London Raspberry Jam 3.01.13

Alan O’Donohoe @teknoteacher writes: Around 70 children, parents and teachers had a great time at the London Raspberry Jam organised by parent Paul Evans on Thursday 3rd January. In the few days before Christmas, Paul imagined that there would be many Raspberry Pi computers in Christmas stockings leaving the recipients of these gifts a little puzzled.

It had always been my aim with Raspberry Jam to encourage a broad range of ages and expertise to attend these events, so I was especially keen to support Paul with the organisation of this event. Many of the previous events have taken place on school nights, which makes the events less accessible to children.

We started the event with an ice breaker devised by Paul. He had commisioned some specially designed badges to help people identify their roles, eg. ‘noob’, ‘iTeach’, ‘hacker inside’, ‘only here because somebody forced me’.

There were three workshops on offer for everyone. Rob Bishop of the Raspberry Pi Foundation entertained our audience with ideas for projects and encouraged people to go out and build stuff.

Andrew Robinson brought his Pi Face hardware controller project. As well as running a workshop demonstrating hardware control using Scratch, he demonstrated how you could use a Raspberry Pi to control the lights on the Mozilla Christmas tree.

I (Alan O’Donohoe) ran a tutorial for families showing how to create quizes and random games with their Rasberry Pi using Python one of the programming languages supported.

One challenge we faced was having enough displays for everyone to enjoy a ‘hands on’ experience. It takes a certain amount of dedication to carry a TV in a box 500 miles and across London using only public transport. Luckily, as well as all the Raspberry Pi computers, we also had a number of other computers we were able to make use of.

There is an album of photos from the day here for you to view. If you are considering organising a Raspberry Jam event or you are a teacher who wants to know more about how to use the Raspberry Pi computer, I recommend you read about our Raspberry Jamboree event in March.

We are grateful to all our event sponsors Twilio, the Python Software Foundation and Mozilla our host and all those who supported our event by attending or contributing.