Jam Packed roadshow, to tour up North

Those of you who follow my activity on twitter as @teknoteacher, may well have seen or heard me make recent reference to my latest project titled ‘Jam Packed’.

Jam Packed …is an 18 month programme with two main aims:

  1. To support the development of outstanding teachers of Computing
  2. To inspire & engage the digital creators of tomorrow.

Jam Packed is non-profit programme being funded in the main by grants from the DfE, The Raspberry Pi Foundation, and RM Education limited as well as a number of other organisations. I will shortly have a website that I can direct you to for more information, but while the website is in development, I am appealing to readers of this blog to recommend locations that we should bring our roadshow to.

I’ll start by giving you a brief overview of what is on offer, and then I’m asking you to suggest schools and geographical areas that are the most likely to benefit from this project.

Jam Packed is a two day computing festival for your community. It takes place on Friday and Saturday and offers three different events for teachers, pupils, schools, families and local community. There is no cost to the host school or participants for taking part, our grant funding covers all of our costs.

After agreeing the dates with host secondary schools, and identifying the groups of pupils most likely to benefit (100 – 300 pupils), we start planning and promoting the events among the community.

Hack To The Future: On the Friday of Jam Packed, we plan and lead a Hack To The Future event at a host secondary school. The main beneficiaries are the teachers and pupils from the host school, but we extend the offer to teachers and pupils from other schools as well. For example, groups from local primary schools may visit for all or part of the day. Teachers from other schools are welcome for as long as they can stay. We plan for a range of workshops & activities and appeal to those working/studying in the digital sector to support our workshops, eg. computer science students, software developers etc. You can [watch a Hack To The Future film here] originally commissioned by BBC Learning

Family Hack Jam: On the Friday evening, we invite families from the community to compete in a 3 hour hackathon. No previous experience is required, we provide a basic introduction to problem solving using Computing tools and then ask the teams to collaborate to create a solution to the problem. This is then followed by presentations and prize giving. This [blog post] and [short film] give a flavour of a family hack jam.

Raspberry Jam: On the Saturday, we then use the host school as a base for a Raspberry Jam event to which we invite anyone with a passion or interest in Computing to join in. The Raspberry Jam offers a blend of workshops, demonstrations, talks and exhibitions. This [TalkTalk film gives a taster of a Raspberry Jam event]

If you have previously considered planning an event to inspire and engage learners in Computing, but have not yet managed to do so, this would be a fantastic opportunity for your school. It acts as a great catalyst to generate excitement in Computing in your community.

Priorities The Jam Packed roadshow will prioritise schools in areas where there are high proportions of pupil premium and lack of opportunities for communities to participate in. At the time of writing this, we have agreed 4 host schools, which leaves a remaining 14 potential locations for us to visit. For practical reasons, we are seeking locations from the Midlands up to the Scottish Borders and coast to coast – but if you can put forward a compelling argument for another location we are prepared to consider it.

Like to know more? The event pages for our first six events (in Hull and Eccles, Manchester) [are here online], and as our programme becomes finalised future events will appear here. You’re welcome to join us at one of these, or if you know you can’t but want to watch from afar, register as a ‘lurker‘ with absolutely no commitment level required.

#TeachComputing Webinars: You may also have seen that there will be 28 free online webinars offering CPD for Computing teachers which form part of our Jam Packed roadshow. To find out more or register, [visit this page].

Dates: These are the dates I currently have available for Jam Packed until the end of March 2015. To avoid disappointment, contact me now to start discussing availability & eligibility.
5th & 6th Dec, 12th & 13th Dec,

9th & 10th Jan, 30th & 31st Jan,

13th & 14th Feb,

20th & 21st Mar, 27th & 28th Mar

Please post questions/messages/comments here.

17 Comments Add yours

  1. susanbayes says:

    If you fancy a trip to the South West, we’d be very interested in hosting an event at UTC Plymouth 🙂


    1. teknoteacher says:

      Susan, I’d love to take Jam Packed on tour to the South West, but unfortunately it’s not in our current plans due to practicalities. I know that the Raspberry Pi Foundation have discussed holding a #Picademy in the South West in the past, it might be more fruitful to chase these up. I believe that their CEO Lance lives in the South West.


      1. susanbayes says:

        Hi thanks for the reply Alan, just exploring blogs for an ICT class. One of our teachers lives in the same village as him so she’s trying to wrangle meeting up to invite him in but I may be cheeky and send an email 🙂


  2. Paul says:

    Hi Alan,

    Would be great for our school in northumberland. We are a lead school for cas so would help support work we are doing.




    1. teknoteacher says:

      Paul, I would be interested in running these events in Northumberland. We’re already in discussions with a school in Darlington. Send me more details about your school and why it might make an ideal venue to host these events.


  3. Jenni Wright says:

    Hi, I would be interested in getting involved and or hosting. My school is a secondary school in St Helens, Merseyside..


    1. teknoteacher says:

      I’m particularly keen to hold some of these events in Merseyside. Please get in touch with more details about your school and why you think it would be ideal.


  4. Tina Watson says:

    This looks great. I am an EdTech practitioner working in a primary school in SE London. I would be interested in getting our neighbouring secondary school to host this in conjunction with us. Is this feasible or are you only accepting school in the north & midlands?
    Tina Watson


    1. teknoteacher says:

      When we applied for our grant funding, we specified that we would be working in the North and Midlands as there was less activity happening there than in other major cities. I’m not sure our grant funding would allow us to offer the same free events in London. However, all of the resources and activities we plan will be shared for others to use for their own events. I’m regularly working in London and hope to be there for BETT. We can arrange to meet up if you’d like some help to organise something like this in your community.


  5. Lucy says:

    Alan, I would be very interested in holding an event at my school in Chester. Are you still looking for host schools?


    1. teknoteacher says:

      Yes, we’re still looking for host schools, particularly schools with high proportions of pupil premium. We have about 4 spaces left at the time of writing this reply.


  6. Lou says:

    If you apply to be a host school, what are the technical requirements in terms of hardware, space, facilities etc?


    1. teknoteacher says:

      Ideally your school would have space to accommodate 100-150 participants either in one large space like a sports hall or assembly hall, alternatively in classrooms located near each other. We’ve already got enough hardware for about 120 participants, laptops and Raspberry Pi computers. If you have computer rooms available, we’d look to make use of those where possible. We also expect to make use of the building on the Friday (for your school’s pupils plus a few from local schools if space/facilities allow), the Friday evening for families from your school and local community and the Saturday for anyone with an interest in Raspberry Pi to attend. I hope this answers everything.


  7. Graham Bray says:

    Hi – Jill Hodges from Fire Tech has passed your link to me – looks very exciting! If you ever do decide to venture south then we’d love to be a host school here in East Sussex.


    1. teknoteacher says:

      Graham, I’m afraid we are predominantly focusing our activity in the North and Midlands for the next 12 months or so. All of the resources we prepare and event activities will be shared freely online through blog posts. I’m hoping that others will be inspired to have a go at organising their own events. Have you registered for any of the free TeachComputing webinars? In the webinars, I’ve been sharing the resources we’re using and explaining approached to using them.


  8. Lucy Mbofana says:

    Hi Alan.

    This sounds very interesting. I have been informed that these events are so beneficial to both students and teachers. Is there any possibility we can arrange an event at my school in Hampshire. There may be other schools interested too. Also, do you have some resources for the Raspberry Pi’s? We are trying to put together a scheme of work ready for the inroduction of Pi’s.

    Many thanks


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