Raspberry Jam/Jam Packed event – August 2015

Jam Packed Logo

Hi Folks,

I just want to make you aware that the Jam Packed Team will be running a Jam Packed/Raspberry Jam Event at Hamilton Grammar School, Hamilton, South Lanarkshire on Friday 28th, Saturday 29th August 2015.

Details are still being ironed out as to the exact format of the event however the proposed running order will be along the lines of…


Friday 28th morning – pupil workshops in the school for classes from within the school
Friday 28th afternoon – CPD for teachers on getting started with the Raspberry Pi in Learning and Teaching
Friday 28th evening – “Family Hack” – pupils and parents (any age, any school) can bring a laptop for some fun filled computing challenges as presented by the Jam Packed Team.

Raspberry Jam Logo

Saturday 29th August – Raspberry Jam
10.30am – 3.30pm

We will be hosting a Raspberry Jam event. So there will be:

  • Hack Spaces – come and <code> with friends
  • Workshops
    • Getting Started
    • Geocraft – Coding Minecraft for Raspberry Pi
    • Scratch
    • Hackasuarus
    • Sonic-Pi
    • much more… (Want to run a workshop?  let us know?)
  • Talks
    • We are planning to get some people to present their projects and explain what they’ve done and how?
    • Again, this is community driven.  So book a space to tell us what you have done.
  • Project Demonstations
    • Bring your projects and show us what you’ve done – let others have a go and share with other enthusiasts.

To control numbers all tickets for all events will be available via eventbrite.

For more information as it unfolds and follow the link to tickets from:

Jam Packed Book Now

The Jam Packed Team are being supported by RM and the Raspberry Pi Foundation to run these events.

RM Education_old_logo Raspberry Pi Foundation logo

So, please come along and help make this event a success. Please contact me if you’d like to demonstate a project, lead a workshop or lead a seminar and I’ll see what we can do!!! I look forward to speaking to some of you there.


OneNote and BYOD

As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve been doing some holiday research into ideas which could help integrte ICT within learning and teaching in a BYOD environment.

This has led me to look at hardware and software suitable which Is largely operating system platform independent.

There is of course, a lot of browser based software out there which help to make bring your own device possible. And in Scotland we are further aided in our National Education intranet called GLOW.  The recent upgrades to GLOW to include a O365 SharePoint tenancy for all pupils and teachers further augments the range of tools which pupils can have at home.  As all users can now have access to Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote coupled with 1TB of cloud based storage in OneDrive (Microsoft’s Dropbox equivalent.)

hXYVJ_U4_200x200The purpose of OneNote has always eluded me somehow as I have always felt that I could achieve the same or better in Word or Publisher. However, OneNote in the context of learning coupled with the ClassCreator tool form a very powerful complimentary partnership.

To explain, OneNote behaves like a pupil’s jotter (or exercise book for non-Scots) where each curricular subject could have a notebook with multiple tabs representing topics and multiple pages for either lessons or sub topics and tasks.  Other uses too could include e-portfolios. When you couple this with the fact that OneNote is available for everyone on every platform and free to all learners then we have a powerful tool for learning. In my mind the light bulb has switched on.

OneNote ClassCreator which is available in SharePoint O365 (GLOW) takes this a stage further allowing teachers to create OneNote notebooks which are allocated to their pupils both tasking them and simultaneously allowing pupils to have the work monitored and corrected (without even the perceived public humiliation of a teacher standing over a shoulder.) There are a number of good video tutorials about this which both demonstrate this in action and can take teacher through the process.

First, watch Microsoft in Education’s YouTube channel.  There are 34 videos many of which show the power of OneNote used by pupils coupled with a suitable device.  The use of handwritten entries in OneNote is of particular interest.

Second, look at www.onenoteforteachers.com. This shows teachers how to use these tools to set up the class notebooks and how to get the most out of OneNote.

Issues?  I always like to identify any downsides too!  O365 web based versions are limited as are the apple and Android versions.  Microsoft understandably want to sell windows kit therefore the most fully featured versions of all applications are available in Microsoft Office 2013.  It’s also worth using this as it integrates from the desktop directly into GLOW. However, this is worth the effort in my opinion. GLOW wouldn’t  let me log in to OneNote without a Microsoft account and it didn’t like my GLOW login details.  I’m assuming that this is a current glitch that will be resolved soon. Just as ClassCreator wasn’t working until on day of this week.

Overall, this looks like a really useful tool which I plan to explore further in the current weeks.

HP Streams and BYOD

The Christmas Holidays have come upon us and that provides a little downtime to facilitate some thinking about new things.  This holiday I have been considering the implications of how bring your own device could ever work.  Of course this really means that I’ve been investigating the killer hardware and software which would allow this to work. New and favourite pieces of hardware include the new line of products from HP.

The new HP Stream products further demonstrate the cloud based nature of modern ICT.  The range includes a 7 inch (£99) tablet, 8 inch (£149) tablets, 11 inch (£169), 13 inch (£229) and 14 inch laptops (£229).  They have also just announced a HP Stream mini desktop (~£120).

HP Stream 7
HP Stream 7

The key thing with all of these devices is their low price point. I am writing this post on a HP Stream 7 signature edition which I bought from the Microsoft store at the sale price of £79 with free postage.  It’s terrific!  I have thoroughly enjoyed using it and as an avid fan of all things Apple I have been quite happy to put my other toys aside in favour of this budget device.  As a possible tool for pupils at school this little device can pack a punch and runs Microsoft Office (bundled for a year) with ease. When you consider the ability for Scottish Schools to use windows based devices like this with the national O365 SharePoint tenancy in GLOW then these little devices have the potential to change productivity in the classroom.  They also have a fairly parent friendly price compared to Apple devices whilst still allowing access to industry standard applications.

The only downsides which I have discovered are the battery life, as whilst I get a fair few hours from the device it’s not an all day battery, and the cameras are pretty poor. But what do you expect for this price?  These haven’t affected the usability of the device for most purposes.

Next, you need the killer apps… My research took me to a variety of applications including OneNote coupled with ClassCreator.  However, that is worthy of it’s own post and will come next.


This article focuses on the HP Stream devices.  Other PC, Apple, ChromeOS and Android devices will also work with GLOW.

Oracle Java CPD for South Lanarkshire Computing Teachers

One of the good things to come out of this year’s CAS Scotland conference was the offer from Oracle to support the continuious professional development (CPD) of Scottish Computing Teacher’s.

We took up that offer and from the end of March till the middle of May, twenty-five Computing  Teachers and Lecturers mainly from South Lanarkshire worked through their Java Fundamentals Programming Course. This course consisted of materials covering Alice, Greenfoot and Java using Eclipse and had two examinations a mid-term and final. Both counted towards course completion. Finally, there were two project days where we worked in teams to create a working game.

In due course i’ll embed that here!

We all really enjoyed it and are looking forward to a similar experience through one of Oracle’s other offerings.

Computing At School Scotland Conference 2012

Today, I attended the first Computing at School’s Scotland Conference in Edinburgh.  This was a marvellous event on many levels.

  1. It was over subscribed, yet over 100 Computing Teachers paid £20 probably their own money plus travelling expenses to give up their Saturday to meet with each other to try and progress their own subject.
  2. There were a good range of speakers, all suitably qualified, well respected in their field who gave some of the best advice, guidance, thoughts or opinions about different challenges which face computing in Schools.
  3. This wasn’t a greeting meeting! Everything was positive and constructive, forward looking and being for the benefit of and with the focus of learners experiencing computer education in the next few years.
  4. It was a fantastic representation of support from the Government agencies, Universities in Scotland (and Kent), from Industry including Google, Microsoft, Adobe, Runrev and last but by no means teachers.
  5. It was supremely well organised! Friendly, relaxed and everyone talked to everyone else.

I think that computing teachers sometimes get a bad press as being geeky, unapproachable and moaning.  Well, certainly not those who were their today.  We were proud and professional and I was glad to be one of them.

What did I learn?  What will impact my learning and teaching? Lots! But that’s for a different post!

To all those who contributed, organised, presented or to those in the tweetisfere who I had the chance to meet in real life.