Parents' zone

Some parents are real experts when it comes to coding and technology. If so we would love to hear from you - maybe there are some comments, advice or input you can offer.

Other parents feel they don’t know enough about computers and coding to really support their children in developing this interest. On this page we aim to provide you with some basic information but if you would like to know more about any aspect please don’t hesitate to contact us using the links to the left.

There are details on somne of the educational aspects of the jam on the teachers page.

What you can expect from us

Provision of a safe and fun environment

This environment is one where children can explore coding, building skills and knowledge that will enable them to code.

How parents can help

Tech Jams

These are FREE face to face events held monthly at Paignton library. Events are staffed by a DBS checked adult and are open to all children. Most of our member are between 8 and 18 and parents usually leave them at the library. If you are leaving your primary school age child, please make sure you leave your mobile number with the supervising adult in case we need to contact you.

Children don’t need to bring anything with them to attend the Tech Jam but if they have their own laptop, Arduino or Pi it can be helpful to bring these to work with. If your child has not attended before and you would like more information, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

If you are new to coding (programming) it may be worth contacting the library and asking about code-club or Hour of Code sessions - if you have experience perhaps help run sessions at the library. Please see the get involved page for information on library volunteering.

The IRC (chat rooms)

What is it?: This is essentially chat rooms. It consists of a server, running 24/7, which runs software to allow users to connect from clients or via a web interface so they can chat to each other live.

How safe is it? The Tech Jam encourages members to take responsibility and learn how to use technology safely. Upon joining our IRC channel you are expected to essentially follow your common sense in order to create a child-friendly environment. We trust our members to use IRC responsibly, but just in case we also employ some safety measures such as software that detects bad language and spam messages being sent in the system. We believe our IRC is a safe and fun place to learn. If you have any concerns about IRC use please don’t hesitate to contact us with the links to the left.

Glossary - terms you will hear "Tech Jammers" use and things they will talk about:-

IRC-related tools and terminology

ZNC - Server software that using your nickname / id / password credentials keeps you in the channel 24/7. You connect with your IRC client in a similar way but using the ZNC server credentials, and join - because you have not actually left you get to read the missed messages so you can catch up, great if you have to leave or can't attend IRC meetings.

IRCCloud - Similar to above, but via a website, again you can stay connected 24/7.

With both the above you can set up clients on multiple computers, and switch between them without acutally missing out on conversations.


Please see collaboration tools for more information

Github Pages

This allows a user to create a special repository which they can use to set up a website. It’s a great way to learn how to create web pages using HTML and web design skills.


Despite the name, git is innocent; it is a piece of software that interacts with the above websites in order to allow updating of software repositories and management of source code / project files.

Please see the collaboration tools page for more information.


This is a simple drag and drop coding environment designed to get children interested in coding, it is very intuitive and with the Pi can be linked to the Pi input / output (GPIO) so that you can control lights, motors, switches etc. It is free software and used in schools.


This is a programming language that the Raspberry Pi foundation recommend going on to once you have become proficient at scratch. It is text based but there is lots of help available including from tech Jam’s own IRC

There is more information and links about these on the programming languages page.


In terms of the Tech Jam we are using the term hacking / hacker in the original meaning: a person who enjoys exploring programming and programmable systems. There is a more detailed explanation here. As a tech event we will be encouraging people to learn about computers for positive purposes. However, we acknowledge the more modern meaning being a person who uses computers for criminal or malicious purposes (this includes booting people from games). We do not encourage or condone this behaviour and it will not be tolerated as part of any Tech Jam related activity.

Kali Linux

This is a special distribution of Linux for security and penetration (pen) testing. It is very powerful and used by security professionals. I think it is important to ensure when setting up services that these are both secure and in being secure are safer for users, so in that context, using Kali Linux to test for vulnerabilities is a positive and legal use of the software.


Quite a few of our more experienced Tech Jam users have their own VPS( Virtual Private Server) for setting up services (such as chat), running websites and importantly learning. It is important that these services are secure and that any software installed is also not going to compromise security or integrity of the system. We support and encourage members to understand this (even though it is way above curriculum requirements) as it makes for better, safer users.


NOOBS - Despite the name sounding like something rude is what the Raspberry Pi foundation call New Out Of the Box Software (NOOBS) This originates from the term newb or newbie, as in new users, so NOOBS is aimed at new pi users who may not be confident with yet. For a quick guide on using NOOBS you can simply perform a quick search but if you need help we can help at the Jam or over IRC.


LaTex is a higher end typesetting system. It uses tags (not quite the right term) to set out the formatting and layout of the document. LaTeX then creates your document as either postscript or PDF. Essentially you worry about the content and how it should appear and LaTeX sorts it all out for you. Examples of the tags are \boldf{thisisbold}. LaTeX is very good at mathematical and scientific papers and is the standard when submitting research papers to some journals.


Markdown allows you to format pages for documents - we use markdown for this website, and we then have a script to convert the markdown to HTML for the browser to use to render the web pages for the site.


Diaspora is a decentralised social network.

I have created a Tech Jam diaspora account to offer users who prefer this the option to interact, rather than simply being told we have Facebook / Twitter.