The Preston Jamboree



The annual Jamboree came to Our Lady’s Catholic High School on 20th,  21st  &  22nd March 2015. This time it was a 3-day Computing festival in Preston with over 250 people joining us at one (or more) of the 4 events.


It was another party weekend so we were thrilled to be joined by friends from Raspberry Pi, including one of the founder members Pete Lomas along with Carrie Anne Philbin and James Robinson from the Education Team.


Attending the 4 events included:

  • Pupils aged from 4 to 18 years alongside adults young and old.
  • Over 30 Computing teachers from primary and secondary schools in Lancashire and further afield
  • Friends (and a now infamous weather station) from the Raspberry Pi Foundation Education team
  • Computing at School Master Teachers and Hub Leaders from Lancashire, Manchester and Salford
  • Picademy Teachers
  • Code Club volunteers
  • STEM Ambassadors
  • Digital Leaders from primary schools and secondary schools
  • Initial Teacher Trainers and University lecturers from Edge Hill University
  • Hardware and software developers

Hack to the Future – Friday

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Full Photo Gallery 

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We planned 4 workshops with teachers that gave an opportunity to explore, through hands-on activities, and also a chance to reflect and plan with a range of teaching strategies and resources observed from each session.



Facilitating the workshops were Carrie Anne Philbin and James Robinson of the Raspberry Pi Foundation Education Team and David Ames, Sarah Zaman & Alan O’Donohoe as Computing at School Master Teachers.


Sonic Pi for learning

The workshops were:

  • Why all the fuss about the Raspberry Pi? What do I need to set one up? Tips for success in the classroom.
  • Teach Computing through Scratch, Sonic Pi, Python, Pygame & Minecraft on the Raspberry Pi
  • Use the Raspberry Pi to control objects in the physical world.
  • Collaboration opportunities in teams to develop a project in response to a problem.

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Teacher feedback:

“Really useful information which I can use in lessons.” Theresa Russell

“The practical aspects of the course and presenters were excellent.” Adam Blackburn

“Really good hands-on experience that will change your mind about Raspberry Pi in the classroom.” Neil Dreland

“Seeing all the great activities I could do with a Raspberry Pi and meeting like-minded, enthusiastic people.” Neil Dreland

“Go along and open your mind to new ways of thinking about Computer Science.” Ross Bullough

“It was such an amazing day! I learnt loads!” Sharon Williams

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Family Hack Jam – Friday evening

Full Photo Gallery 

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Teams of families and friends joined us at the evening Hack Jam. They collaborated with road safety data to model their message or solution about road safety using a game or an interactive story.

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Specifically about their own journey to school, these groups had to use decision making strategies based on data sets to create a resource for others using either Scratch or Twine open source tools.

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And the first team into the Prize Chamber?   Well actually it’s their second time in pole position as this team of students from Carr Hill joined us in Eccles and scooped top marks from the judges then, too. Prizes for all as usual, and for that winning team they each chose a copy of Carrie Anne’s ‘Adventures in Raspberry Pi’. The learning continues!


The winning team from Carr Hill with Carrie Anne

Teacher feedback:

“Opportunity to talk to people and swap ideas.” Ivan Holland

“Learning new ideas to use in the classroom and networking with other teachers” Sarah Zaham

“Very positive impact on the 6 pupils attending, particularly the boys.” Mark Capaldi

“Very effective method of engaging and firing up enthusiasm.” Mark Capaldi

“Great atmosphere and learning for reluctant learners.” Carole Molyneux

“Enthusiasm of the organisers and engagement of pupils, children and families.” 


Team effort

Jamboree Raspberry Jam – Saturday and Sunday

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Saturday Jam Photo Gallery

Over 100 people came together to Jam in Raspberry Pi style at the Saturday event. This time we decided to collaborate with Jamboree panache over the whole weekend and into Sunday afternoon.


Exploring Scratch GPIO


Sonic Pi workshop


Music coding with Sonic Pi


Using electric paint with Raspberry Pi


Paint, Py, Pi with DOTS BOARD success!

Workshops offered at the Jam gave everybody opportunities to get started, invent and prototype hardware and consider Raspberry Pi inventions. Included were:


Minecraft Madness

  1. Hacking Minecraft using Python on a Raspberry Pi
  2. Building a Minecraft Server
  3. Developing games using Scratch on the Raspberry Pi
  4. Exploring Scratch GPIO
  5. A music workshop using Sonic Pi was led by Carrie Anne and James which new converts to the software and inspired a new generation of music makers.
  6. Robot building the Cumble way with Redfearn Electronics
  7. Pygame Hack

And even more Minecraft!

Lightning talks are always an invaluable way to learn and share at a Jam and we were privileged to hear many talks over the weekend.   Examples included:


Pete Lomas – Raspberry Pi from the start

  1. We were delighted to be joined by Pete Lomas from Raspberry Pi who shared the development story of the mini-computer.
  2. Teachers were able to explore and ask about the Raspberry Pi Weather Station project as James talked about opportunities across the curriculum and for which all schools have the opportunity to apply to join.
  3. Digital leaders talking about the impact on their learning and teacher perceptions from their Raspberry Pi Club in school
  4. A Y6 pupil talking about the new DOTs BOARD used with a Raspberry Pi and electric paint which he’d set up during the Jamboree.

Pete with the @MaryMagsPiClub

We were able to set up a Hack Space at the Jamboree for the first time this year which quickly became a collaboration hub.


Smile, you’re on Pi-Cam

For those tinkering with their own projects it was a great chance to share, ask and test with others in the community and more projects developed over the weekend and beyond, including:


Arduino Hack

  1. A Raspberry Pi radio recording project using Java
  2. Robot Pi racing
  3. Pi-Camera Photo Booth
  4. Crumble robot creations
  5. Raspberry Pi light creations, almost bordering on art installations
  6. Using a Raspberry Pi as a remote device
  7. Bespoke gaming and website design activities

Hack Space at the Jam

Sunday Jam Photo Gallery



Teacher feedback:

“Getting an understanding of how to use the Raspberry Pi and Minecraft at school with cross-curricular links.” John Coughlin

“It was fantastic to see all the Pi stuff on show….now I can see the amazing opportunities available to kids of all ages.” Steff Evans

“Meeting other Raspberry Pi users and hearing about their projects. Good explanation during workshops (Sonic Pi and Pygame) and Minecraft Server was brilliant! Great atmosphere.” Carolyn Yates

“Seeing primary children delivering a presentation on computer coding was great.” Jeremy Straker

“Being in a room full of people who love Computing! I personally had some informative discussions with some other people who run primary computer clubs like myself.” Ian Duxbury



How would you describe the event to a colleague?


Another shared idea!

“If you are interested in seeing what you can do with Raspberry Pi and how a community can build up around a product then definitely go to one – and do not be afraid to ask questions and talk to people.” Mary Cooch

“The event was really interesting and gave you a taster of all sorts of ways of using Raspberry Pi. It was very welcoming and you didn’t feel like you had to know about computers to join in.” Claire Lowe

“I would say it was a very well organised fun, learning event for all the family.” Anita Kay

“Come as it will change your view of what we need to teach our children in terms of computing, and move them away from being consumers of gaming to producers and developers.” Becky Wells-Earp

“Great opportunity for kids to learn something great!” Steff Evans


Blog Corner


JamPacked UK, Leeds


The JamPackedUK tour arrived in Leeds on 27 & 28 February for a 2-day Computing festival at Carr Manor Community School.

Raspberry Pi Workshop: Jam Packed from Meagan Mansfield on Vimeo.

Over 400 people joined us at one (or more) of the 3 events, and we even had an appearance from a robot called KEITH!


Click for full JamPackedUK Leeds’ Gallery

It was a party weekend in so many ways, as we joined with friends down in Cambridge to celebrate the Raspberry Pi’s 3rd birthday with a good dose of birthday cakes, balloons, games and even jelly.


Pi Birthday Weekend at Carr Manor

Attending all 3 events were:

  • Pupils aged from 4 to 18 years
  • Computing teachers from the host school and other local secondary and primary schools (and beyond – that’s Bradford and Wigan!)
  • The Code Club Regional Co-ordinator
  • The Young Rewired State Hyperlocal and Everywhere Lead
  • Computing at School Master Teachers and Hub Leaders from Bradford and Leeds
  • Picademy Teachers
  • Initial Teacher Trainers from Trinity University and Becketts University
  • University lecturers and PhD students
  • Hardware and software developers
  • Training organisations

Hack to the Future – Friday 27th February


We planned 5 workshops with pupils from the Y8 to Y11 age range; 133 learners in total. That gave visiting teachers, student teachers, lecturers, supporters and teachers from the host school a chance to participate and reflect on a range of teaching strategies and resources observed at each session.

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All with the same aim, which was to inspire and engage pupils through Computer Science.


The workshops were:

  • Y8 pupils extending HTML coding skills using Mozilla tools and then exploring Python as a text based language through game making
  • Y10 GCSE Computing pupils using Raspberry Pi for challenges through physical computing activities
  • Y9 Science students exploring data visualisation and visualisation literacy with the Seeing Data team from Leeds University
  • Y11 GCSE Computing students extending programming with Python through game making
  • After school ‘Minecraft Hack’ club using Raspberry Pi with a group of mixed aged Minecraft fans


Teacher feedback:

“You’ve inspired teachers, parents and most importantly, children with your energy, enthusiasm and passion for computing. We’re committed to building on the success of the weekend and have lots of ideas about how we engage our community through technology.” Andrew Laycock, Assistant Principal at Carr Manor Community School.

“Fantastic event and opportunity to move forward with the Computing Curriculum.” Donna Byrne, Carr Manor Community School.


“Imaginative and engaging event.” David Duke, University of Leeds

“The event was very well organised, highly enjoyable for all and presented in an enthusiastic manner”. Wayne Book, Carr Manor Community School

Positive aspects observed by trainee teachers on the day:

  • Observing different teaching styles
  • Flexibility of choice of activities
  • Everything on the Raspberry Pi including set up
  • Being able to use Raspberry Pi. I have no previous experience with them.
  • Trying out new concepts
  • The resources available are very good

Family Hack Jam

Seventeen family teams joined us for the Hack Jam on Friday evening. All collaborating on a Leeds-based plotline and using either Scratch or Twine as their chosen tool.


For some it was a chance to use the open source software for the first time and to be shown by the younger generation how to get started and develop a game.

Lots of learning conversations and spying opportunities to enhance a team’s concept, whether that involved blue bananas at Tropical World, gold Olympic post-boxes, unicorns or iconic journeys around the city.


And the first team into the Prize Chamber?   The collaborators entering the Unicorn Heaven hack.


We did it!


Treasures from the Prize Chamber : )

Teacher feedback:

“It’s a good event to learn how children investigate software themselves. More discovery learning than school.” Jenny Sharp

“Go, it is ace! Plenty of ideas to use at all levels. Differentiation and learning for all!” Seba Thomson

Raspberry Jam – Saturday 28th February

Over 150 people came together to jam in Raspberry Pi style at the birthday party weekend event.


New collaborations formed, as they always do, with young sharing with an older generation, elders mentoring younger jammers, teachers sharing projects with trainee teachers and above all else, everybody asking each other ‘how did you do that?’.


Our hosts Carr Manor, being a ‘through school’ for children aged 4 – 16 years, were determined to offer opportunities for everybody in their community regardless of age and experience.


Minecraft, Minecraft, Minecraft

Workshops offered at the Jam gave everybody opportunities to get started, invent and prototype hardware with Monk Makes, hack Minecraft and develop their own games using the Raspberry Pi computers.


We were thrilled to be joined by our friends from Code Club and Young Rewired State, who offered even more opportunities to the local community and beyond.


Linda Broughton, Yorkshire & Humber Regional Co-ordinator for Code Club, shared learning experiences and resources with families wanting to have a taste of Code Club challenges and collaborated with the Raspberry Pi classroom using Scratch activities for game making.


Kate McDonald, Hyperlocal and Everywhere Lead with Young Rewired State, came along with a team of YRS mentors and previous challengers from @YRSLeeds past events.They were quickly joined by new collaborators as peers joined and hacked with HTML, JavaScript and CSS using the ultra-cool, with Kevin on hand to mentor.


Amazing what priorities had been giving to computing, with young people dashing in from swimming and cycling lessons or whizzing off to dance, karate and gymnastics to join us at the Jam; and moreover, wanting to know what they could do next. A Code Club, Hyperlocal Leeds on 28th March, or possibly a Summer Festival anyone?


Click for the full photo gallery

Mayank and Peter (giving us big thumbs up!) got chatting about their own projects. Mayank is developing an app to help people make the super tough decision of which university to choose, and Peter was explaining about the awesome digital musical instruments he’s creating with parts sourced from the Headingley charity shops. Watch this space Listen out for updates!

Charlie and his mum coded an awesome to do list together, experimenting with CSS to change styling, and that was one of the many family learning projects started and developed at the Jam.


Introducing KEITH the Pi-Robot

Great to see how a robot called KEITH, another family learning project, could inspire so many more groups in its home city of Leeds. With Andy and Harry talking about the umpteenth stages of development and Keith’s participation at the CamJam Pi Wars robot event, we hope see even more iterations joining a next Raspberry Jam.


Party jelly formed part of a workshop area using a Touchboard or two with some electric paint from our friends at the Bare Conductive team. Alongside Raspberry Pi with controllers such as Makey Makey the sky was the limit for ideas of how to control the birthday tunes through capacitive touch ways.


A party’s never a party without music and it was great to see Christine Harvey on the laptop decks, with a live coding session using @sonicpi, after her return from Picademy.



Teacher feedback:

“Go for it, you don’t know what you’ll discover!” Ian Dickinson, The Rodillian Academy

“Fun day to learn some useful tips and tricks to make Computer Science exciting.” Christine Harvey, Bradford Grammar

“It is a really fun and pressure-free way of learning about coding and Raspberry Pi.” Perveen Aslam

“It’s a no pressure environment to enhance your understanding.”

“Engagement of all people, seeing young children teaching older children and adults how to do things, e.g. program”


Click for full JamPackedUK @ Carr Manor Photo Gallery