Monthly Archives: March 2014

Inspiring the digital creators of tomorrow with a Raspberry Jam for KS3 students

This week over 50 students and adults joined together at an event themed around Play-Hack-Share, hosted by Andrew Marvell College.  

IMG_0573  IMG_0580

We welcomed back Alan to the city, who challenged teams with an array of Computing projects throughout the day, with more opportunities to see ‘pedagogy in practice‘.  Hear his podcast from the day here.

IMG_0570The evaluation comments toward the end of this post will go some way to summarise how the session inspired and supported with next steps towards

‘Supporting an inspiring and engaging Computing curriculum in Hull’.

IMG_0494  IMG_0500

IMG_0568 IMG_0582

Throughout the day the students (and their teachers) worked in teams to solve hack day challenges, with activities planned to support collaboration and problem solving.  


Teams of children, teachers and STEM Ambassadors collaborated on the following:

  • Coffee Cup – what is exactly in there and why?!
  • Raspberry Pi Inventors – crazy ideas
  • Marble Racing – game hacking
  • Sabotage – debugging
  • Games Creation with Scratch, Python & Pygame
  • Minecraft – play, hack & share
  • Monk Makes – electronic experiments

IMG_0497  IMG_0529

First things first, which one word did they use to describe a Raspberry Pi?


What was the best thing about the day?  What did the students enjoy the most?

  • Working with other students and helping due to my previous knowledge
  • Programming the computer to ask a question and answer it with simple commands
  • The fact that we could talk to other schools and find out their knowledge
  • Doing Minecraft stuff and meeting other schools
  • When  we did the electronics stuff because it was a fun way to learn
  • Interacting with students for the activities and meeting other students
  • We got to hack lots and lots of games
  • Attempting the engineering of the Pi.  Furthermore I enjoyed the participation part instead of doing the same lessons as usual
  • I enjoyed everything today
  • Hacking the games and programming them
  • Getting the computer to talk and talk back to it.  I also liked the games like Wormy
  • The kit assembly and hacking the Python games
  • Hacking different games to make them my own
  • Minecraft programming and editing

IMG_0509  IMG_0521

Will the students be inspired to check out any ideas after the event?

  • I’ll try setting up Python on Twitter
  • I have been inspired to delve into more challenging tasks
  • I will try hacking on my own Raspberry Pi
  • I will try to do more coding
  • I will hack boring games to make them better games
  • I will try to make different things with Minecraft
  • I might buy a Raspberry Pi
  • I will create my own game

IMG_0529 IMG_0526

EVERY student attending said they’d recommend the day to their peers, but why?

17 students used the word ‘fun’ when asked to comment about their recommendation.  Examples below of how they’d describe their ‘Computer Science day’ to others:

  • It’s good to socialise with others
  • Because you can learn a lot and it is enjoyable
  • I learnt loads today
  • The easiness of the coding
  • It’s fun meeting others and new people
  • It’s fun and exciting
  • Because it’s lots of fun and educational
  • Fantastic day!
  • Because it involved the audience with everything
  • It’s inspiring
  • It gives you a lot of detail about Pi!
  • Because it was really interesting and fun

IMG_0558 IMG_0562IMG_0563 IMG_0573

What about the adults? What did they like best?

  • Challenging the children to modify code
  • Basically every activity presented today with hands-on experience
  • Variation of activities and the way it was presented
  • Hands-on session with Python and Raspberry Pi.  Good to see how pupils interact with Python and Pi
  • Format and nature of the activities
  • Learning something new
  • Alan was fantastic and really allowed the day to flow well and be engaging for students
  • Spending 1:1 time learning with pupil
  • Excellent day for staff development and pupils
  • All schools should have chance to participate in similar events
  • Fluid hacking, multiple projects and teamwork
  • Alan’s delivery

IMG_0536  IMG_0578

Huge thanks to the teachers at Andrew Marvell College who helped to organise such an exciting event and special mention to their students from the Pi Club.

This group worked tirelessly during the day (and the previous afternoon!) to capture the activities with their Raspberry Pi Spycams and coding for timelapse.  

Here they are showcasing their Karaoke project to students from another school interested to hear more for their own club 🙂

IMG_0532  IMG_0533

Spycam at the Jam

We’re grateful to Andrew Marvell’s Pi Club students who have now uploaded their time-lapse photography project from the Jam  (with special thanks to Mr Routledge!).

But how did they film without us knowing all of the time?


Here they are on their special mission to install a Pi and a camera on the balcony the previous afternoon.  Notice the time on the clock that they were adamant they had to get the coding right and were in no rush to go home until it was ‘mission accomplished‘.

IMG_0498    IMG_0505

With the fixed camera in place, the mobile camera crews tested their devices on the morning of the Jam and tried to stay incognito.

“Think you know what’s in my cup?”

Raspberry Pi Inventors – Crazy ideas (or not?!)

Students from Y7-Y10 worked with adults at the recent Jam to invent the craziest inventions with Raspberry Pi.  

They considered everyday situations and challenged each other to find new solutions using sensors and thinking about unusual locations.  Listen to some of the students describing their inventions for Alan’s podcast here.

IMG_0490 IMG_0482 IMG_0494

A personal favourite and perhaps the most ambitious?

The ‘Anti Jaffa Cake Theft Device‘.  Using a Pi and a movement sensor hidden in the jaffa cake, a wind turbine pops up if anybody tampers with the cake and blows the thief away.

A bit extreme?  The team motto was ‘Go big or go home!

IMG_0491     IMG_0492

Or how about a motion sensor inside of you that could send a photograph to Twitter when you hear music?   Dad-dancing alarm?

Here are a couple more examples from Alan’s Twitter feed:

Hmm… Not sure how useful this invention might be. @ITAMCHull Hull #rjam

iPad Academy in Hull – Supporting teachers with tools to demonstrate and evidence student progress

iPad Academy in Hull 2nd Event

Date and times: 1st April 1pm – 3:30 and twilight session 3:45 – 4:45pm

Host school:  Winifred Holtby Academy, Midmere Avenue, Hull HU7 4PW

Join us again as we recap on the impact of the tools showcased at the first iPad Academy, to support literacy development, and focus on evidencing and demonstrating student progress using iPad tools.

Neil Skipper will again be leading the iPad Academy sessions as our Apple ‘APD’ Authorised Trainer, with an agenda tailored to meet our fundamental aim shared in January:

To create a teaching network to facilitate innovation and creativity with iPad, with a priority to improve the quality of teaching & learning.”


The afternoon session will facilitate the collaborative approach to share vision and ideas that teachers found useful at the first event.   We’ve also added more workshop time to consider individual priorities, intended outcomes and action plans.

There’ll be hands-on activity time to work together to plan and link themes with colleagues from other schools.

For this event we’re grateful to the individual teachers at Winifred Holtby Academy who will be sharing a series of ‘project snapshots‘.

We’ll use these school-based examples to start our collaborative planning with iPad tools to support evidencing student progress:

  • Coaching and mentoring teacher programme using iPods and Iris
  • Theme-based learning project using Explain everything
  • Supporting assessment and individualised learning with Edmodo
  • Reinforcing Science skills and evidencing progress with iMovie
  • Evidencing a portfolio of activity in Technology using Creative Book Builder
  • Improving personal performance in PE using video analysis with Ubersense
  • Focussing on student behaviour through positive rewards with Class dojo

The twilight session between 3.45pm – 4.45pm will focus on how to setup and manage iOS devices in an educational context.  Teachers have requested that we include coverage of a base set of Apps and consider a ‘toolkit for teachers’ when implementing these technologies in a learning setting.

Look forward to sharing ideas with you again at either session, or both!

Don’t forget to email Neil or Russell with your intention to join us.


How is ‘the Cloud’ supporting Home Tuition for Children with Medical Needs?

The Home Tuition Service for Children with Medical Needs has started to evaluate how Office 365 and RM Unify can be used to enhance and extend their students’ learning.  

Their fundamental aim is to maximise the ‘learning time’ for students and to see how the online resources and tools can support their learning and teaching provision.

Here’s how they’ve planned to evaluate the resources to meet educational priorities:

Supporting individualised learning

  • Quick secure access for students and adults to commonly used web resources via RM Unify
  • Students can hand in work and tutors comment upon and mark it using Document libraries.

Supporting literacy and independent reading

  • Easy and engaging access for students to relevant books using RM Books

Sharing and collaborating

  • Students can access and engage with tasks anytime-anywhere using Office 365 Team Sites
  • Tutors and students can communicate outside set contact times using discussions and Newsfeeds

We look forward to learning more about the impact of their project.

Animation 14 – the deadline is approaching :)

Just a quick reminder that one minute animations, created by 7 – 19 year old students, need to be submitted by 28th March 2014.

Animation 14

For more details, click here for an earlier blog post or go to the Animation 14 site itself for resources and guidelines.

Some students are using a range of software during enrichment activities, including Scratch and Adobe Flash, which could be eligible for entry.   Each student will receive a certificate if their entry is submitted.  Check out the website for further details about the Awards Day in July and prizes for each category.

Good luck!