Finally the day of our Raspberry Jam had arrived. I was excited but it was a bit scary because it was our first Jam and I was teaching one of the workshops, Physical Computing. After all the successful fund-raising, we did feel a little under pressure to deliver on our promises. Was it going to be a success?
Before the Jam started Kano did a masterclass with the workshop leaders and volunteers. The computer kits were very cool and we got access to their latest OS development for Hour of Code. It was very interesting – we could generate lots of shapes of different sizes and colours to make awesome patterns and images – I actually made an image of ‘Steve’ from Minecraft.
First my mum, who organized the event, did an introduction speech about what workshops and events were happening. There was Minecraft hacking with Python with Frank, Processing with Zak and Louis, Web Design with Wing, Introduction to Scratch and Game Making in Scratch with Marc, Introduction to Sonic Pi and Live Coding with Derek and Paul. Yasmin ran the Minecraft for Parents with the amazing David Whale, free-styling it for our parents and for children that needed some time away from the other workshops. Maggie did a great job with the Play-dough with circuits and Crafts with circuits table – which was very popular. I did the Physical Computing workshop with Hacker Jimbo & Kano did a workshop where you made your own computer and did coding afterwards.
So after the necessary introduction, the day got underway. As a workshop leader, sometimes the computers you get allocated get taken by more popular workshops – well the Minecraft dudes took two of our computers which left us with only one. I think the same happened with the Scratch and less popular Web Page Design and Processing. That how’s it goes sometimes but it was only for the first session. I think we need to work on the ticketing system for future Jams, though. Some of the team suggested that we should reduce the range of workshops if we have so limited access to monitors/space but others said it was refreshing to have different choices.
A boy called Joel said that he wanted to do the Physical Computing so I sat down with him and we read through the sheet and set up an awesome circuit on the breadboard which we then made blink using Scratch 7 plus. Once we’d done that we had a look at the Python coding for it and miraculously we managed to do it without any problems. For the last bit of the session, Hacker Jimbo set me and Joel a challenge – to make the LED flash at a heartbeat rate. We managed to work this out by copying our code and changing how long the pauses between each flash should last.
After a short break, I had my three computers back. Me and Hacker Jimbo worked with another five young people. Some parts of the session were quite funny because we put really big values into the code, making our circuits go crazy and this made us all laugh. I really enjoyed the afternoon and it was good preparation for my Mozfest workshop in November.
It turned out to be a great success. We had a 82% turn out with 72 participants. Fifty per cent of our attendees were from Autism/Tourette’s Syndrome families. Mum said lots of the parents thought the event was fantastic and they’d learnt so much about coding and physical computing and many asked about the next event. The young participants seemed to have really enjoyed themselves too – some wanted to carry on at the end. The Raspberry Pis we had were a bit unpredictable but that was probably because the chargers didn’t give out enough power and the library had to raid their offices for keyboard/mouse sets with USB cables. However, we overcame those problems to deliver a great afternoon of workshops.
Thanks to all the workshop leaders – Marc, Frank, Hacker Jimbo, Derek, Paul, Maggie, David, Wing, Zak, Louis & Yasmin
Thanks to the young coding mentors – Sorrel, Thomas & Israel
Thanks to our volunteer helpers – Nicola, Joel, Chris & Zarina,
Thanks to Osper for their amazing donation that paid for our Lapdocks and for coming down to enjoy the day with us (Sandy & Alan)
Thanks to Alec & Matthew from Kano for telling us about how they started up through a very successful Kickstarter and for running their workshop that almost all our participants attended. They have also donated 3 Kano computer kits, which we will be using in our Code Club. Awesome! My computer teacher, Mr Perkins, came along and really liked Kano – so I’ll see if I can take one of the kits to show the other students in my ICT club.
Finally a massive thank you all those in the Raspberry Pi, Python and Coding community who have supported us from the very beginning. Below is a list of our contributors, donators, sponsors and partners. There are so many others such as Andy from Southend Raspberry Jam, Cat Lamin and Hannah Mills. So if we have missed anyone out, we apologise but you know we appreciate your support too.
M Andersson, P Chamberlin, N Newman, J Foord, Fedecarg, B Orgles, S Connor, G Nwosu, P Winstanley, N & M Sculpthorpe, A Neville, J Roberts, L Pounder, M Horn, U Scubajim, D Sear, A Berou, J Menzinger, C Rixson, M Sarkar, Art and Science, B Cal, Mila Martins-Volpi, S Joesphs and many anonymous donators
Lewisham Libraries advocates of Common Libraries.
Tourette’s Action works in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and is the leading support and research charity for people with Tourette’s Syndrome and their families.
Gallery of Photos – taken by Monica Rubio