Welcome to Stemiverse Podcast episode 48.

In this episode, Peter talks with Kurt Yang.

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.

Kurt grew up in China and settled down in Sydney after completing his Commerce degree at Macquarie University. He then commenced his banking career in CBA shortly after graduation while completing his Master of Applied Finance at Macquarie University.

During the 8.5 years Kurt worked in CBA, he gradually developed an enormous passion for technology innovation and product management. That led him to join Cuscal and help implement Android Pay and Apple Pay digital wallet solutions for 30-40 domestic banks and credit unions across Australia.

After the successful launch of these two products, Kurt moved onto an exciting new challenge, which is the development of Actura’s FlipRobot. Kurt is determined to make a difference in the STEAM education industry by creating accessible and affordable educational robotic learning solutions with a solid curriculum and teaching implementation support.

This is Stemiverse Podcast episode 48.

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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 Kurt Yang
[02:14] Peter and Marcus talk about haircuts, secret projects, and EduTech; they welcome Kurt Yang, Actura's Product Manager, who works on a STEAM Education solution called FlipRobot
[04:11] Kurt talks about his background, his childhood in China, his studies and the University of Technology in Auckland, and his journey towards the education space, where he is building products for educators
[11:22] The Small Business Management course at the University of Auckland
[14:17] Kurt goes to Sydney and discovers his love for education and the joys of sharing
[16:06] Kurt's professional career life after graduation, working at CommSec, witnessing the devastating after-effects of the Global Financial Crisis and his shift into technology when he took on the role of Institutional Account Manager for CommSec's White Label Solution
[20:01] A restored love for learning - Working with Apple Pay
[24:04] Being the Product Manager of Actura, a STEAM-focused company
[25:55] Actura's space program and visits to the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Alabama
[28:50] Parents interested in attending the Space School can visit actura.com.au for more info
[31:54] Why do we need another STEM robot? Creating the curriculum first, designed by California Association for STEAM Education (CASE), and the technology second
[36:51] Localization of the curriculum according to the Australian standards
[37:51] Why are robots dominating education? Feedback and interaction
[41:59] What are the attributes of a good educational robot? Open-source and flexible enough to foster a student's creativity
[44:10] What is open-source software and hardware?
[47:36] About the FlipRobot and Actura's focus on the educational aspect
[51:06] Actura's revenue model and scaling plan
[54:42] Humanoid robots at EduTech and study assistants
[57:11] How was the EduTech experience for Kurt?
[58:48] Rapid Fire Questions
[58:52] Who has been the most influential person in Kurt's life?
[01:00:40] What app can Kurt not live without? Outlook
[01:01:28] iPhone or Android?
[01:02:01] Kurt's Programming language of choice
[01:03:46] Parting thoughts, dos and don'ts
[01:07:23] Kurt's Contact Information: Email, Linkedin, Twitter: @Rocketman_KY