Raspberry Jamboree 2014

Alan O’Donohoe writes: I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you, our Raspberry Jam community for supporting our OCR Raspberry Jamboree, the second annual convention to share the educational potential of the Raspberry Pi community. I’d also like to thank our sponsors OCR, Pimoroni, CPC, Cyntech, ModMyPi, Exa Education, MathWorks, BCS Manchester, MagPi Magazine, Raspberry Pi Geek and Ciseco. In particular I also wish to thank Lisa Mather for organising an excellent party and Dawn Hewitson particularly for support with the hack day.

IMG_0582On Thursday 27th and Friday 28th February [link to show guide], about 400 travelled to Manchester for the first two days of our event and then 150 attended our family Jam Hack Day at Edge Hill University, Ormskirk [link to information] on Saturday 1st March.

I’m a computing teacher and my current roles include training other teachers as well as teaching my own classes. I am convinced that the Raspberry Pi has terrific educational potential, not just in Computing lessons but across the whole curriculum and beyond, more about later. One ambition of mine is to share the power of Pi with other teachers and those who support Computing education.

11I deliberately chose to ‘piggy back’ onto the EICE education event in Manchester as this would allow us to attract an audience of teachers that would not normally attend a Raspberry Pi specific event. By running our conference within another conference we can evangelise about the Raspberry Pi to a wider audience.

The 2013 Jamboree event we held in Manchester was a much more exclusive affair running in a separate enclosed space and the audience mostly comprised of those who were already converted to Raspberry Pi. This year I wanted our event to be much more open and welcoming to ‘non-geeks’ and so I agreed to site our various activities in locations spread around the EICE event. It was clear that a small number of our attendees did not fully appreciate this and would have preferred to be segregated from the main flurry of activity. I believe my plan largely succeeded as confirmed by the discussions with many teachers who confessed to knowing little about the Raspberry Pi, but who joined in with our sessions after being tempted by what was on offer.


If you were unable to attend this year’s event dont worry; over the next few weeks I’ll be sharing recordings from our Slice Of Pi talks and links to resources shared at the Jamboree. These will be shared on YouTube later, but you can go and listen to some teachers opinions of the event including Clive of Raspberry Pi and Simon Humphreys of Computing At School.

At one point I had to ask some of our delegates to refrain from apologising for not being a teacher, and this then became the running joke. The one thing that we all have in common, both teachers and non-teachers is that we all want to see the Raspberry Pi succeed – you shouldn’t need to apologise for this.

As well as 29 x Slices Of Pi (talks), we also held 3 x ‘Pi Panel Discussions’, 12 x hands-on ‘Raspberry Mastery’ classroom sessions and 26 x ‘Pi Gurus’ on the OCR stand. We had 65 speakers/session leaders. We ran an after school event on the Thursday evening and we celebrated the 2nd birthday of the Raspberry Pi with a party on the Friday night.

Then on day 3, Saturday 1st March, 150 parents, children, teachers and students travelled to Edge Hill University to take part in a family hack day. We offered a range of taster sessions and booster classes before allowing groups to work together on project of their choosing. We followed this with a grand prize giving session.

IMG_0512Over these last two years, I’ve enjoyed all of the rewards and the challenges that Raspberry Jam has brought me. The one thing I’ve strugged with is the volume of teaching and Raspberry Jam related email I receive. To help alleviate this problem, my next plan will be to produce a short documentary, a Raspberry Jam toolkit that shows what a Raspberry Jam event looks like and how to go about running your own.

It would be great to hold another Raspberry Jamboree again in 2015, but I’ll need a lot more support from people willing to share the organisational burden. There has been some recent suggestions to relocate the venue to one further south eg. Cambridge, though I’m not convinced of the merits of such a move. The current Manchester venue offers great transport links, a range of accommodation from £11 per night and is fairly central to the whole of the UK. The other attraction that fits perectly with the Jamboree’s aim of helping teachers discover the educational potential – is that linking it the EICE education event allows access to a wider audience than a group of geeks that are already making extensive use of the Raspberry Pi.


Preston Raspberry Jam 6th Jan 2014

Listed here, especially for listeners of BBC Radio Lancashire:

We’re holding our next Raspberry Jam event in Preston on Monday 6th January 2014. If you want to go, you must register for tickets here http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/preston-raspberry-jam-rjam-monday-6th-jan-2014-tickets-10001375383

If you don’t really know what a Raspberry Jam event is, watch this recording of Alan O’Donohoe explaining on BBC Breakfast what a Raspberry Pi is and why you might want to go to a Raspberry Jam event.

The CPC Raspberry Jamboree – 9thMar2013

Screen Shot 2013-03-17 at 02.16.51

We held our first Raspberry Jam conference in Manchester on Saturday 9th March 2013.  Event details here for reference and you can look at our conference programme here. Next year in 2014, we aim to hold a 4 day Raspberry Pi conference event in celebration of the 2nd Birthday of the Raspberry Pi. The Thursday & Friday will be in Manchester and on the Saturday & Sunday we will link up with Raspberry Jam events all over the world. Register here for Raspberry Jamboree 2014 tickets and to find out how to sponsor this fantastic event.

At the 2013 event, there were two principal aims of the conference, but with more emphasis on the first aim:

1. One year on since the general release of the Raspberry Pi computer, we planned to identify successful examples of how it is changing computing education for the better. We particularly encouraged those with an interest in education to attend.

2. We also shared successful Jam-making practice. As Raspberry Jams continue to spread far around the World, we shared what a successful Raspberry Jam tastes like, the most successful recipes and the best ingredients so you can have a wonderful Jam in your area.

In this film from our closing Key Note, 13 year old Amy describes her passion for programming, she then explains how she met up with Ben Nuttall, a software developer and organiser of our Manchester Raspberry Jam and with his support she created a simulation of Conway’s Game of Life.

In this film recorded at the Jamboree, teacher Carrie Anne Philbin explains how attending the London Raspberry Jam helped her to see what kind of projects people are developing for their Raspberry Pi computers and in turn led to her developing some resources for teaching computing in her own classroom. .

A total of 365 people attended our Raspberry Jamboree, some of them travelling from across Europe and the Middle East and 140 registered for our webcast with about 50 – 80 people watching throughout the day. The webcast and recordings were provided by GloCast and I will be releasing these on YouTube over the next few days. Just some of the talks are here on this site, but more will be available on my Teknoteacher YouTube channel. This is a link to my photographs from the day, but there are many more elsewhere too.

Many people have written their own blog posts about the event and there was a double page article in the Times Educational Supplement on 15/3/2013, I recommend you read the following blog posts by Developer Nick Tollervey, Guardian Developer Blog, Enthusiast Jason Barnett, 11 year old Amy Appler’s blogpost, Computer Scientist Duncan Hull, Teacher Carrie Anne PhilbinDeveloper Gordon Henderson and Jon Archer. We also have some recordings from the livestream video cast of our ‘Slices of Pi’ room kindly managed by Digital Tree streaming.

Next year we are planning to hold an even bigger event over 3 days from Thursday 27th February to Saturday 1st March 2014 with many more ‘hands-on’ classes. Sometime between Friday 28th Feb and Saturday 1st March we will be celebrating the 2nd Birthday of the Raspberry Pi. Put it in your diary now.

Our graphics were created by the wonderful Peter Blatchford of LimeKnight & London Raspberry Jam



Preston Raspberry Jam, 01.07.13

ImageSilicon Bus Stop: A change of venue

On Monday 1st July we held our Preston Raspberry Jam at the CPC offices in Fulwood, Preston. We normally hold our Jam events at the University, but I wanted to explore the use of different venue. I had been to visit the offices a few times before and wondered if it would make a suitable location for holding events.

In Fulwood where I live, we have a handful of Tech companies including IBM and I jokingly refer to it as ‘Silicon Bus Stop’.

IMG_7671The Scratch Dojo format: The format for this Raspberry Jam event was a Scratch Dojo. After visiting the London Python Dojo organised by the inimitable Nicholas Tollervey, I was inspired to consider doing this at one of our Raspberry Jams with children, families & teachers. It’s a format that I’ve now embedded in my teaching and teacher training CPD events.

At the start of the evening, about 6.30-7.00pm, everyone who had brought a Raspberry Pi and display with them were asked to set up their computer in one of the office rooms.

Then, just after 7pm, we gathered everyone together in a large group in the sofa area and we considered as many projects we could work on as possible and every one had a chance to make a suggestion. We then voted for the project idea that held the most scope for interest and challenge levels. This time we voted for ‘Frogger‘.

Arranging the groups: I then split our attendees into 8 different groups of 5 – 6 per team, but trying to keep younger children with their parents. Each team was assigned an office room and they went off to work on their ‘Frogger’ project.

IMG_7680Each team was asked to first introduce themselves to each other and then nominate the first ‘driver’. The role of the driver is to do what the other navigators in the room instruct them to. To facilitate discussion and creative collaboration, the role of the driver was swapped every 5 minutes so that everyone had an opportunity to drive. In the teams that had very young children 5- 8yrs old, they chose to let the children do the majority of the driving.

When assigning people to teams, I tried to make sure there was an even balance of children, teenagers, parents, teachers and other adults.

IMG_7684What was interesting with the layout was that because each team was working away in a separate office, it gave them their own private space to develop their ideas and solutions without being distracted by what the other groups were doing. There were lots of similarities in the ways that the groups organised themselves.

We had 10 large office/meeting rooms available spread over two floors and a large atrium area with sofas and tables. While the venue may not be quite as glamourous as Google’s Mountain View offices in Silicon Valley, it is certainly a great space for inspiring creativity.

IMG_7670Assigning the Voyagers: After the teams had been working for about half an hour I went around each of the rooms and recruited a ‘voyager’. I then met with all of the voyagers together in the sofa area and briefed them on their next mission. I explained how they were going to have 3 minutes to visit each of the other rooms to gather as much information and as many ideas as possible, before returning to their original team to tell them what they had seen on their travels.

IMG_7687I then asked if anybody wanted a break, but all of the teams seemed happy to continue until the end.

Show and tell: The layout of the foyer and sofa area didn’t really lend itself to a large theatre style show and tell activity, also there would have been the problem of projecting everyone’s Frogger game large enough. The Faraday room on the first floor may have been ideal, but it was unavailable to us at the time. So, I planned a different structure for the show & tell.

Instead, at 8.45pm, I went around and visited each of the teams and asked them to go and visit the other teams to see what their games looked like. This gave some their first opportunity to dicover how others had created their Frogger game and to actually try playing the games as well. Most people drew the same conclusion (no matter what team they were in):

“It was great to see how other teams solved the same problem, but ours was the best”


Packing up: By 9pm we had managed to pack all of the Raspberry Pi computers back in our cars, and assemble outside for a group photo. Unfortunately, a few families left before the photo. Next time, we’ll take a photo at the beginning of the evening.

The verbal feedback was very encouraging. Some people had travelled great distances and wanted to talk about having Raspberry Jam events in their schools and colleges.

The next Preston Raspberry Jam will be on Monday 5th August for talks & demonstrations. Our next family style dojo will be on Monday 2nd September.




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.

Raspberry Jam Tokyo 29.12.12

Alan O’Donohoe writes: Regularly you will hear me cry “Let’s spread this Jam”, so you can imagine I was over the moon this morning to hear from Masafumi Ohta that there is now a Raspberry Jam Tokyo group. They last met on 29th December and plan to meet every two months.

That’s certainly an interesting WiFi password on the board. There is a set of photos on Flickr, including this nifty little display unit that I imagine many people are going to want.

There are plenty of mouth watering photos of the amazing Raspberry themed refreshments they provided as well.

Providing refreshments is always a good idea to attract younger members along to Raspberry Jam events.

If you want to know more about the Raspberry Jam in Tokyo, you can reply to Masafumi Ohta’s message on the Raspberry Pi forum and Google Group for Japanese Pi owners.

Coventry #RaspberryJam – Saturday 22.09.12

Mohammed writes about Coventry Raspberry Jam, 22nd Sept. “Participants came early and enjoyed light refreshments including Samosas, Crisps, biscuits, chocolates and drinks were served and made available throughout the event.

We started the event with introduction of myself and our host and sponsor, Matt and CoventryPrinting.com. We went round the room introducing each person and answering why were here and what we would like to achieve today.

We had an interesting crowd of people. A couple and their kids who teach music education in a secondary school, a programmer with 20 years Microsoft experience and a retired ex-army engineer.

Initially, Matt introduced the Pi and went through the Raspi’s ports and how to get the basics setup of the Pi to get to a GUI stage. He discussed the various programming languages it supports and the difference between the server version of Linux and the GUI. All parties were highly interested in understanding the Terminal and not just the GUI side of Linux.

I then discussed my personal experience with the Pi, the various issues I had, installing Linux and getting the group to understand the Asterisk Open Source Telephony System.

I then went ahead and demonstrated some basic home automation, controlling lighting using a simple web page as seen in my blog (moishtech.blogspot.com). For the second part of the demonstration, I displayed Asterisk running on the PI and went ahead to show the group how I simply control home lighting using the Telephony Application using just the PI and a simple relay circuit.

One of the group members had their PI with them and wanted to understand how to set up the SD card using a Apple iMac. A set of instructions were given to all users on how to get started with the PI and getting the image on to an SD card using a Mac. We then split the group up. Matt took a couple into his office where an install and setup of the SD image was done using an iMac whilst I discussed with the more technical people the working of server based Linux.

The event started at 4:30pm although people arrived and snacked earlier. We left an open time to end and people chose to leave at different times, the last two people left around 7pm.

All in all, it was a fantastic experience and having a small group of people in this initial event allowed us to understand how to handle the diverse requirements of people getting hold of the Raspi and will allow us going forward to manage a larger groups expectations.

Durham RaspberryJam 12.09.12

On Wednesday 12th September, Durham Johnstone school hosted the first Durham RaspberryJam event. Mark Thornber a teacher at the school has written a review of the evening here. They are planning to host the next one on Wednesday 14th November.

Mark was a little nervous about hosting the event in the first place. Mark says “A very informal event seemed to go smoothly.  We had about 45 in attendance at the peak with a wide variety of expertise and experience. Lots of contacts were made and there were opportunities to experiment with some kit already set up and swap tips in between some (slightly) more formal presentations.”