JamPackedUK at Manchester Makefest


The Jam Packed team took workshops, challenges and our latest recruit, the dalek (be careful out there), to the Manchester Makefest on 8 & 9 August.


Raspberry Pi Challenge Corner

Hosted at the Museum of Science and Industry, we joined friends old and new for a weekend of computing, making and shared digital adventures as we added our own series of workshops to the programme.


Ask the Family

More collaborative challenges through gaming with Python and Scratch and some memorable (we can still hear them now) musical compositions from new Sonic Pi converts.  Problem solving using the Raspberry Pi electronics kits gave pairs the opportunity to try out the driver / navigator approach and support each other on their journeys to success as lightbulb moments.


Lightbulb Moments Galore

And not forgetting Minecraft Hack at a Makefest.  We witnessed subterranean architecture on a grand design scale from some groups and vowed to share some ingenious new hacks through our next events.


Choose a Challenge

And in the spirit of the Maker community, Claire decided to spend a little time with our new friends from Madlab Edinburgh to prepare for our next festival in Hamilton at the end of August.

Making progress with soldering skills, we now have our own team bagpipes : )


Where to Next?

See you in Scotland?

Full photo gallery here.

Raspberry Jam, UTC Media City


UTC@MediaCityUK were our hosts for this Raspberry Jam event on Saturday 6th June; a day when we were privileged to join them as they delivered their first workshops to their soon-to-be cohort of Year 10 students.

The UTC also opened their doors to the local and wider community through an open invite to the Jam.


New challenges


Sonic Pi – New inputs for music

The event facilitated even more collaborative learning opportunities than usual as the Jam community shared and worked with students during workshops and hacktivities.



A Raspberry Pi Lab and a Gaming Zone meant 2 rooms simultaneously running workshops throughout the day and also with a Hackspace to share projects and ideas.






Sonic Compositions


Shared music pieces


PyGame mischief




Activities with Monk Makes


Pi, Lights, Action

Hackspace projects:

Java radio station, Pi-cam activities, multi-player Minecraft challenges galore and more all controlled using Raspberry Pi.


More Hacktivities


Pi-Cam projects


New opportunities with multi-player Minecraft


Server set for more challenges

The Jam gave more chances of extended learning challenges through resources and tools shared online and through workshops.

Either from the teacher toolkit, or hands-on opportunities with Raspberry Pi and electric paint, we saw new projects born out of group tinkering.




DOTS Boards

Full photo gallery

JamPackedUK, Salford


H2DF @ All Hallows, Salford

Hack to the Future – Friday 5th June 2015


Dave modelling a Minecraft block?

Opportunities for CPD were planned around computing challenges for 2 groups of Year 8 students, during an extended morning session. The students had already selected computer science as an option for the next academic year.


Reflective practice : )


New collaborations

The Computing department at the host school had identified physical computing as an area to engage and enthuse KS3 students through enrichment activities. Already the teachers had invested development time and funding with Raspberry Pi and Arduino devices and were keen to extend their project ideas through progression of learning opportunities.


Y10 CA focus

During the afternoon a group of Year 7 students were guided through the Geocraft project with David Ames using Minecraft Pi and Ordnance Survey maps whilst Year 10 students took a focus with their GCSE course.


Intro to Geocraft


First blocks coded

Pedagogy in practice was fundamental during the day and different approaches were demonstrated through group-work and peer review during the day.


More block creations


Testing times

Activities to develop problem solving skills using the Raspberry Pi with Scratch, Python and Minecraft, alongside Play-Hack-Share with open source software gave a range of scenarios for teachers to discuss, reflect and integrate into their own planning.


Hack the Web


Crazy Pi Inventions


What is it? What isn’t it?


Minecraft Zone

Teacher feedback:

“Relaxed and very informative; not intimidating at all” Tim Cooper

“Seeing how engaged the pupils were and how they made progress. I tool away some ideas to implement in the classroom” Wahida Hamid

“Good environment and engagement of pupils.  Gave me ideas on how to implement Pi in my own classroom” Josh Rooke

“It was great to see the pupils of all abilities engaged in the activities” L.Buckley

“Gaining insights into challenges for school based computing and Alan’s fostering of inquiry based learning” Zara Khan

“Good to see engagement with Pi at KS3” Daniel Boyle

“Excellent hands-on session with motivated students who developed an interest in programming” William Hughes

Full photo gallery

Family Hack Jam – Friday 5th June 2015


Family challenges

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Teams of families and friends came together to solve problems and tackle localised challenges with a literary output.


Creating interactive fiction

Groups used mainly Twine as an interactive fiction tool or Scratch to design game which told their intended story.

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Collaborations developed during the course of the evening, helped along by review opportunities, spying missions and the fabulous hospitality of the school.


From comments at the end of the evening we doubt that’ll be the last family evening at All Hallows, and there were definite signs of families downloading the tools to continue their fictional lines out of school : )


Stories completed!

Full photo gallery

Jam Packed UK, Haddington, East Lothian



The Haddington community (and beyond) welcomed us with their unforgettable enthusiasm, drive and excitement to host and plan a Jam Packed computing festival.

Teachers from surrounding secondary and primary schools, software developers, families, community friends, council representatives and members of the tech community came together at Knox Academy for this 2 day computing festival featuring 3 events.

Andy McSwan and David Gilmour were instrumental in bringing everybody together so it seems fitting to use their thoughts, words, photographs and general artistic flair & style to write this guest post.

Hack to the Future – Friday


Photo courtesy of David Gilmour – full gallery below *

“We joined up with the Jam Packed team to welcome 59 pupils from primary schools across East Lothian for our Hack to the Future Event. During the morning the pupils got to experience 4 different activities from digital storytelling using Twine, making a plain game in scratch interesting, coding a squirrel using Python and hacking Minecraft on the Raspberry Pi. All pupils spoke positivly of the event.” Andy McSwan.


Play – Hack – Share

The children became involved in 3 workshops as teachers used the opportunities through ‘pedagogy in practice’ to plan, reflect and extend their own networks.   Ideas shared between primary and secondary schools, not just transitional projects, built on existing and new partner activities.


Building on the local teacher network

The digital creators very quickly became accomplished ‘drivers and navigators’ as they shared challenges to collaborate on gaming projects, and used peer review techniques to improve their work.


Team Challenges


Games’ hack

Using ‘Sabotage‘ as a tool to debug their projects proved popular to all and particularly to teachers citing multiple variations on the theme to take forward.


Review time


Hack for good? Hack for mischief?

The carousel of activities were based around a Raspberry Pi classroom and Gaming Lab in the school’s library which gave us the flexibility to share ideas throughout the day.



As always with Jam Packed we were thrilled to have software developers and specialists from industry to join us throughout the weekend and to bring their expertise and enthusiasm to the children’s projects.


Collaborations with industry gaming developers. Minecraft anybody?

Teacher feedback:

“Seeing how I can implement Twine and Raspberry Pi into my own class….great to see how to use these resources” Emma Webster

“Raspberry Pi Minecraft was a new experience for my pupils” Karla Pearce

“To me, Twine was fascinating” A Murdoch

“Opportunities to discover new ideas such as Twine and physical computing options (electric paint) and to hear how others are using them” David Gilmour

“Some of the best CPD possible…..and a sense of community” Andy McSwan

“Pupils were wholly engaged with the projects this morning. Gave me a chance to see how I can share these ideas with colleagues” Kirsty Dunn

Family Hack Jam – Friday evening


“The Family Hack Jam brought together groups from all over the Lothians with some coming from the city centre to participate. They created interactive stories ranging from the fate of Sherlock Holmes, who was having a pint in an Edinburgh pub, to a grisly ending for Justin Bieber. Just watching families sit down together to create and collaborate using Computing Science skills together was a great sight – Something I hope as a community we can build on in the future!” Andy McSwan


Newly formed collaborations at the Hack Jam

Families, friends, and a newly formed Dad’s team worked together to produce their collaborations using either Twine to create an interactive fiction piece or Scratch to produce a game.


Sharing through digital storytelling

Teacher feedback:

“Positive aspects were collaborative work from the children and learning about a program that will be easy to introduce in class” Angie Kinghorn

“Family community involvement” Kirsty Dunn

“Great ideas I can use with classes on Monday” Andy McSwan

Raspberry Jam – Saturday


Pi-Zone at the Jam

“The Raspberry Jam itself was like a whirlwind…..the highlight of the weekend however was the 8 year old girl who led a workshop on Sonic Pi (with a little help from Claire of course).  From my point of view it was great to see what’s possible for our young people and at a very early age with a little bit of encouragement.” Andy McSwan



With the usual Raspberry Jam recipe of workshops, Pi-Zone, project areas and hack space and also room to share thoughts with a lightning talk, there was a variety of activities for everybody attending; young and more mature : )


Live coding with Sonic Pi


Testing, testing : )

Again, the younger generation were instrumental in sharing their experiences and talents as robotics and data projects though music were shared and which inspired all.



We introduced some visitors to programming for the first time using Python and took the Pygames and Raspberry Pi Dots boards tools to create shared projects.


DOTS board with Pi


Teacher feedback:

“Kodu was interesting, Sonic Pi was also really interesting and Minecraft was fun” David Gilmour

“Lots of things to take back to school” Kirsty Dunn

“Positive aspects included meeting new people working with computing in the area” Kate Farrell

* More from David’s Photo Gallery

Jam Packed UK’s Photo Gallery link.

Jam Packed UK, Mansfield


Shirebrook Academy hosted the Jam Packed Tour on

Friday 17th & Saturday 18th April 2015.

Hack to the Future – Friday


Adventure with Python!

Teachers and students collaborated on gaming projects to extend text based programming tools, projects through physical computing and ideas to share creativity across the curriculum.  Pedagogy and review were the focus for the planned activities.


Sonic Pi review – do you like it?

Using Raspberry Pi gave opportunities to share musical compositions with Sonic Pi and inevitably hacking Minecraft.


Dave with Minecraft Pi. And TNT again!

Sabotage was the basis to build up a range of debugging skills to enable the students to work independently as well as collaboratively.



Teacher feedback:

“Raspberry Pi and Minecraft was new to myself and I learnt alongside the students. Really enjoyed this aspect.  Good to see a different teaching perspective” Paul Ellam

“A good way to see teaching resources and techniques in action” Kai Lau

“Development of games from a coding point of view” Steve Roberts

“Exciting and engaging content” Natalie M-H

Family Hack Jam – Friday evening


Challenge launch

Pizza, robots, gaming and team challenges were the theme for the Hack Jam.



Teams worked on a local theme to create projects which were shared and improved over the course of the evening.


Robot challenges proved popular as NAO soon became a significant visitor and interacted with everybody.

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Teacher feedback:

“The benefits of families working together to produce an output.  Coding was merely a tool to do this, it was all about problem solving” Ben Davies

“Community feeling of everybody trying something new.  Team building, students getting excited about computing” Natalie M-H

“Everyone giving things a go and team building” Amy Taylor

Raspberry Jam


Family successes!

The Raspberry Pi-Zone saw families and new collaborations joining together to create games, work on new challenges and discover projects from others.

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Workshops ranged from setting up a Raspberry Pi for the first time to testing out add-on kits like Monk Makes to discover the joys of traffic lights on the Pi.

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Minecraft hack with Python and Sonic Pi for music projects also featured and proved popular.  Funny that : )


Teacher feedback:

“Great ideas on how school digital leaders can introduce Raspberry Pi to younger year groups” Anon

“Providing shared opportunities for adults and children interested in computing” Steve Roberts

“Being part of a sample lesson and learning about Raspberry Pi” Vonny Shelley

“Sessions aimed at teachers, community involvement and student engagement” Amy Taylor

Full photo galleries here

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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