Family Hack Jam 30th Jan

Family Hack Jam with Alan O’Donohoe

After a very long day at school yesterday I left at 4.30 and drove for an hour and half to Stourbridge to join Alan O’Donohoe at a Family Hack Jam being run as part of his Jam Packed Roadshow.


Alan is a larger-than-life passionate IT teacher who has a really engaging way with everyone he works with. The evening was based around writing either a game in Scratch or an interactive story using Twine with people in small teams. The evening started with a short game which set the context for the rest of the evening. I was really impressed with the way that Alan simply gave people the time to experiment and develop an idea through to an end product. I was one of the judges and helped give the scores at the end of the evening. It was a really pleasant evening with a good number of people attending.

The welcome and friendliness of the staff and students from Pedmore Technology College was great and they really made everyone feel welcome and encouraged to take part.





A very nice way to end the week seeing families of all ages working hard on developing an idea.



BETT 2015 - a great day out

After a very early start and catching the 6.20 train to London I found myself at ExCel London full of anticipation for the day ahead at BETT.

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It was really great catching up with the team from FUZE and seeing some of the resources I had written being used in the real world!


At 11.00 I presented a short talk on the Raspberry Pi based work I am doing at my school. I was really good to be able to share some of the things we are doing with both students in the school and through wider outreach work.




Overall the day was really productive and I had some very good conversations with a number of companies and organisations. It always surprises me how many tech companies I know. I had a great chat with Teknoteacher (Alan O’Donohoe) about Raspberry Pi’s, laptops, JamPacked Roadshow, Python and life.


A couple more photos of the Raspberry Pi stand

At the end of the day I decided that as we were relatively close to Stratford I would pop over to the Olympic Park as I hadn’t seen it before.




Minecraft Pi club

Something very interesting happened at Raspberry Pi Minecraft club last week. ...

KESH minecraft

Minecraft Raspberry Pi club has been running at school for just over two terms now. After introducing the students to the Raspberry Pi and learning how to set them up we embarked on a series of projects based on resources which can be found here.

Initially the idea would be that we would spend 20 minutes ‘playing’ on Minecraft, followed by 20 minutes doing a simple piece of practice code and then 20 minutes having fun.

After Christmas I was interested to see what would happen if they were just given time to ‘play’. It was at this time that I networked all the PI’s so that they could do some multiplayer Minecraft.

The results were really surprising and shocked me. The students were really quick to ask me where the project cards were as they wanted to do different specific tasks with the code rather than just play. The best bit was when students started showing me how they had adapted the code to do a specific task.

One of my main aims with the Raspberry Pi club is to help students develop the skills to become independent learners. It looks very much like this is happening!


Protocam+ review







The ProtoCam+ is great little prototyping board for the Raspberry Pi model A+ and also fits nicely on the B+. Assembly is relatively simple (simply solder the extended GPIO header onto the board) and then you are read to prototype. In the photos above I soldered three jumbo LEDs to the board and then used short lengths of cable on the reverse.

Once the prototype has been built it is then a simple job of attaching the camera module to the board. In my example I have attached three LEDs to show the status of a time-lapse sequence.

Key features:

  • Camera is mounted as part of the large prototyping surface
  • Full access to the 40 GPIO pins
  • 0, 3V and 5V power rails
  • The camera mounts onto the rear of the board with the lens pushed through a hole
  • Covers the entire surface of the A+ Pi
  • Fils neatly onto the B+ Pi
  • Comes with a short 85mm camera cable which folds under the board neatly
  • Nearly 300 connections available in lines of 3 or 4

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Kickstarter page


Flotilla for Raspberry Pi

Something very exciting is on the way from Pimoroni Ltd.

Image from Kickstarter page

Flotilla may be the next breakthrough device that helps jumpstart the making revolution in the classroom.

Flotilla is a range of smart, friendly, and affordable modules which you connect together to create amazing projects which sense and react to the world around them.Powered by your Raspberry PiThe first true plug and play hardware project kitGo from absolute beginner to ninja-MakerMade, with love, in the UKWe've blended smart widgets and even smarter software to make Flotilla friendly for everyone; from complete beginners to savvy Makers. Flotilla helps you make reactive and interactive projects - a robot, digital pet, weather station, anything you can think of!

Check out their page today and support this really great project.


Eric the Easy to Solder Robot

Eric the Easy-to-solder Robot

Firstly, a huge thanks to for sending me Eric the Easy-to-solder Robot. I want to introduce a soldering project to my Raspberry Pi club at school and Eric will be the starting point.

Eric comes from Andrew Gale who also made the awesome Raspberry Pi LED Christmas tree at the end of last year.

Eric the easy to solder robot

Eric the easy to solder robot

Eric the easy to solder robot

Eric the easy to solder robot

Eric the easy to solder robot

Eric the easy to solder robot

Eric the easy to solder robot

Eric the easy to solder robot

Eric is relatively simple to solder with 13 joints to solder. This is a great first project for students to start with. The majority of the soldering joints are well spaced apart and are easy to reach. The price for the kit (around £2) is very reasonable.

I am very much looking forward to trying this with my group.


BETT 2015

BETT 2015 Raspberry Pi Schedule

From Wednesday 21st - Saturday 24th January 2015 the Raspberry Pi Foundation will be delivering nearly 50 talks and workshops on their stand at BETT.

The full list of talks can be found here.

There is a really great range of talks on offer and I would really recommend getting along if you can.

I am very excited that I will be presenting a short talk on the work I have been doing at KESH Academy on using the Raspberry Pi in both clubs and through outreach work.

Unicorn Hat camera

Things to do with a Unicorn Hat

You may have seen in an earlier post that I got the Unicorn Hat from Pimoroni for Christmas. With a spare hour this evening I had a quick think about a fun project using this display.

Introducing the Unicorn Camera.

Combining the Raspberry Pi camera running a simple time-lapse program and the Unicorn Hat I made a very simple camera with flash function.

The display shows you:

  • How many frames you have selected
  • The status of the flash (on or off)
  • A warning before the sequence starts
  • The frame number after each photo
  • Confirmation that the sequence has ended

The code for the project can be found here on github

The scrolling text will require the UnicornHat Scrolling text code from

The code is customisable to vary the number of frames and the interval between each frame.

You must create a folder in your /home/pi directory called photo-output
I have set the hat brightness at 0.4 for both safety and power reasons.

Please leave a comment below.