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


Blog Corner


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