Welcome to Stemiverse Podcast episode 35!

In this episode, Peter and Marcus talk with Dr Jason Zagami!

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 his work in innovations in educational technologies, Jason focuses on the identification of emerging trends, educational gaming (including VR, AR and VWs), student co-creation of secondary worlds, and neural / cognitive activity measurement.

In the field of Computer Science Education (K12) Jason focuses on curriculum implementation approaches involving higher order thinking skill development, concept development through visualisation and manipulation (including visual programming), concept development through use of manipulables (such as Robotics, Drones and IOT), and challenges for female participation in Computer Science education.

Jason has many years' of experience in K-12 computer education and teacher education. He has been the recipient of the Outstanding National Achievement by a Teacher and the Queensland Computer Educator of the Year awards. He is an Apple Distinguished Educator, a Google Certified Innovator, a past president of the Australian Council for Computers in Education (ACCE), a past president of the Queensland Society for Information Technology in Education (QSITE), an editor of the Australian Educational Computing (AEC) journal, and president of the Australian College of Educators (Gold Coast region). Way to go Jason!

This is Stemiverse Podcast episode 35.


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

Show Notes

[00:00] Introduction - Introducing Dr Jason Zagami
[04:43] Jason talks about his background, what brought him to STEM Education as well as his current research
[06:10] Jason's PhD thesis: How students can best learn Computer Programming Languages
[06:51] Brain science research: EEG Headsets and how to implement them into classrooms

  • [07:41] How the EEG Headsets work
  • [10:30] Measuring activity in the brain to see if students are learning
  • [11:42] Analysing signals
  • [12:15] Why use an aggregate instead of an individual process to provide information to the teacher?
  • [13:30] How are the analytics being displayed to the teachers?
  • [13:53] How many channels are there per student?

[14:13] Ethical aspects around the use of this research

[14:36] Range of practical application of this technology: In teacher education as well as other fields

[15:23] Long-term goal: Developing patterns of expected brainwave signals according to certain cognitive abilities

[17:18] Automation of teaching and a prototype Nao robot that recognizes the students and directs specific questions to them according to their strengths and weaknesses

[19:40] How does Jason build up the student profile, what does he program it in and what is the minimum capability of the robot to make it a viable replacement of a teacher?

[22:22] Pedagogical implications of having a robot deliver a lesson

[27:20] Developments in the area of VR, AR and Virtual Worlds

[28:47] Why has VR failed in the past?

[30:16] What about AR like Google Glass? The need for a mainstream application to help the technology advance

[31:31] Does Education really need all this new technology?

[32:39] Education must keep up with the way the society changes and that includes emerging technologies

[34:13] Learning through manipulatives - Why do we need robots?

[36:30] Examples of manipulatives: LEGO, Raspberry Pi and Arduino Kits

[37:33] Marketing hype in STEM Education

[39:07] Overcoming the entry barriers of Raspberry Pi and Arduino

[40:26] How to teach or skill up the teachers in something as complex as Raspberry Pi and Arduino?

[42:23] Companies' like LEGO's engagement with Education - LEGO Mindstorms - VEX Robotics

[44:23] Jason's concern regarding our preoccupation with robots: Robots are useless for problem solving

[45:44] Game-Based Learning: Alice, Scratch

[47:34] The genre of Computer Game Narrative as a Literature Art Form

[48:32] Universe Sandbox

[49:23] Secondary World Development

[49:57] What can we do to get more girls into STEM? The issue of peer pressure among adolescent girls

[54:27] Societal issues that reduce female participation in computing

[58:25] With more "personal" technologies will there be a change in the ratios of female/male participation in computing?

[59:44] Are difficulties with abstract thinking an issue of a particular age group in females? Genetic disposition or learned behaviour during child development?

[01:01:42] How can parents support their daughters in developing abstract thinking?

[01:03:10] Consumption vs making between the two genders

[01:05:29] Reading recommendations: Mindstorms: Children, Computers, And Powerful Ideas, by Seymour Papert

[01:08:04] Jason's Contact Information: Website

[01:08:41] Jason's MOOC Digital Technologies for teachers