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Episode two transcript

The Virtual Staffroom Podcast

Episode 2 – Eddie Woo + EdTECH = Magic

Joachim Cohen:

Welcome to the Virtual Staff Room, a podcast made for teachers by teachers and all with a dash of educational technology thrown in. My name is Joachim Cohen, your host - an edtech lover, a former secondary school teacher and I am lucky enough today to be joined by two other members of the Technology For Learning team, Yvette and Linda. Yvette is a high school teacher and the author of over 40 books for children and young people. Yvette, it's time to put down that iPad. We have a podcast to produce.

Yvette:

Done. Hi everyone.

Joachim Cohen:

Linda, the head honcho of our stem.T4L program here in New South Wales, is a former school leader and teacher. Linda, are you feeling STEMtastic today?

Linda:

Every single day. Hi.

Joachim Cohen:

So what's in store everyone? Well, this is episode two. So if you listened last time, you know we've tried to divide this podcast up like your school day. We start the day with assembly, where we tune into some heartwarming stories from around the grounds, make our way to roll call to connect you with some resources and learning that have caught our eye. Then we catch up with a special guest at lunch, and I can tell you, we have a YouTube star today, and answer your questions in playground duty before we talk, all things awesome in carpark chat. But let's get started. The clock is ticking. We've left the staff room. We're on our way to assembly and like real assemblies, it's time to share stories from around the traps, global, local, maybe intergalactical, well, though maybe not today, that inspire with the creative and awesome use of tech. Yvette.

Yvette:

Okay, let's start local. I've got a couple of cool school stories. I just want to say hello to Toormina High School who have been doing something very cool with telepresence robots. If you haven't seen these robots that are out there, that are finding their way across New South Wales Public Schools, they are remote learning devices, but they're actually robots on wheels and students who can't attend school in person can actually attend school in the guise of this robot so it actually allows them to step outside of wherever they may be. It's great for students who can't attend if they've got illness or anxiety or lots of different other issues that prevent them from being in the classroom, but at Toormina High School, just want to give a shout out to those guys who the students are using it and actually one student has tried it out. One student was feeling particularly anxious and so instead of checking out their classroom, they sent the telepresence robot to go and check out the situation, found that it was okay, then joined the class.

Yvette:

So well done to the teachers and students up there on the North Coast and a quick roundup from Punchbowl Boys' High School who've just set up a robotics club and they've done something very sweet. They've been 3D printing and designing customised name tags for health workers so it's a real response to what's happening out there and they're just getting involved with the community and showing their support. So well done, Punchbowl Boys'.

Joachim Cohen:

Wow, Yvette, these are two stories of tech being used for good. They're unbelievable and those people who don't know what telepresence is, is it like that Sheldon that I've seen on the Big Bang Theory coming on that iPad on a stick?

Yvette:

Mm-hmm (affirmative). It's really happening out there and it's funny. It's amusing. But at the heart of it, it's actually very powerful and we've been testing them out here in our office. We've seen them. But I think they're actually going to be a big part of our future.

Joachim Cohen:

Oh, thanks for sharing that. That really warms my heart, I can tell you. And mine's going a little bit global, so I'm moving away from the local. And I read a story of a student in America. His name is Arjun and he's pretty unbelievable. He started these online courses that he was doing from year 8, just for fun. Okay. So he does his regular schooling and then he thought, "Well, I kind of want to learn a little bit more about maybe something to do with the law or maybe something to do with biology." And he went online and did some online courses to start to build his knowledge because I think a lot of people think that learning isn't fun, but for Arjun, unlike most of us, learning is fun and can become a lifelong habit.

Linda:

How old is he, Joe?

Joachim Cohen:

Look, he's now in college so in a college for America is a bit like a university so he's moved on to that stage, but he still does it. Even though he's studying engineering at university, he actually takes courses in things like legal studies or the law to find out how those different aspects can tie together. So I found it amazing because this idea of micro-credentialing, dipping your toe in the water and finding to see if you may be actually interested in something new is a really great way to experiment and start to find out if another career might be right for you. So I did a bit of searching to find out if there were some micro-credentialing places that you could go online and I found something called edX. So they have these things called MicroMasters because a masters for me, I go, "Uh-uh (negative). I just can't do it. That's too long."

Yvette:

That sounds about right for me. A MicroMasters is what I need. Yeah, love it.

Joachim Cohen:

You got it. Absolutely. It's so short. It's 10 months, two hours a week. They're from leading universities, like the University of Michigan, the University of Queensland and they actually give you credit that puts on towards a real masters if you wanted to do it. So I really encourage people to go and take a look at something like edX. The one I found was on leading educational innovation and improvement, and that was from the University of Michigan, but there's other ones like how to build a future city from universities all across the world. So something great to do with your spare time because learning is not a chore. Lifelong learning can be an awesome habit.

Linda:

It's almost the time of year where we've got students across the state and across the country thinking about what they want to do next. And it seems like a really big idea to choose a degree and commit to a three year or four year commitment. So getting kids to dabble in what they might be interested at that micro level is far less risky and probably a whole lot cheaper than a uni degree potentially.

Joachim Cohen:

Oh, you got it. And I think employers are starting to realise those qualifications and recognise them a lot more quickly. So Linda, what have you been finding?

Linda:

Well, even though this week is science week, but kind of every week in New South Wales schools is science week. Thank goodness. I stumbled across a website called the Australian Citizens Science Association Project Finder. So you can go on there either in your spare time or with your class potentially to find a project in your area that can really build their community and citizen science skills. And I often talk, Yvette, and I had a chat earlier this week about all of the things that children need to solve, climate change, and now global pandemic and the weight's kind of on their shoulders a bit, but doing something tangible that seems simple but they're actually participating in solving some problems and you can go on there. You can find a little project to do in your area. I found one on bush turkeys because they are rife in my area and kids can go on an app when they see them to help curate that data.

Yvette:

So it's like a data collection that they can fill with their community to work towards something in particular.

Linda:

Yeah. And there's lots actually at the moment down south and up north with bushfire regeneration, they're looking for plant life and when that's kind of reviving. So jump onto Project Finder and have a look at that.

Joachim Cohen:

My gosh. Local, global and national, we've covered it all today. Tick tock. Tick tock. Life is a little like roll call and there is so little time and so much to discover so what we've done is we've done the hard work for you. Linda, have you got some awesome resources you've discovered this week or some PL that you've enrolled in?

Linda:

Yes. I have. This is a resource, not professional learning, depending on how you look at it. Khan Academy has this Imagineering in a Box project with Disneyland because all of the Disneylands across the world are obviously closed as our holidays for right now. So there's a self-paced program where students can design their own theme park. It's-

Yvette:

Oh my gosh, there was a game I used to play as a kid called 'Theme Park' and you built... Did you play that, Joe?

Joachim Cohen:

Oh my God.

Yvette:

You strike me as somebody that played that and 'Sim City'.

Joachim Cohen:

Yes.

Yvette:

Yeah. I could get into this Linda.

Joachim Cohen:

I'm so excited.

Linda:

I think this would be also a really great little side passion project for kids to work on because they can run it at their own pace. And like you were saying with micro-credentialing, there's actually learning that takes place when they think they're not learning so maybe for the students that aren't lovers of learning, it's kind of false learning.

Yvette:

Oh, it's hidden learning, hidden learning journey. Well, I love this idea. I mean, what's that? Engineering, it's business administration, producing their own happiest places on earth, I guess. So. Yeah. I love that, given that we can't be in those places right now.

Joachim Cohen:

And they're the places we want to be. They're the places that really grow students minds and build their imagination. I think that is fantastic.

Linda:

What have you found, Joe?

Joachim Cohen:

Well, great question, Linda. I've been exploring this thing called a digital twin. And I've been looking at VR and how you can use VR to recreate spaces so I was doing a bit of a Googling about digital twin and I came across that New South Wales has a digital twin. So if you think of a map of New South Wales that you can overlay all this amazing data onto. Now, you all know I'm a bit of a transport geek so I've overlaid all the buses in New South Wales so I can see them and then you can overlay 3D models so overlayed a 3D model of Brookvale Bus Interchange so I can physically see the buses moving in and out as if I was there, find out how fast they're going, how many people are on board, but it gets bigger. There's pollution data. There's traffic data. And I'm so inspired because I think that you could use this as the most awesome tool for students. Go on. Check it out. See if you can find a problem to solve.

Yvette:

It's a really interesting fine line because you've got all this big data happening that we can now track, that students will grow up in this world of knowing everything about their world. So yeah, I think there's always going to be a tension there, like for me as a grown up, it's like, "But hang on. That's data that's freely available. What does that say about us, that we're just out there, everything's available? What else does big data know about me?" But in terms of learning, this is an incredible tool, just had a quick squiz at it.

Joachim Cohen:

Yeah. It's really interesting. Isn't it? I agree with you there. It's about data for good going back to tech for good. And you think about, "Well, how do they know that bus is full?" It's all to do with our Opal cards tapping on and tapping off. So yeah.

Yvette:

I haven't used my Opal card in a while. Hopefully one day, again, I will.

Joachim Cohen:

Well, what have you found?

Yvette:

Mine's a bit low-fi compared to yours, but it's an incredibly useful tool. I'm just going to give a quick wrap on the HSC hub, which is a department project, and as a former HSC teacher, I think you sort of have this tension of having FOMO this year if you're not teaching HSC. Also, that comes without having to do all the marking, but also having a bit of distance now to look at the incredible resources out there that weren't available a few years ago. And particularly this year, with the students feeling the way they are and the teachers too, I just want to push everyone towards looking at the HSC hub online. HSC central has incredible amounts of resources. I had a quick look at the English resources. They're incredibly comprehensive.

Yvette:

Teachers should know there are lots and lots of videos for each module to unpack where actually experts are unpacking exemplars. So if you feel like your students might need that extra hit because many of them have just finished their trials, this is a great time to get acquainted with those resources. I'm sure you know about them, but there are new things being added all the time for each subject. So please go check it out. It's on the portal.

Joachim Cohen:

I thought that was amazing, Yvette, because I'd checked the business studies ones out and found them to be great too. And I know they're kind of designed for students, but do you think it's a flipped learning tool?

Yvette:

I definitely think so. I think, as a teacher, particularly in this time, if you're going to need other networks to rely on or share ideas with, if you haven't been able to get out there to do community meetings or catch ups with your peers, this is a great... I would be using it as a teacher as well and showing it to my students. It is a great student resource, but I think, as a teacher, there's heaps out there.

Joachim Cohen:

Amazing. Thanks Yvette. Oh, I think it's time to grab a snack. It's lunchtime and we're here at T4L HQ, are diving into some warm coffees, except here of course, for Linda. Now they are robot-made and I have to say, that does bring up a topic, robot coffee or barista coffee, Yvette, Linda?

Yvette:

I'm not quite ready to jump into the future of robot coffee yet, but if you can create a good enough coding program to get the way I want my coffee, sure. Are we there yet, Joe?

Joachim Cohen:

Podcast listeners, it sounds like I've been challenged to go and create the barista robot. I take that challenge, Yvette. Absolutely. I might get some student help us as well.

Yvette:

A cup of tea, all you need is a teabag, Linda. There's nothing happening there anyway.

Linda:

Well, as you said, I'm a neither, which is so boring.

Joachim Cohen:

Oh, but lunch is not just about froth and caffeine. We need a guest to spice things up a little bit like a chai latte. So now, we are very lucky to be joined today by none other than the Eddie Woo. Now you might've seen him on ABC TV, perhaps his amazing YouTube channel, Wootube, or read his latest book, Eddie Woo's Magical Maths 2. But not only that, he's a mathematics teacher at Cherrybrook Technology High School and also leader, mathematics growth. Eddie, the algorithms to manage your time table must be very complex, but nothing you can't handle. Welcome Eddie.

Eddie Woo:

Thank you so much for having me on guys.

Joachim Cohen:

It is amazing to have you here. Thank you for making the time to chat in your hugely busy schedule. So on that, we want you to tell us about what you're currently up to and what your typical day looks like.

Eddie Woo:

It's really funny that you should ask that because I don't really have much of what you would call a typical day. I have a look at my schedule sometimes, and it's a bit of a Rubik's cube of different meetings and lessons and different opportunities to do all kinds of things to help people learn and to love mathematics. But to try and give you the closest, maybe what I would call an average day, if you took all the weird, crazy things and average them out, the first thing, first and foremost, is that I'm still a mathematics teacher at Cherrybrook Technology High School, and that's the heart of who I am in my work and so I feel very fortunate that even though I wear many other hats, I get to still be in the classroom, interacting with students all the time so I'm very, very fortunate and thankful for that. But in addition to that, I have a couple of other roles. I support statewide professional learning for mathematics teachers for the Department of Education so I do a lot of work in regional and remote areas.

Eddie Woo:

Because of COVID, we're doing a lot of that virtually, but it's still great to work with teachers out in spaces like that. And then there's a few other little bits and pieces. I'm still always on the side, writing a book here or there. I'm very excited that the children's show with the ABC that we've been working on for the last few months is finally coming out, Teenage Boss Season 2, at the end of August so that's really great.

Joachim Cohen:

Wow.

Yvette:

August. Okay.

Eddie Woo:

And then, yeah, lots of other random bits and pieces. So for instance, we haven't published anything yet, but I did this great little piece with the Sydney Opera House about the mathematics of its design and architecture, pretty cool stuff that we're very excited to get out there. So as you can see, I have a very varied kind of life, but I'm really enjoying that.

Yvette:

Eddie, here's a random one for you. You think your life is a bit random with all the projects you've got on. Here's my random question, what is your favorite number and why?

Eddie Woo:

Well, for someone like me, I feel as though it's not a hundred percent random and that, in fact, is quite funny. It's a question I get asked all the time. I'm going to go with the number nine. Nine's a wonderful number. I think that one of the first times we all interact with numbers is with times tables and one of the cool things about the times tables for the nines is that the digits always add up to nine. Think about it, 18, 27, 36, 45, they always add up to nine, which a lot of people are like, "What? I had no idea about that." And as the number gets bigger...

Linda:

Eddie, you are breaking news with Joe and Yvette right now I have to say

Eddie Woo:

Yeah. Sorry. Have I just blown your mind?

Yvette:

Yes.

Eddie Woo:

All of the multiples of nine, the digits always add up to a multiple of nine so that's kind of a cool little fact that I love to keep in my back pocket.

Yvette:

Cool. Thank you.

Linda:

And now Eddie, I have a question on the back of that. So you've got a new book that's coming out, what's it all about? And what do you hope it inspires in our next generation of kids?

Eddie Woo:

Yeah. Thanks for asking. My new book is Eddie Woo's Magical Maths 2. I went with the fast and furious naming convention because I thought, "You know what? If it ain't broke, don't fix it." So Eddie Woo's Magical Maths The Original was kind of built out of all these people who read my first book and said, "I'd love my kids to interact with this, particularly younger children." I'm a high school mathematics teacher so I kind of pitched my first book at age 15 and funnily enough, that actually makes it very suitable for adults who have mostly forgotten most of their mathematics in the school.

Eddie Woo:

But I'm very conscious of the fact that when it comes to our attitude toward mathematics, our mindset about it, that starts really early. It starts as soon as we can read and write and so Eddie Woo's Magical Maths is a bunch of fun activities and puzzles and lots of creativity in mathematics that's sort of aimed at age 7+, maybe around primary school age. So I'm hoping you ask, what am I going to try and achieve with it? I'm hoping it broadens people's thought about what mathematics is. It's not just something about crunching numbers. It's something where we can explore. It's not just something you do it because you have to do it. It's something you do because it's fun to actually play around these puzzles and games.

Joachim Cohen:

Wow. This sounds really exciting and something that's going to change the way people view maths, which is fantastic. And I guess that brings us to our next question as well, because maths is often viewed as a standalone, but when you think of maths and technology, Eddie, is it like oil and water or is it like flowers and fertiliser?

Eddie Woo:

Oh, this is... Wow. I'm all about metaphors. So I just got to say before I answer, I love this question. I think, like you pointed out, mathematics often is viewed kind of out on its own. It's certainly a very different subject to every other key learning area that we learned in school. But that being said, I mean, especially because of my work in, STEM, Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, and seeing them all together, I think I have to go for option 2, flowers and fertiliser. But the more I think about it, I kind of wonder if... When it comes to flowers and fertilizer, I think sometimes math is the fertiliser. All of the technology we have in the modern world, this phone that I have in my pocket, it's built on top of a mathematical foundation.

Eddie Woo:

So math is the fertiliser that lets the flower of technology grow, but it kind of also really works in the other direction too, because so much of what we do now in mathematics is actually based on what technology allows us to do. So the humble little scientific calculator that most high school students just kind of take for granted is something which is standard issue in a maths class. I think we often forget that 20, 30 years ago, we didn't have ready access to technology like that so the kind of mathematics that we did was very different because we couldn't compute or calculate those difficult, challenging things with trigonometry or calculus. So in that way, technology is the fertiliser and maths is the flower. So it is kind of like a nice symbiotic relationship there.

Yvette:

Just a big question for you, Eddie, for this morning, what do you think the big challenge ahead is for education at the moment?

Eddie Woo:

Obviously, education faces a lot of challenges at a moment like this and just talking about technology before, I think that one of the things which remote learning has taught us is this quote I once heard which is, "The future is already here. It's just not evenly distributed." One of the things that's really striking is that some schools, as they transition to remote learning, they might have had 90 or 95% of their kids who had reliable access to the internet, a device that they could have to themselves rather than having to share that with a family member and that was amazing that many schools had access to that. But like I said before, because I work with a lot of schools in regional areas, that's certainly not always the case. And so I guess, to sum all that up into one word, I think the biggest challenge is equity, particularly in a country like ours where everyone is so geographically spread out, this is a challenge which we've always faced historically, but I think we still have a lot of work to do and a lot of progress to make.

Linda:

Absolutely. So Eddie, what advice would you have for beginning teachers about how they can get their students curious to learn about the power of maths?

Eddie Woo:

When I think about myself as a beginning teacher, I remember the first time I had to interact with it and learn about the professional standards for teachers and anyone who's early in career is very familiar with trying to build their portfolio and show how they meet all the standards and could be accredited as proficient. And one of the things which always struck me was that we know all teachers need to know content and how to teach it, but that's not the most important of the seven standards, that's standard number two. Standard number one, the most important standard upon which everything else is built is not know content and how to teach it, it's know students and how they learn.

Eddie Woo:

So in terms of the question you asked, I always feel like it comes back to relationship and understanding who our students are really well. What makes them tick? How can I take my key learning area, whether it's mathematics or English or history or drama and how can I make sure it has a real world connection to their life that actually adds value to what they are trying to do every day and where they see themselves in the future? So that takes a lot of individual relational work, but I kind of feel like it doesn't matter what other fancy engaging techniques or strategies you have, if you don't know the students, none of them will work.

Joachim Cohen:

Oh, Eddie, I've got a warm, fuzzy feeling going all over me at the moment. I tell you, I wish you were my maths teacher when I was back in school because it would have inspired me to really continue on and we want to bring up something really exciting. You just showed us your amazing plaque, which says that you are... what are we going to call it? The Golden Play Button which shows that you've reached...

Eddie Woo:

Yes, that's the one.

Joachim Cohen:

You're a million, a million viewers on Wootube. Wow. Congratulations.

Linda:

Subscribers?

Joachim Cohen:

Subscribers. Way more than a million viewers.

Yvette:

More precious.

Joachim Cohen:

Yes.

Eddie Woo:

It's bananas. Yeah. Even as someone who interacts with numbers all day long, it's still a number that just boggles my mind so it is pretty crazy to think about.

Joachim Cohen:

Oh, so we want to know, and I think this is going to be on every one of our listeners' minds, what would be your top tech tip for teachers to help them create some awesome videos for their students to inspire them?

Eddie Woo:

That's a wonderful question. I think that one of the questions I get frequently and especially this year is, "Eddie, can you tell us about your setup? What's all of your gear? Can you tell us the best equipment to do this or that?" And those are all really helpful questions to ask, especially we've all been kind of grabbing for every Officeworks, and like JB Hi-Fi around the country has run out of webcams because we're all trying to adapt to all the new needs of remote learning.

Eddie Woo:

But the thing that I would say is that even though technology, the actual hardware and software that we use really is an enabler, I view it as very much in the background. If I had to give a top tech tip, I would say it's actually not about the technology at all. When I started out my YouTube channel, this is seven, eight years ago now, I literally just did it with the phone in my pocket. And back then, it had the resolution of a potato and the sound quality was awful, but what really mattered was, I was using that technology to try and reach students and whatever kind of I had at my disposal and that's why I turned to YouTube because it was the easiest way to get lots and lots of footage because I was filming every lesson every day and making that easily accessible to my students.

Eddie Woo:

I would encourage every teacher out there who's thinking about how to use technology in innovative ways to go back to what makes great teaching and learning, like a simple thing. I talked about drama before. I studied four years of drama at school and one of the key things I learned is that every great story has three parts. It's got three acts. You have to set up. There's got to be conflict and then there's resolution. If you don't set it up, no one cares. No one's like, "Well, why should I be interested in these characters?" If there's no conflict, then there's no tension. There's no thing driving forward like, "Why do I want to know how this is resolved?" And if there's no resolution, then you leave confused and dissatisfied with where that story has gone and I think all teaching and learning is exactly the same.

Eddie Woo:

We need to have a hook that connects people in and say, "Oh, okay, this seven, eight minute video, why should I want to watch past the first 30 seconds? I have to be shown a reason why this is perplexing and I should wrestle with it and put the mental time and effort into understanding this." And then you want to get to the end of whatever technological results we provide to our students and say, "Ah, okay, it clicks. It makes sense. My brain is fit together in a new way. I'm excited and equipped to learn the next thing." And all of that is stuff which is kind of around the technology and enables however we use technology to be effective for students' learning. So I think that's the encouragement I would give to teachers out there.

Joachim Cohen:

Eddie, that is the most amazing message and one thing that I think everyone can take away, don't let technology get in the road, that is for sure of great teaching so it can be a great enabler though. You are an inspiration. You use it as an enabler like we encourage every one of our teachers to do, but we've got to head out to playground duty so we're going to have to let you go. Thank you so much.

Eddie Woo:

No worries, guys. Thank you so much for your time, really enjoyed chatting. Hope the tips are useful for teachers everywhere.

Joachim Cohen:

Thanks Eddie. Bye. Sunscreen on, floppy hat at the ready, it's time for playground duty. Nope. There is no oval duty here, but we did get the chance to answer some of your questions. Now, this week we've had one of our listeners email in with a question about robotics by stage. So thinking of a digital technologies or robotics continuum, Linda you're our STEMtastic teacher, tell us what would you recommend?

Linda:

Well, whilst I have recommendations, I know that every great teacher on here knows that things aren't always hard and fast with learning and you've got to move things around to suit students, but for us with STEM, our recommendations would be to use Blue-Bots for K and1, ozobots for 1 and 2, our little Dash for 3 and 4, and EV3s for 5 to kind of 9, 10, but very much flexible and there's no hard and fast rules.

Joachim Cohen:

Yeah. I was actually taking a look at the syllabus and I found out that it's kind of graphical before you go to secondary school and then you have to go text-based when you go into secondary school. And I agree with you. There's so much flexibility because all these tools can really be made to apply no matter which stage you choose. And I thought, "I'm going to take this a bit differently and I'm going to jump online." And I found that there's something called the iRobot Code platform online, and you can actually change the level. So what you can do is go, yeah, one, where it's graphical and image-based; two, where it's text and block-based; and three, where you can actually go in and adjust the text. So I thought, "Well, actually you can probably make do just with one robot and I think the Ozobot does this as well, but change the level for different students as they develop their capacity." So yeah, maybe it's more about thinking about what you need your students to be doing rather than the tool that you're using.

Yvette:

Cool. And if you need any consolidated information, head to the robotics issue of magazine.T4L where we cover off a lot of these things, and we've got lots of STEM leaders from the T4L team, giving us their input on how they've used those robots in the classroom along with some of their fave activities. So if you just need some ideas, we've also covered a bit of virtual coding as well, Joe.

Joachim Cohen:

Oh, what a great resource. Absolutely, go and find that one, particularly to our listener who dialed in with that question. Okay. I think it's time to move on. Now, we're almost out of time today, but we can just squeeze in some time at the car park on our way out, time to chat all the things we have been loving and I am so excited to start us out today. Now, people last time know that I really enjoy and I'm excited about designing cars, but I also like, if you didn't know, small things like tiny houses, so I've managed to push those two together in a great new YouTube channel and playlist that I'm following by CampingCarJoa.

Joachim Cohen:

Now she's actually... And it's not my name, Joa, I know that's the start of my name. But she's from Japan. She's unbelievable. And she's got a playlist on Kei car campers. For those of you don't know what a Kei car is, they are ultra mini, so think of a Daihatsu Charade for those of us here in Australia or smaller.

Yvette:

That's small.

Joachim Cohen:

Smaller than that. They have to be less than 3.4 metres long, less than 1.48 metres wide, shorter than 2 metres so they can fit in those tiny Japanese car parks and the engines have to be 660cc or less and they're usually three cylinders and then you put a camper on the back.

Yvette:

Is that like a lawn mower camping mobile?

Joachim Cohen:

I think it is. It might go that fast too. But they're so cool and so dinky and so creative because they have to fit all those small things and inside one camper.

Yvette:

So those...

Linda:

So these campers... Oh, sorry, Yvette.

Yvette:

Sorry, Linda.

Linda:

That sounds to me like a single person holiday, not a family holiday in this camper. Am I right?

Joachim Cohen:

Well, they do have up to four people sleeping inside these campers. It's very creative. I can tell you, it might be a very close... Yeah.

Yvette:

It's crazy.

Joachim Cohen:

Close family holiday.

Yvette:

Well, Joe, look, I know you love your cars and also I learned the term 'avgeek' in the last podcast, aviation geek, guys. And I do have a present for you today.

Joachim Cohen:

What?

Yvette:

It only cost me 4,350 Qantas frequent flyer points...

Joachim Cohen:

Oh my God.

Yvette:

Which, let's face it, I'm not going to be using at the moment, and I took the time out to get you this very special gift, which will recreate the flying journey for you at home.

Joachim Cohen:

Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh.

Yvette:

It's the Qantas 'Blue Care' pack. Basically, Qantas has got so many frequent flyer... No, not frequent flyer points, but they haven't got any first class passengers right now. It's a problem for them so I'm bringing first class to you, Joe.

Joachim Cohen:

I'm speechless. You telling me, I've never flown first class before, but I've always dreamed of it. My God, the amenity kit.

Yvette:

You've got the PJs. You've got the smoked almonds.

Joachim Cohen:

Oh my Lord.

Yvette:

You've got the Tim Tams. I think there's quite a few Tim Tams in there.

Joachim Cohen:

Oh my God.

Yvette:

You're paying quite a lot for first class.

Joachim Cohen:

Sorry.

Yvette:

So Joe, kick back, relax, recline your seat all the way or get into bed and have some of those.

Joachim Cohen:

I am so excited. Wow, Yvette, thank you so much. This is unbelievable. The experiences that we can get even throughout COVID, this is unbelievable.

Linda:

And all it takes is four and a half thousand Qantas points.

Yvette:

I know. Can you believe I opened up a frequent flyer account just to purchase those? And I thought for the last 25 years, I should have actually had frequent flyers and now I can't go anywhere.

Joachim Cohen:

I am honoured. Thank you, Yvette.

Yvette:

That's my pleasure, Joe. Enjoy the avgeekness that is your life.

Joachim Cohen:

I can tell you, I will. And Linda, what have you been doing this week?

Linda:

Well, now, I'm looking forward to my gift which must be next week so I'll just wait for that.

Yvette:

Oh. I hear you.

Linda:

I have another podcast. I feel like there's a theme with Joe and I finding similar things. I have a podcast called Desert Island Discs. It's from BBC Radio 4 and it started, I discovered, in 1942. I haven't been listening to it for that long, but what it is, is they find a person of interest. No, I'm not going to say celebrity, just someone of interest in the UK normally, and they choose their eight favourite tracks of all time, a book and a luxury item and they talk through kind of their life journey and what they'd pick to go on a desert island and it is a real easy listen, when you're going for a walk or if you're trying to go to sleep or God knows how, but Desert Island is highly recommended.

Yvette:

Have you thought what you would take on a desert island, Linda, or is that one for us to return to? Favorite muso, favourite album?

Linda:

No, I haven't thought about it.

Yvette:

Favorite object?

Linda:

I listen to this podcast all the time and I really don't know what I would take so...

Yvette:

Okay, so that's one for all of us. That's homework.

Joachim Cohen:

I think we've got the start of our next podcast, listeners, absolutely. Desert Island Discs meets the Virtual Staff Room. Oh my gosh. But I think are we running out of time? Did you have any else you want to share, Yvette?

Yvette:

Are we moving into homework?

Joachim Cohen:

I think we're moving into homework. All right. Now, don't tune out listeners, sit back at those desks, get those notebooks back out, those diaries back out. We have got some homework for you. Now, how did you go with your homework from last week? Did you do something new? Linda challenged you to move a piece of furniture. I said to use a new piece of tech.

Yvette:

I challenged myself to move myself, which was getting out from behind the home office desk and turning out the lights and I'm just going to tell you a little bit about it. No lights, no Lycra. Sydney people might know about this, but if you need a good reason to dance in the comfort of your own home with the music pumped up, the lights off so no one can see you dancing, no lights, no Lycra. Look it up, there might be one near you, but you can also do it at home and it really helped move my body when I'm so sedentary at the desk at the moment.

Joachim Cohen:

Sounds amazing. Linda, what are you going to challenge people to do?

Linda:

Mine's a real simple one. I would recommend you follow Action for Happiness on Twitter, a very easy, very visual way to kind of make yourself feel a bit more positive as the days go on.

Joachim Cohen:

Oh, these are lovely things to do. And mine kind of puts that all together as well. I'm encouraging people to go and do a bit of mindfulness and meditation and there's a great LinkedIn Learning course that I found called The Mindful Workday so go and check it out. So I'm watching the clock. The final bell, it's rung. Yvette and Linda, I think we might be getting the hang of this. Do I need coffee and donuts to lure you back next week?

Yvette:

Yes.

Joachim Cohen:

Okay. All right. I have to. You were supposed to say no.

Yvette:

No. I just realised that after you said that. Actually now, all I can think about is coffee and donuts.

Joachim Cohen:

It'll be robot made, so you may not want it. Indeed. Indeed, I'll get it for you, but a huge thanks to our production team as well. This podcast is produced by the ever patient and so talented Jacob Druce with the assistance of the amazing Heather Thomson. Stay compassionate, everyone. Thanks for joining us. Make sure you send us through your comments, your questions for playground duty and your thoughts for new guests and segments. And we look forward to seeing you in the next episode of the Virtual Staff Room. And a big P.S., don't forget to subscribe and share this with your colleagues and we're serious about the comments. We want to make it even more awesome for you.