Digital Making at #MakeBelieve

I learnt a lot on Saturday.  With every maker event there are opportunities for collaborations and family learning activities, and this weekend’s #MakeBelieve focus was about young people imagining the tech of the future.

That saw paired projects with peers, intergenerational activities and individual inspirations and inventions at Leeds City Museum – all part of the awesome programme from the Leeds International Festival, and curated by Playful Leeds.

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We transported Leeds Raspberry Jam to the festival with a range of family-friendly challenges.

Digital making projects using Raspberry Pi included Minecraft hacks with Python, gaming with Scratch and exploring connections with GPIO.

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With imagination as the catalyst for invention, it was great to see how challenges progressed and digital stories changed directions with questions and input from others; not necessarily from a coding perspective.

We also had examples of projects from the group of digital makers at Swallow Hill, who have been making Yorkshire-themed robots and taking inspiration from the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s #Pioneers programme.

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So what did I learn?  On reflection later that evening, and catching up with the day’s news:

I want to bring back my imagination and gawp at the future like a child again.  And then I’ll reflect like an adult.  And then as a child.  And as an inventor.  I’ll reflect on them all as inspiration and insight, thanks.


Big Tech Vs Big Brother: how do you view technology? FT link 29.04.17


Shout out to Playful Anywhere for inviting us along and curating a Maker event in Leeds for, literally, everyone.  Through the eyes of the children and their inventions, I came away with so many ideas.

And to @BloodyNoraDJ for the images taken on the day – every one a unique maker story 😀


Easter Ninja Hack: Maker ‘Make Do’

That moment when you realise it’s far too late for anything other than make do.

And a late request from Jr for paint for the school’s annual egg paint challenge turns up nothing but black paint.  And it’s electric paint at that.


But then, every cloud………

And every ninja…….


Has potential for a Makey Makey hack.

No bananas were injured in this project 🍌 🍌🍌


Wondered about the wonders of Pi? STEM to STEAM just got large scale in Hull!

Raspberry Jams are community events organised to support knowledge share, learning new skills, gleaning new ideas and meeting other like-minded digital makers using Raspberry Pi.

In Raspberry Jam group in Hull continues to grow and expand with new ideas and new projects.  This month we held our first event in the city centre.


The first Raspberry Jam in Hull was hosted at Kingswood Academy in November 2014. Since then, Malet Lambert became hosts in April 2016 and the most recent event was held at Central Library on Albion Street.

This city centre location has allowed us to test out a new low power network being installed across Hull, as part of the Connected Hull project, and to launch some additional exciting STEM challenges.


More details to follow soon…watch this space.


Details of the next Raspberry Jam event?

Join us in Hull to make, learn, share, tinker and invent together at the next Raspberry Jam on Saturday 22 April 2017.


Everybody’s welcome, with or without your own mini computer, and it’ll be a great way to find out more about the wonders of Raspberry Pi.

Hull Raspberry Jam, September 2016

Another great community learning event when over 80 people registered, and this time planned with more support for a wider array of digital making projects.

We were joined by friends from GPIO and Code Club  who added to the workshop programme and gave more opportunities for hands-on learning, collaborating and networking.

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Highlights above from Trevor’s ‘Introduction to GPIO – Hello World in lights’ workshop and creative inventions from the ‘Wearable wonders with Codebug‘ activity.

Great also to see projects used before the Summer inspiring new challenges away from the Jam, and bringing them back to share with others.

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With that, peer to peer collaborations focused on IOT using the Pimoroni Flotilla packs and MinecraftPi builds continue to inspire our younger members.

The hackspace gives the chance to work on individual robot projects and we also had a couple working on a flight simulation digital making piece using Scratch on the Pi.

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We shared our ‘Do not feed the bears’ project, demonstrating text to speech and an intro to capacitive touch with Bare Conductive’s PiCap using Python on the Raspberry Pi.

So much more code and tools to explore for next time 🙂

Sharing ideas and resources, along with a chance to catch up, are all part of the spirit of the Jams.

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And great to see our Jam library expanding and being used 📚

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Hands-on training from Victoria, our regional Code Club coordinator, for volunteers about to launch a club for 9-11 yr olds and an overview for those planning to offer a club:


Great to be able to use our Codebug devices (thanks again CPC!) and offer a practical session as a starter to the wonders with wearables.

We’ll continue to develop opportunities to extend digital making activities for everybody coming along to Malet Lambert.

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Look closely and you’ll see some of our younger members helping others to write and download the code onto the device.  We do say we’re all learning together!

Below is a snippet of Anne’s #TedBot8 project that she’s been nurturing with her grand daughter over the Summer.  Inspiration comes from a film and together they’re building the project and creating a guide which we’re looking forward to seeing next.

Big shout out to our friends from Huddersfield Raspberry Jam who came to support and inspire, then set off on a Jam Coast to Coast journey to finish their Saturday in Blackpool.


Last we heard from them,  they’d arrived in time for the Blackpool Raspberry Jam birthday pizza 🍕.

Also to mention is Jon for his brilliant new logo for Hull Raspberry Jam. With a backdrop of Amy and Jason we’re looking forward to more digital making projects and STEM to STEAM collaborations across the city :


Leeds Raspberry Jam September ’16

An introduction to IOT or programming with Python?

Our ‘Sensing the Environment’ workshop gave opportunities to explore data logging, RGB values through animations and smart citizen applications using Raspberry Pi.

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Crazy lights:


Next Raspberry Jam will be at Swallow Hill on Wednesday 5th October.

Registration link here.


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.

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!

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!

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

Raspberry Jam in Leeds: Wednesday 4th November

Our second regular monthly Raspberry Jam and our friends at Swallow Hill Community College have given us a super collaboration space that we’re growing into.

Great to see returning faces, and robots, from last month collaborating with new people coming along to explore, share, inspire and ask questions.


Project Zone

We’re an expanding group of tech enthusiasts, creative minds, programmers, software developers, educators, library specialists and families; with or without a Raspberry Pi.

And all with questions to learn through computing, whether it’s to know what a Raspberry Pi is or to gain support and guidance to build a home surveillance, media system or build another solution.


There can never be too many robots at a Jam!

We’ll always be a drop-in space, to use as a hack-zone for projects, as well as offering the chance to work, share and learn together through hands-on workshop activities.

Activities at this month’s Jam?

Michael came along with Pi-Camera activities and resources from Pi-cademy to inspire creative ideas using the hardware with Python programming.

They do say a picture tells a thousand words:


Team (Hat) Photo Countdown


Selfie fun with Python

He also showed us a Pi plane tracking project and some of the younger Jammers became mesmerised by the flightpath of the Dusseldorf flight into Leeds/Bradford!


Tracking One – Flights

Chris showed us robot projects and plans to explore more add-ons in time, and also an IOT project looking at tracking connected systems in the house, such as heating efficiency and data:


Tracking Two – IOT


Light up hats


Roving robots

Paddy’s demo of what’s possible with Python Pi3D started us all thinking about what we’d like to explore at future Jams. Maybe a 3D night in the Spring?


Intro to Pi3D


Exploring graphics

Some of our younger gamers shared projects that they’d programmed from areas across the curriculum:


Chat Bot


Maths Bot


Pixel Bot

And our very own Geek Gran told us about her progression of Python programming using the Sense Hat during the evening’s Jam:


Coding the light-fantastic

What’s next, then?

Christmas Jam on Wednesday 2nd December.

(Free) ticket link here to register and we’ll have a festive theme, but I’ll need to work on the alliteration for the invite.

Needless to say, workshop activities will be based around the Sense Hat as we look at Tim Peake’s Principia Mission to the ISS with a couple of Raspberry Pi mini computers later in December.

And we’ll have paper craft activities to share with electric paint and circuit cards with a Yuletide theme. Alongside that there’ll be the usual boxes of projects to explore and library to extend resources and links.

#CodingChristmasCrackers – needs work 🙂

Full photo gallery here