Dr Zagami has been fortunate to have been inspired and mentored by many outstanding individuals, and wishes to acknowledge these key influences.
Mr Edwards was Dr Zagami's year 7 teacher. He provided a rich learning environment that enabled Dr Zagami to develop his own educational interests and passions. Mr Edwards went well beyond what was expected of a teacher, organising regular field trips throughout the Gold Coast and hinterland, expanding the curriculum to include a wide variety of diverse topics from carpentry and car mechanics to publicly performed dramatic plays, and generally emphasising the joy of learning for the sake of learning.
Chris Pitfield was Dr Zagami's high school Physics and Mathematics teacher. Her teaching was exceptionally engaging and based around open projects each semester. Dr Zagami's projects included a robot arm soldered directly to the motherboard of his Vic20 computer, a 4m wave motion tank for generating and displaying refraction patterns, and a traffic speed camera using photovoltaic's and lots of cable. Projects knocked back included a 6m hydrogen filled V1 rocket to take aerial photos over the school and a simulated nuclear explosion on a 1/10000 scale model of Brisbane to determine the effect of local terrain on an atomic blast... well before the internet, plans for creating simulated nuclear blast mushroom clouds with household ingredients and a little gunpowder were available in school libraries. Christine Pitfield's approach to project based learning hugely influenced Dr Zagami's teaching in schools, and continues to greatly influence his passion for PBL as he tries to impart this passion to all teachers.
Astronaut and Teacher Christa McAuliffe died in the 1986 Space Shuttle Challenger disaster. She did however highlight the impact that teachers can have, and Christa's example influenced Dr Zagami to persue a career in education.
Michelle was Dr Zagami's first ICT education lecturer in his GradDipEd. Her laid back and practical style, focused on student learning as opposed to teaching, has influenced Dr Zagami ever since. Deeply involved in professional associations, Michelle co-opted students as indentured labour to stuff conference bags and staff registration desks for conferences while teaching the value of professional lifelong learning. Throughout Dr Zagami's formative years as a beginning teacher, Michelle guided his development as an ICT educator and continues to inspire with her enthusiasm, energy and ruthless attitude that if a job needs doing, you should be helping to do it.
Adjunct Professor Margaret Lloyd was Dr Zagami's associate, co, and then principal supervisor for his doctoral studies. Margaret provided ongoing encouragement and detailed editing, but most importantly, allowed Dr Zagami the freedom to explore new ideas and methodologies. She continues to inspire Dr Zagami with her passion for ICT education and the creativity she brings to discussions and research.
Professor Allan Luke led fortnightly afternoon workshops on research during Dr Zagami's doctoral studies. Allan inspired a deep appreciation of what it means to be a world class researcher, challenging convention, and exploring the underlying issues in education and educational research. Workshops unpacked Dewey, Bourdieu and many others, repacking them, and unpacked them again and again in increasingly minute detail, brought alive by Allan's frequent personal anecdotes and digressions.
Professor Emeritus Glenn Finger mentored Dr Zagami's entry into academia. As Glenn was promoted, Dr Zagami undertook his courses while in turn Glenn guided him through the complexities of university employment, inviting Dr Zagami onto research projects, professional associations, and opportunities in university service. Particularly through his leadership in tertiary Learning and Teaching, Glenn provided Dr Zagami with an insight into the opportunities and rewards of an academic career.
Professor Seymour Papert played a pivotal role in the development of computer education and especially our understanding of the cognitive processing and relationships children can develop with technology. Professor Paperts work greatly influences Dr Zagami's research and conceptions of what can be achieved with educational technology research.