics bug in the form of Arduino and is now trying to combine all of his skills to one end.

He has had a lifetime love affair with motorcycles including building, restoring, racing, and touring. In the shed at the moment is a home-built 920cc V twin solo and a 1500cc Kawasaki V twin with a sidecar and trailer.

Geoffrey lives in country Victoria with his wife and two cats.

Richard Park, Network engineer and mentor, and Dr. Peter Dalmaris, author of Maker Education Revolution

Richard Park on the experiences of a Teacher-Maker

Peter Dalmaris

Richard has been teaching full time for twenty years. He currently teaches college-level Network Engineering and is creating an “IoT Explorations” course for the coming school year.

Richard also taught Secondary Technology Education, concurrently, for eleven years. In these venues, the topics included coding, operating systems, electronics, and multimedia in addition to networking.

Prior to his full-time teaching career, Richard was a Cisco Systems Network Academy Area Manager, Apple Computer Systems Engineer, Texas Instruments Technical Instructor, and an IBM Mainframe Systems Field Engineer.

In my conversation with Richard, we touched on a wide array of topics drawing mostly from his vast experience. He worked at Apple Computer for 20 years, at a time where networks were open and unencrypted, and witnessed first hand Apple’s foray into education, and he wrote the Apple ][ Primer, one of the first programming guides for teachers. This discussion reminded me of my first computer, an Apple //e with 128KBytes of RAM.

Richard was one of the first users of Visicalc, one of the first visual spreadsheet programs for the Apple ][ and defined much of how modern spreadsheets work. This knowledge was very useful when he worked at Texas Instruments and essentially revolutionized job costing.

Let us help you prepare for your next STEM class

Our STEM Bootcamp for Teachers is a fully-online and personalised training program for STEM Teachers and Trainers.

Your training schedule and exact curriculum is agreed between you and your trainer to ensure that by the end of the Bootcamp you will have achieved your set goals.

Your minimum time commitment should be 4 hours per week, and training can extend to a maximum of 6 months

Here are some of the soft skills that you will develop during this training:

  • Experiment design
  • Prototyping and iteration
  • Project documentation
  • Communications
  • Student assessment techniques
  • Troubleshooting
  • Project reporting
  • Project Portfolio Management

And here are the educational technologies that we can provide training in (you can chose at least one):

  • Arduino Uno
  • Arduino 33 IoT
  • Grove for Arduino
  • Simple robotics
  • Raspberry Pi
  • ESP32
  • Micro:bit
  • mBot
  • Internet of Things (IFTT, etc.)
  • Programming in C/C++ and Python
  • Printed circuit board design

Not sure where to start? 

Start with the entry-level Arduino Bootcamp for Teachers.

The Arduino Bootcamp for Teachers has been running since 2017. It is a 16 day* intensive training program led by Dr Peter Dalmaris. By the end of this program, you will be able to use the Arduino Uno as a teaching tool in your classroom. You will receive training in programming, simple circuit design on the breadboard, and experiment design. All educational material (workbook, curriculum, quizzes, mini-projects) are provided. 

Upon graduation from the Arduino Bootcamp for Teachers, you have the option to work on a Personal Extension Project Bootcamp. In this project, Dr Dalmaris will assist you to develop an educational technology, curriculum or tool based on the Arduino that you can then use in your classroom.

The Arduino Bootcamp for Teachers serves as preparation for the open-ended STEM Bootcamp and is most suitable to teachers who have no or little prior training in STEM technologies.

* We offer the same program in "relaxed mode", in which we can spread your learning over a longer period of time (up to 6 months) to ensure that it fits well with your other responsibilities.

The STEM Bootcamp is a fully-online experience.

These are our tools:

  • Asana for project management (task coordination, reminders, communications).
  • The Tech Explorations website to for courseware content.
  • Zoom for the live video coaching sessions.
  • Recorded video feedback when Zoom video conferencing is not possible.

During a your Bootcamp training, you will work on four types of activities:

Learn

Review instructional videos and other resources lectures. Learn new topics that you will need in later activities.

Test

After each learning session, take a quick revision quiz. This will help you consolidate your new knowledge so you use it.

Do

Apply your new knowledge  on one or two mini-projects. These projects consist the cornerstone of your learning. No only they help you to own your new knowledge, but they also contribute to your project portfolio.

Document

You will document all your project work. Commiting your learnings to a document also reinforces this learning, and makes it possible to communicate your work to others (such as your students, or your Bootcamp mentor).

Book a no-obligation consultation session with Dr Dalmaris to discuss your STEM training requirements and outcomes.

The STEM Bootcamp for Teachers is a fully custom experience and designed to fit precisely with your needs. Therefore, the first step is to discuss your specific needs with Dr Dalmaris. Please fill in this form with as much information as you can provide.

Let's make something together

Hi, I’m Peter.

I am an online educator and Maker, author of Maker Education Revolution, KiCad Like a Pro, and founder at Tech Explorations.

I create all the content on the Tech Explorations website. 

Why? Because, as I already mentioned, I'm an educator and a Maker, and I have a Mission.

My mission is to help people learn electronics, programming, printed circuit board design, and lots more. Most importantly, I want to help as many people as possible to enjoy their technology education adventures.

After a 15 year career as a University Lecturer, I decided to become a Maker, again. Like most of us, as a child, I was curious, and I learned how things worked by experimenting with them (usually, this meant taking them apart and hoping to not loose any screws as I was putting things back together). 

Growing up, I became an Engineer, only to loose my childish curiosity in the name of pursuing a career. 

I became a child again once I got my first Arduino. With it, I started creating thing, tinkering with components, testing ideas. Even though I was a "career educator", it was only now that I realised how wrong my last 15 years of education had been. I was partly responsible for destroying the creativity of thousands of students, just like mine had been destroyed in the name of being a "proper adult".

At Tech Explorations, my job is to learn and to create. I learn what I am curious about, and I create educational content. This content is the record of my learning.

I don't create this content to teach "students". I create it to help learners learn things that they want to learn. 

At the end of the day, we are all learners, and we learn from each other.

I sincerely hope that through the content I create at Tech Explorations, as many people as possible will be inspired to re-kindle their childhood curiosity, learn, and create amazing things.

Maker Education as a model for modern Education

This is a chapter from my book Maker Education Revolution

Learning by making is a core value of Maker-style education. Does learning by making really work? Is this kind of learning too expensive since it requires all these tools and materials? Is it too risky to abandon a system that we are all used to, despite its weaknesses, and morph it into something new hoping that it will deliver the rewards many years or decades later?

According to OECD data from 2011, the average student in a school system of a western or developed country like Australia will spend around eleven thousand hours in school (1). This number is shared between elementary and lower secondary education. The OECD average is around eight thousand hours. The part of this time spent on science and mathematics is around 25%. In most parts of the world, almost none of this time is spent in learning-by-doing activities. The emphasis is in academic-style learning, rote learning in other words, that involves passive absorbing of facts by the learner. There is no information on how much of that time is spent on teaching students how to think as a scientist or engineer across all subjects, a core outcome of Maker Education, but an optimistic estimate would place that figure to less than 10%.

The schooling experience that most of us have is that despite all the time we spent at school, we were not prepared for life in a meaningful way. My own experience from school was that of a place where boredom triumphed. I did learn how to read and write, developed some basic social skills and created strong friendships. But how much of that was due to school and how much was due to background social dynamics and family is debatable. What is not debatable was that for me, the overall experience was overwhelmingly negative. In my school, none of my strongest curiosities were satisfied. I spent my hours trying to focus on what my teachers were saying just in case a random test was thrown in. I studied hard to please my parents and because it was the socially acceptable thing to do. I developed extreme patience, a very useful skill indeed, because I had to wait for school to finish, go home, do all my homework for the next day, until I could find a one-or-two-hour block in which I could devote myself to what I truly wanted to do: make model planes and ships, open up old and discarded machines to see what’s inside, read books on astronomy and science, and play with my Apple //e. None of these were considered useful skills or important enough to allocate a core part of my day to them: they were all a child’s play.

Things became a lot worse in higher secondary school where 100% of the emphasis was on studying exactly the materials I needed in order to gain entry into a school of engineering. Engineering, electronics, machines was my passion, but while I was studying for these exams, a total of two or three years, I had to forget all about my passion. I had to dig into my prescribed books, memorise exercises, repeat the same study countless times until everything was perfect. Entering university was a great achievement, but it didn’t feel like that to me. Everyone else seemed happy. Teachers, parents, friends were all congratulating me for my hard work and success in these exams. I felt that in order to achieve something that should have made me happy, I had to loose something that actually did make me happy.

But I still had hope. Surely, now that I was in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, I would be able to rekindle my old childhood passion. Just like in those days, years ago, I expected to be able to start making things again. But that just didn’t happen. My experience at University, like that for so many of us, was that it was a continuation of school. I was also surprised to find that many of my colleagues did not share a passion for engineering, for electronics, or for making. They spent years of their lives studying to gain entry to the School of Engineering, because of the excellent job prospects that such degree brought along. Engineers are always in demand. Then again, maybe I am wrong; maybe they did have a passion for making and engineering, but it was taken out of them in school.

During my university years at the School of Engineering, the opportunities for tinkering were rare. The first few years, when minds are fresh and excited, were consumed in learning various academic subjects. I took every lab I could just to experience the feeling of doing something practical again, the feeling of making something. However the vast majority of my time was spent in the library or working on assignments at home. Learning was a series of lectures, study and exam cycles. Very conventional.

The years of drought in university culminated in my final semester, where for perhaps the first time in years I had been given a choice: what would I like to work on for my graduate project! I was finally able to get a taste of the freedom that I had craved for since childhood, to spend hours, days and weeks exploring a technology of my choice, making things that don't work, learning from them, showing others my work. The fact that eventually I presented this work to my professors and received a grade does not matter. These last six months in my career as an undergraduate engineering student were the best because I was finally making something that excited me.

Isn’t this the experience, in varying degrees, that most of us had of their schooling days (2)? Albert Einstein famously said that “creativity is simply intelligence having fun”. Are you having fun? Are your children having fun? Are your students having fun? Are the learners under your care and jurisdiction having fun? Are they creative? Or has their creativity been killed by their school, as Sir Ken Robinson has suggested?

The eleven thousand hours, once you add other school-related, forced activities, easily become fifteen thousand. Add higher secondary and then university education, and we are looking at almost thirty thousand hours spent in traditional education for the average person in a western developed country.

And we have to ask ourselves: What are the dividends that we as people and collectively as a society have received for all this work by students, teachers, parents and everyone involved? How much of that time should really be devoted to learning basic literacy, like language and arithmetic, and how much should be devoted to developing children as individuals so that they have the best chance of growing into active, confident and creative individuals, capable of contributing their minds and skills to creating a better world?

Years after my graduation from the School of Engineering it occurred to me that perhaps I should have dropped out as soon as I realise that my learner where not being met. Or perhaps I could have searched for alternatives. But I can only say that now, with the benefit of hind sight, and decades worth of experience as an educator and life long learner. Without this knowledge, making decisions like that contain too much risk for most young people to even consider. Like so many other young people, I did not have the mindset, the maturity or the self-confidence to do so. Perhaps more important, I had the social pressure to get through it, get my degree and move on with life. I know now that I should have looked for a way to better align my drive for learning and making, of learning through making and how I spend my time, day to day.

I can imagine this conversation: “How can you even contemplate dropping out, how can you do this to your parents? To your teachers? All their sacrifice, all the things they have done for you will be for nothing”.

But then, what about the children? Is our system, our mindset, our way of education asking our children to sacrifice their passions, or their search for their passions, in exchange for compliance with a system designed in the 18th century with mass production factories and urbanisation in mind?

Children are naturally wired to be learners; they learn through play, through doing. When the system created to help them learn takes away the most important pathways of learning, play, experimentation, curiosity and their ability to pursuit them, we are removing a large part of their capacity to learn and be creative. Is there any wonder then why children that are having learning difficulties at school feel disconnected, disappointed, unfulfilled? Is there any wonder why so many children get in trouble and stay in trouble for long periods of their lives, maybe forever, with the severe consequences to themselves, their families and friends, and society?

Can you imagine how our lives could be better, and our societies, and world be a better place if the bulk of our schooling was influenced by the principles of Maker-style education? How can we, as educators, parents, and policy makers, respond better to the knowns and unknowns of life in the 21st century?

What would like be like if the joy of making and the sense of achievement and fulfilment that it brings was at the core of our schooling years?

Join the Tech Explorations Insiders

Want to make sure that you get notified when I release my next article or video? Then sign up below to join my list of Tech Explorations Insiders.


You'll receive email notifications whenever I release new content plus you'll get access to insiders-only updates that aren't published on the site!


We never spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

By submitting this form, you agree to receive educational and promotional announcements from Tech Explorations. Your personal details will not be shared with anyone outside of Tech Explorations, and you may unsubscribe at any time.

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}
>