This is a workshop related to the International Conference on Live Coding 2019.
Live coding offers a wide range of pedagogical approaches and possibilities. As a highly creative, open and interdisciplinary artistic method it helps to break down entry barriers to coding and learning the key principles of computer science. On the other hand, it presents a great opportunity for students to find a new way of expressing their musical ideas through code. Especially for students who haven’t had the possibility to learn an acoustic instrument, Sonic Pi1 offers a way to use their computer as an instrument. In this workshop I want to share my experiences with teaching live coding in several schools, workshops (for computer science teachers and extra- curricular for school children) and at the University. I will focus on teaching the key principles of computer science through live coding with Sonic Pi in schools.
Together with computer science teacher Leonore Dietrich (Heidelberg University) and music teacher Julia Ludes (OHG high school Wiesloch, Germany) I developed material for delivering a 6-week teaching-unit in public schools for children and young adults aged 12-18 years. The teaching-unit can be taught by computer science teachers or music teachers who already have basic knowledge in programming. It’s preferable to teach as a team. In a group with around 25 children it is more suitable to have two teachers who can answer questions concerning the compositional process and help finding solutions to problems such as debugging, code structure etc. The lessons were led by the computer science teacher and the music teacher was there to help with questions concerning musical structure, music theory and composition. Additionally I was there to help out with debugging and to focus on observation as a part of my research (What was working out well? What should be improved?). In this 6 weeks period we taught an 1.5 hour session each week during music lessons, because unfortunately there is no computer science in the curriculum for the 8th grade in Germany in which we mostly taught. The material includes worksheets, a power point presentation, a list of the needed material and a detailed lesson plan.
The material is published under the creative commons licence and can be used by anyone who is interested. By the time the conference takes place the material will be translated into English and Spanish.
The workshop will start with a short presentation of my research in schools, the experiences and findings, the development process of the material and about how to teach the basics of programming through Sonic Pi. Afterwards I will give a short introduction into Sonic Pi and we will start exploring the possibilities of Sonic Pi in school together. There will be enough room for questions and depending on the interests of the participants we can go deeper into the didactical and pedagogical aspects of Sonic Pi. Juan Alzate Romero will be also there to answer questions that focus on the artistic, professional use of Sonic Pi for live coding.
The activity is over.