War robots and call for volunteers – Sat 30 April

Some announcements for our Saturday 30 April 2016 event.

Firstly, we’re fully allocated for general admission tickets for Sat 30 April. However you can still come along if you volunteer to help out, or demonstrate a Raspberry Pi project, or BBC Micro Bit, in the Show & Tell room, or if you work in education, children’s clubs or are a Hackspace member. See later in this post for details on how to get a free volunteers’ ticket.

Next, we welcome Micro Pi Noon, the no-contact robot war game that originated at Pi Wars. Two robots with balloons enter the arena; two robots but only one balloon leaves. The object of the game is to burst the opponent’s balloon using a pointy wire. A couple of robots will be supplied by the ever-excellent David Pride @davejavupride (he of Connect 4 Robot fame) and Mark Cantrill @AstroDesignsLtd (the FPGA chap), or you can bring your own Pi-based robot, which ideally will have a footprint no bigger than A6 paper. Balloons, pointy wires and lumps of blu-tak will (hopefully!) be supplied.


Micro Pi Noon logo Pi Noon

Thirdly, SD cards. If you have a ticket for a tutorial, feel free to bring your own Raspberry Pi. We will have micro SD cards (& full-size adapters) for you to use, all ready with the right software. You can either borrow (and return!) a blue card, or buy (£5) a red & white card.

If you don’t have your own Raspberry Pi, we have many for you to use. I think we’re at about 16 now. If you have an old B+ or Model 2 Raspberry Pi that you’d like to donate, or even just loan for the day, please email: admin@cotswoldjam.org

On to volunteers. We need volunteers! Email admin@cotswoldjam.org if you want to apply for a volunteer ticket. A reminder of the date: Sat 30 April 1-4pm, Glos Uni Park Campus, Cheltenham. The volunteers we need are:

* Show and Tell: Show off a project you’ve made with your Raspberry Pi. You don’t need to do a formal presentation, just hang out in the Show & Tell room and demonstrate your project to anyone who asks. We will supply mains sockets, monitors, keyboards and mice, and probably WiFi too. You can arrive an hour or two before the event starts to set up your project. We already have about six of these types of volunteers and could do with another 3-6.

* Anyone who owns a BBC Micro Bit. We’re keen to see these demonstrated in the Show & Tell room.

* Classroom Assistants: We need a couple of people to assist pupils with the tutorials. A basic knowledge of Linux or Raspberry Pi would be helpful. Typical duties include spotting spelling mistakes in code that children have typed in, checking that jumper wires are connected to the right GPIO pins, and handing out SD cards to those that need them. Knowledge of Python or Scratch would be an advantage.

* Cablers: We need a couple of people to turn up an hour or two before the start time and help cable up our fleet of Raspberry Pis, and connect them to the University’s monitors, keyboards and mice. If you are also able to help uncable everything at the end of the event, that would be even better. And if you bring your own pocket tool, well, you’d be the recipient of our undying love.

* Tutors: We need two more tutors to lead a classroom of 12 pupils (mostly children aged 8-14, with parents) through a prepared tutorial. This month it will be a Scratch tutorial and a Python/GPIO/Lego tutorial. We already have two tutors, but we have four classes (two classrooms, each tutorial run twice). Although the existing two tutors could repeat their sessions, this is quite tiring. So we’re after another couple of tutors. You’ll need your own Raspberry Pi (I can loan you one if you’re in the Cheltenham area) and you will be emailed the tutorial document and files a week before the event, with the expectation that you will test out the tutorial at least two or three days before the event. It’d be helpful if you could turn up a little early, but it isn’t absolutely necessary.

Note that parents have to stay with their children, so volunteers do not need to be background checked (although we’re looking into having that done in the future, at least for tutors). At no point will you be left solely responsible for any children, unless they’re your own children.

To apply for a volunteer ticket (free, obviously), please email admin@cotswoldjam.org and remember to state what you’d like to volunteer for.

We also have overflow tickets available for people who work in education or children’s organisations; teachers, teaching assistants, school IT technicians, Scout/Guide/Brigade leaders and so forth. Again, please email admin@cotswoldjam.org stating that you’d like to request an education ticket and why.

Members of Cheltenham Hackspace, or indeed any Hackspace, can also claim overflow tickets. Email us, mentioning which Hackspace you’re from.

If you need more than one overflow/volunteer ticket, just ask. If you’re a child, your parent or another vaguely sensible adult gets in free even without a ticket. If you want to demo something in the Show & Tell room, and your parents insist that you bring your little brother or sister along, that’s fine too. Just don’t poke them with the Pi Noon balloon-popping pins.

See you at the end of the month – AndrewO

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