JamPacked UK, Manchester


The Jam Packed Tour arrived at Manchester Communication Academy on Friday 27th March, with a full programme planned for the 2-day Computing festival.

During the 3 events held on the Friday and Saturday, we welcomed friends from the community who’d travelled far and wide to share their experiences and ask lots of computing-related questions.


Jam Packed Community Computing

Yes, Project Cat Flap was Raspberry Pi and camera specific, and later taken safely back to Yorkshire for further investigations.  Another friend from the Raspberry Pi Community travelled back to Surrey with more Pi, Python and interactive story-making experiences to share and one of our visitors got safely on the flight back to Tipperary – great catching up after last year’s Jamboree, btw!.


Pi-gantic journeys to the Jam!

Attending the 3 events included:

  • Pupils aged from 3 to 18 years alongside adults young and old.
  • Over 25 Computing teachers came together from primary and secondary schools across Manchester, Salford, Cheshire, Lancashire and beyond.
  • Computing at School Master Teachers and Hub Leaders from Lancashire, Manchester and Salford

Jam Packed family events

  • Picademy Teachers
  • Code Club volunteers locally and also from York
  • Regional Code Club Co-ordinator for the North West
  • STEM Ambassadors
  • Initial Teacher Trainers and University lecturers from Edge Hill University
  • Hardware and software developers

Hack to the Future – Friday



Full Photo Gallery 

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Manchester Communication Academy hosted the Hack to the Future event during their school day.   We planned 4 workshops with teachers that gave an opportunity to explore, through hands-on activities and challenges with students, and also a chance to reflect and plan with a range of teaching strategies and resources observed from each session.


Minecraft Hack

The workshops were: 

  • Group 1: Year 9 GCSE Computing pupils will complete a practice programming assignment (A453) in under three hours, from analysis and design through to development & testing. Alan O’Donohoe
  • Group 2: Year 9 pupils will explore a range of digital literacy tools including Mozilla Webmaker resources, Xray Goggles and Twine. Claire Garside

Ahmad introduces AI through Python

  • Group 3: Year 5 pupils explore the potential of Minecraft on the Raspberry Pi computer. Alan O’Donohoe & Dave Ames
  • Group 4: Year 5 pupils review existing artificial intelligence chatbots and create their own using Small Basic or Python. Ahmad Jolloh

More Minecraft collaborations

Teacher feedback:

“Really good event – got pupils engaged straight away.” J Plaiter

Great to be able to make new contacts.  It gave me an insight into how to make use of the Raspberry Pi as well as making links with the local secondary school.” N Stewardson

It was very helpful seeing an actual Computing lesson rather than just being given a bunch of resources.” N Iqbal

Being able to talk to colleagues about their experiences of teaching computing in school.” Diana Bemowski

How would you describe the event to a colleague?

“A great chance to network with like-minded people and a lot of resources made available.” N Iqbal

It’s amazing!  Go along to see interesting ideas and speak to other teachers.”

Family Hack Jam – Friday evening



Full Photo Gallery 


Family teams

Teams of families, peers and friends joined us at the Friday evening Hack Jam.  The groups had to collaborate to model their interactive Cluedo-style story plot using a game or an interactive open source tool called Twine.

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First into the Prize Chamber was the team who the judges deemed to be the most creative with artistic styling and who, most importantly, had worked together with the best team working all evening : )



Raspberry Jam – Saturday


Teamwork & Workshops

Saturday 28th March – Full Photo Gallery 


We were joined by over 100 people at the Raspberry Jam; families, students, parents, carers, grandparents, Geek Gran, teachers, tinkerers, enthusiasts, beginners and a couple of enquirers.


We had so many collaboration spaces at the Academy that we were able to set up a programme of workshops in a Raspberry Pi classroom as well as additional sessions with open source tools.

Included were:

  • Beginners’ Pi
  • Hacking Minecraft using Python on a Raspberry Pi
  • Games development using Scratch on the Raspberry Pi
  • Raspberry Pi Inventions

Family team buildsMore Pi.  You can never have enough Pi.

  • More Pi
  • A GCSE Programming Assignment
  • Pygame Hack

Dave gets dangerous with Minecraft TNT. Again.

Teacher feedback:

“Positive and creative atmosphere with lots of interesting activities. My students that attended really enjoyed it.” Simon Howarth

“Opportunity to learn more…tinkering with code in PyGame to see impact on the game and exploring what code does.  Great having children there to see what they can do with a confident and passionate teacher.” Ben Davies

“Hands-on, enthusiastic, fun and engaging.” John Sibbald

“Friendly and fun but all ages were learning lots at the same time.” Ann Wagstaff


Invent with Pi

How would you describe the event to a colleague?

“The event allows hands-on experiences into new ways of computing that students get fully involved with.  Excellent opportunities!” Victoria Shepherd

“Great for CPD opportunities.  Fun and engaging.” Daniel Burgess

“A fantastic family event.” Richard Price


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