Early in the year I was driving home from Interactive Futures in Leamington Spa and reflecting on the exciting year ahead with all the events. My boot was full of Raspberry Pis and I was excited at the prospect of all the Jams, conferences and events to come.
Heading into early March the news started to get worse every day, the number of people dying in Italy was horrific and the images of hospitals not being able to cope was heartbreaking.
Against this backdrop emails and tweets started to come out cancelling events for March and April and then the lockdown happened. In the wake of the lockdown came a deluge of emails and notifications of all the other events that have been cancelled upto December 2020.
Whilst it is really easy to lament the loss of all the tech events this year we mustn’t forget the forty thousand plus people who have died and the tireless efforts of the NHS and many more. The rest of this blog post is therefore against the backdrop of all that has happened.
I am a very social person, I love community and spending time with other people. I guess teachers have to be (even if at times I feel quite shy!). Having jumped into the Raspberry Pi community at the start it has been great to see this community build over the years and also to make many new friends. Kids who were just starting out are now finishing University and it has been wonderful to see people develop.
Community is at the heart of the Raspberry Pi movement and Jams such as the Stafford one have been an integral part of building not only a great brand but reinvigorating the making and compute science movement in England (and around the world).
The good news is that the community is still going strong!
I must have attended more virtual Raspberry Jams, Computing at School events and online meetups in the last two months than I had planned for the whole year! It has been wonderful seeing the community pull together and put on collaborative events across the country.
I am sure that like me, you miss the human touch, the physical interaction of playing with someone else’s project at a Jam, getting a cup of coffee and simply chatting about the latest HAT or update to Python 3! These days will come back, perhaps not this year. I do feel that the community will be stronger and events will be better as we start to do a more blended approach to online and physical meetups.
I mentioned Animal Crossing in the title. I am not a gamer in any sense of the word, but have spent hours on AC since the game was released. As well as being an escape from what is going on I have really enjoyed the community aspect of the game. Community is definitely so important in so many aspects of life and it is exciting to see the refresh of the stafford jam website and I am really looking forward to driving up from Birmingham or attending virtually from home when the Jams start again.