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.

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Funologist Project: Use the Tinkering tools Scratch and Makey Makey

Use the Tinkering tools Scratch and Makey Makey to create engaging after school workshops

Scratch is a tried and tested tool for exploratory play and learning of coding ideas via tinkering. It’s genesis in MIT labs has ensured it is well supported with wide adoption and an interesting research base. Impressively, the community of users creating and sharing their creations or ‘scratches’ is significant in size and diversity. There are many remixes of all recognisable computer game types including adventure and narrative forms.


Makey Makey is a keyboard controller interface, which has had great success as a demonstration tool. It is often used in combination with Scratch to showcase the immediacy of new forms of creative software and interactive hardware controllers to create engaging activities.
We will be working with Code Club who are currently redeveloping their Scratch resource to increase the input and creativity of young people.

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EdLab launches MMU Funologists

MMU Funologists is a team project involving students and staff from any MMU department who are using ‘serious’ play to help STEAM (Science, technology, engineering, arts and maths) learning happen. We love tinkering, making things and chatting about it. Come and play, seriously!

When we play interesting things happen. Lots of research shows that this is a key way to find out more about the world and solve problems. So if play is so good. Why don’t we do more of it?

  • What Next: Our first event is a Creative Space Seminar with Mark Peace
  • When: Wed 2nd March 11:30-13.00pm – Book here
  • Where: Lecture Space 3 MMU Brooks Building  
  • Why: To have fun, seriously! We will share opportunities for you to get involved in game or making based learning in different settings including primary, secondary, home education and volunteer run youth clubs.

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