On the 30th January 2016 we held our first Kent Jam at the Gravesham Borough Council building. After a long and slow process of organising the event from before Christmas, the event went off without a major hitch. We had nearly all of the 50 tickets sold and a great turn out on the day.

After long conversations with the Southend and Covent Garden Jam organisers we finally decided on a Minecraft, Sonic Pi and Astro Pi workshop.

Hacking Minecraft with Python

The Minecraft workshop aimed to teach people the basics of python coding while still having the fun of playing a video game. Participants of the workshop were able to make personalised chat messages appear on the screen within the game and build blocks while the video game character walks around the Minecraft world. Along with making lava flow from blocks within the world at programmable rates. The participants had the chance to be taught by one of the authors of Adventures on Minecraft, (Available here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Adventures-Minecraft-David-Whale/dp/111894691X) David Whale (@whaleygeek).

Sonic Pi

Sonic Pi is a piece of software available on the Raspberry Pi allowing you to code music and sounds using Ruby. Participants of the workshop were able to learn some basic Ruby to live code music. We had the expertise of Andy (@SouthendTech), our expert who came all the way from Southend to help teach people how to code music within Sonic Pi.

Sonic Pi is now available to download for free at http://sonic-pi.net/ for Raspberry Pi, Mac OS X and Windows, with examples available at the same website.

Astro Pi

Tim Peake (British astronaut currently on the International Space Station), has taken two Astro Pis to the International Space Station carrying code written by school children. We had some Raspberry Pis with the same SenseHAT as the two Astro Pis taken to space, at the Kent Jam. The workshop was run and overseen by the amazing Nic Hughes (@duck_star) who taught the participants to code images to appear on the 8×8 RGB pixel display on the SenseHAT along with using the many sensors to change the images using movement or changes in the environment.

Later in the Jam we had talks, including one from Andy (@SouthendTech) about Tim Peake’s space mission and the competition which many school children entered in order to have their code run on the International Space Station. The talk was received by a very interested and engaged audience.

The SenseHAT is available here: http://swag.raspberrypi.org/collections/frontpage/products/raspberry-pi-sense-hat with worksheets to learn how to use the SenseHAT are available here: https://www.raspberrypi.org/learning/sense-hat-random-sparkles/worksheet/

10 year old tech blogger

Our final talk was presented by Femi Owolade-Coombes, a 10 year old who blogs about his technology experiences and his running of the South London Jam and Code Club. Femi’s blog can be viewed here: www.hackerfemo.com

Pi Wars Robots at First Kent Jam

Along with the three workshops and the two talks at the first Kent Jam we had some robots which took part in Pi Wars early in December. Everyone, young and old loved watching the robots move around the room and enjoyed having a go controlling some of the robots.

Thanks

I’d love to give a huge thanks to everyone who volunteered on the day to make the Jam as much of a success as it was. Along with a huge thanks to everyone who spread the word around about the first Kent Jam and helped with the planning of the event.

I’d like the give a special thanks to Dorine Flies (@DorineFlies) and David Whale (@whaleygeek) for providing the majority of the Pis, monitors, keyboard, mice and Pi accessories as without you we wouldn’t have been able to run the workshops.

Next Event

We’ll be at the Dreamland Makers Fair on the 20th February 2016, more information available here: http://www.meetup.com/EPIK-UK/events/228138091/

The fair will feature a variety of stall holders including our Kent Jams stall promoting the future events to be held within Kent. On the day we will be providing a free DOTs boards activity which will be accessible to all ages from young to old.

So come and say hi and have a go at our DOTs board activity.

Videos thanks to picobot.net

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