130306 R-Pi Jam planning

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Reading Raspberry Jam

Planning & Organisation session 2013-03-06 @ Rlab

  • David Price
  • Mark East
  • Chris Bagley

Mark had also registered interest with the Raspberryjam.org site for a Reading Raspberry Jam and got put in contact with me. We met together with Chris at the Rlab to start planning the activity.

The intention is to spend 1-2 months organising things especially developing some initial tutorials and presentations.

Getting a Pi to work

We got my R-Pi working to the point we could start Squeak and connet to the RHS WLAN, I'm impressed how much easier it is to set up and use Linix now and how capable the R-Pi is. There are some wrinkles to starting things up first time and getting the Pi up-to-date which reinforces the need for starting-from-scratch sessions and clinics in any Raspberry Jam.

Jam - who

So far the volunteer contributors to the Jam project are;

  • David Price - organising, newbie guinea pig and poss Squeak freek
  • Matt Daubney - organising, Linux, Python, Minecraft and hardware
  • Mark East - organising, Linux, Python, Minecraft
  • Chris Bagley - Linux, Lisp
  • Jim Pugh - Newbie guinea pig
  • Gareth Jones - hardware
  • Taimoor Yousaf - Newbie guinea pig, accountant

I've copied you all on this email - please let me know if I've misunderstood your level of interest or topics you'd like to be involved with. As this starts up it's important that our support is sustained over a period of time though we could look to encourage others to take a more active role as the Jam becomes established.

Jam - when

Which day is best? We could opt for Saturdays or weekday evenings, the aim being to provide access for all ages, especially youngsters.

We settled on Weekday evenings around 7 - 9:30pm since weekends tend to already be full of organised activities.

Initially we would need to have all children accompanied by parents or a responsible adult

Note: Matt has since emailed info on DBT (used to be called CRB) checks. We should do this anyway but I suggest the requirement that youngsters be accompanied by a responsible adult should still apply.

Jam - where

The likely size of a jam is around 30 people so the current space is not big enough and the new space may not be either. We decided to look for altenative venues.

  • Earley Crescent Centre: Good parking and transport links to town. Several good size rooms, one with 10 PCs and refreshment facilities. The centre is accessible 8am - 11pm and costs vary with room up to £22 ph plus £16 for projector.
  • Reading University: David to approach university contacts for info on facilities and charges
  • Other commercial sites: Mark will explore other possibilities near Reading centre

Jam - charging

Since we are likely to incur some costs we need to make any charging policy clear from the outset. The current view is that access should be free but we encourage donations. If use is made of other facilities such as Rlab then any accociated costs would apply and be well publicised.

Jam - advertising

Once we have arranged logistics, people and content we'll advertsie via RaspberryJam.org, Lanyrd, Meetup etc, our forums and other contacts. Eventbrite will be used to manage booking & ticketing.

Jam - structure The initial proposal for structuring each session will be

  • a short networking/ice breaking session (RaspberryJam.org has some resources/ideas for this) - 15 minutes
  • a presentation - 30 minutes
  • workshop and practical break-out sessions - 90 minutes

The actual structure may vary over time & session, eg spend the whole time with a couple of high profile presentations or people do show & tell on projects. There should be a number of concurrent practical sessions supporting a range of audiences;

  • youngsters (10 - 13)
  • teenagers
  • older newbies
  • older geeks

Expectation is that regulars would get progressively involved in running workshops, helping out and presenting

Jam - contents

Athough we may provide a number of Pi's and some peripherals for those starting out (hence the need for donations) the expectation is that attendees bring their own Pi's, monitors etc. We should publish a list of recommended bits as part of the Jam marketing, flyers etc.

Jam - Presentations

David has identified 3 possible presentations associated with the Rlab;

  • The London Zoo project on Indian ocean shark monitoring by (Gary to be approached)
  • Using a Pi to control a Reprap printer (Alex has agreed)
  • Pi control of a robot (Richard has agreed)

More ideas welcome ...

Jam - Workshops & tutorials

We came up with this initial set;

  • starting from scratch: starting up, setting up - ALL
  • maintaining the Pi - package management - ALL except youngsters
  • Scratch - Youngsters
  • Python - TEENS and GEEKS
  • Squeak - TEENS and GEEKS
  • Linux - ALL except youngsters
  • Minecraft - TEENS
  • hardware interfacing - ALL

Each topic should be structured with worksheets together with some project ideas for people to develop and present on.

Each topic must have at least one lead, ideally more, plus helpers depending on the number of attendees involved

Broadening the activity

The Jam can be cross coupled to other technologies and activities.

Through the Rlab we can expand the activity to include hardware projects and skills such as soldering, general electronics and mechanics, laser cutting for enclosures, optic lab once Ryan's lasers are established, Bio-hacking and other STEM activities that the lab is becoming a hub foretc.

More extensive workshops in Python could be provided via the Python Dojo Mark now primes.

A similar structure and approach could be adopted for other areas such as;

  • Arduino
  • Parallela
  • 3D printing and CNC

Next meeting

Tuesday 19th March 19:00, venue TBD - possibly a pub with WLAN. Topics - refine the activity plan further and look at some more detailed topic content.

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