Thank you to all who attended Raspberry Jam! For those who didn’t, here is a taste of what you missed!
Midphase loves all things Raspberry Pi, especially how it brings fun to education. On May 19th, 2015 we participated in a local community Raspberry Jam, hosted by an up and coming organization that is looking to help the area maker movement.
For those not familiar with the maker movement- it represents a recent trend of groups or individuals creating and making products out of raw materials, discarded or unused parts and small electronic devices. Raspberry Pi has been a primary tool to innovate and educate makers from around the world.
The small outboard computer serves many purposes from games and coding to robotics, music and light shows. It’s inexpensive design and easy-to-use interface is great for projects of all shapes and sizes created by individuals of all ages.
What is a Raspberry Jam?
Cache Valley Raspberry Jam, is an event which brings Raspberry Pi enthusiasts together to share their knowledge, ideas and ongoing projects. The official Raspberry Pi website says:
“Raspberry Jams are events organised by the community to share knowledge, learn new things, and meet other Pi enthusiasts. They’re a great way to find out more about the Raspberry Pi and what you can do with it, and to find like-minded people.”
Read about past Raspberry Jams in “We Came, We Jammed, We Conquered!”
We met at Wilson Elementary School, a local school interested in STEAM education (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math). At the school, we talked all things gizmos, gadgets and a whole lot of Minecraft. We asked Winni, a 9-year-old Raspberry Jam regular, what she thought of the event as she plugged a credit card-sized Raspberry Pi into a mouse and screen:
“I don’t know a lot about Raspberry Pi yet- like how to code, but I know that in a few years when I am older I will know how to. Right now I just like to play the games.”
To Winni, learning to code is just as central to her education as long division and spelling. Thanks to Raspberry Pi and events like this one, schools have access to inexpensive tools that can be used to promote STEAM topics to elementary aged children.
Another young man, age 8, explained to his 3-year-old brother the importance of typing commands exactly as they appear in the instructions:
“You have to put a space right there or the Raspberry Pi doesn’t know what you want it to do. The space is really important!”
Other young players offered expert Minecraft advice to adults less familiar with the game:
“When you use a Raspberry Pi for Minecraft it’s lots easier. You can play in creator mode and build giant towers! And when you jump off you don’t even die.”
Raspberry Pi is not only for children though! We saw some pretty excited adults win some awesome prizes during the raffle. One winner admitted that he wasn’t sure what to do with his new Raspberry Pi A+ but was ready to get started after getting a few tips from a visiting Raspberry Pi Evangelist, Matt Richardson. Matt flew all the way from Raspberry Pi in San Francisco to participate in our Jam and to share his invaluable Raspberry Pi wisdom with us all.
This second event was hugely popular. Attendance figures have skyrocketed since our first Raspberry Jam, moving from a single classroom to the entire gymnasium. The event’s founder, Cody Erekson is looking to expand the maker experience across the community with his new foundation, Bridgerland Area Maker Movement, or BAMM. He and all involved have hopes that Raspberry Jams can provide the exposure needed to raise awareness and involvement in local maker projects to further the STEAM education to our youth. Learn more about the BAMM mission here.
From winning great prizes to making new friends, our Jam was a complete success! Raspberry Jam gives experts a chance to teach some great kids, and for kids to teach the experts how to have fun. We would like to give everyone who participated and sponsored our event a big thank you and we can’t wait to see you all next time!
Keep up with Midphase.com/blog for more news about Raspberry Jams or sign up for the Cache Valley Raspberry Jam newsletter!