EdLab Spark: Create a non-linear support resource for Sonic Pi coding music software

Sonic Pi is computer software which creates music with simple lines of code. Designed by a ‘live coding’ enthusiast called Sam Aaron with the support of the Rasberry Pi Foundation, this simple but revolutionary approach has created a new way for young and adults alike to learn coding concepts in an extremely engaging (sometimes compulsive way).


In our Funologist experiments with Sonic Pi so far, we have found the most interesting results happen when participants do not have handouts telling them what to do. Providing them with a ‘linear’ hand out often means that those taking part follow the direction given to them rather than being led by their interest.

Conversely, a starting point and some quick references are handy.  As we ask more students to support Sonic Pi workshops, we need a non-linear resource to help the process.

We are very open to different suggestions but as a starting point we are thinking that a large poster with different areas and possibilities could be a good choice. This poster should be visually appealing, encourage experimental play and also be easy to print and to edit.

One End Goal would be a resource to help deliver Sonic Pi workshops in a way that provides a minimum of traditional “instruction”. It would also be good to build a public log of observations from workshop facilitators and helpers which communicates helpful ideas on this approach.

Key concepts here involve non-linear learning and alternatives to the banking model of education. Tinkering as a pedagogy is increasing in popularity especially for learning experiences outside of the school curriculum.

More Information:
To get involved in this project, or to work on a challenge which supports the development of this project, contact m.chesterman @mmu.ac.uk or edlab @mmu.ac.uk

Key Partner: Primary Secondary and Home Educator groups, Sonic Pi development team
Key Words: Sonic pi, Music, Coding, non-linear resources, exploratory learning, tinkering