Leeds Raspberry Jam – December 2015 

Another Raspberry Jam, opening the doors with our friends at Swallow Hill Community College, to their community and an open invite to everyone interested in learning together with Raspberry Pi.

As we move through the months with our regular diary fixture, it’s lovely to see how we’re using the time, space and community to learn what we want to learn and share what we can. Perhaps more pertinent is the chance to learn what’s possible to learn and building the confidence to create it.

With such a diverse range of interests, backgrounds and specialisms joining together we’ve realised that anything’s possible if we ask the right question. Or to find out what that question should be.

Collaborations and support between software & hardware developers (work wise or through outside interest), teachers, children, technical, IOT & data specialists, members of the Raspberry Pi community (old & newbie) and families lend themselves to a warm and informal space in which to explore.

Decembe Jam
Sharing plans
And that’s also the welcome for people coming along for the first time to see what’s on offer and what’s possible for them. Drop in and find out!

We plan a workshop activity and bring along resources and kit to share, but there’s always a choice to make and some prefer to make progress on an existing project.

This month we set up Sense Hats from the Astro-Pi project on our Raspberry Pi mini computers. With the timing of Tim Peake’s imminent launch with the Principia mission, it’s exciting times.

A game making start to the Jam
Fantastic to see how this project created endless opportunities to explore. For some it was the IOT and data element that was of interest, for some teachers it was STEM creativity ideas and for most it was a time to use the same tech that was about to launch to board the ISS – wow!


For our youngest member it was the spark to tempt him away from his Scratch comfort zone (more expert zone) and rig up the sense hat with Python. That also gave us an opportunity to get mischievous with the sensors!

Show ‘n’ Ask
And in what’s become the traditional ‘Leeds Raspberry Pi-Hi’ there’s time at the end to share projects and discoveries…….”Here’s what I did with my sense hat”.

LEDs, camera, action
We also discovered the delights of activities linking Raspberry Pi & electronics with Chris. Those first time LED moments are memorable; from that we also tinkered with lights, lanterns and festive decorations.  No expense spared here with a light triggered in a coffee cup!

Strictly live at the Jam!
Our returning media moguls came with a variety of projects suitable for every media eventuality. We took a peek at their live streaming set up and even managed a few minutes of It Takes Two 💃

Also of interest to the group were the opportunities for music selection with an intuitive set up using Sonic Pi.  No festive tunes though, only the selection chosen by our developers.

Leeds Jam playlist in the pipeline, me thinks?


A PiZero’s not just for Christmas!
Of course with the best laid plans come the finest Plan Bs and sometimes with the most exciting surprises, so I’m never too precious about my planned workshops! This time it was in the form of the PiZero launch, it’s possibilities and the chance to ditch a formal activity and plan.

We were lucky enough to gain some sponsorship for a festive raffle and here’s one of our young members sharing her excitement at winning her very own PiZero.

She’ll be back next month to share a project that she’ll plan with her dad (rumour has it that he’s hacked his own Space Invaders game with a Pi – next month too?).

Should’ve known we’d have some creative examples of self-built PiZero cases coming through the doors last week!

Lego One
Great to see ideas and inspirations sparked through chat around such a small computer to ignite big ambitions.

Lego Two
What’s coming next through the doors?  I have no predictions – I still stand by describing a Raspberry Jam as an exciting episode of the Antiques Roadshow!

Lego Three
So what’s the plan for next month?

It’s the first Wednesday of the month again at Swallow Hill Community College in West Leeds. Grab a free ticket by registering here for Wednesday 6th January 2016.

Sharing plans
I’ll add a workshop for those who want to learn together and I know already there’ll be a couple of new projects unveiled for the first time.  I’ve added a piano top to my wish list so might tinker with that and we’ll have returning friends with reviews and thoughts on Minecraft resources.

As ever there’ll be Raspberry Pi to set up for the first time to explore what it’s all about and space and friendly guidance should you join us with a project to move forward.

See you next year 😄

Link to full photo gallery

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