Remote access options for Sonic Pi in education

Since teaching is going mostly remote, students using Sonic Pi as part of curriculum will need to have a computer that is capable of running SonicPi, and this introduces tech support into the equation.

I am working on a graduate project based around providing suitable remote tools and curricula and I would be interested in hearing the experiences of those using SonicPi for teaching purposes who have moved to a remote model of learning.

How have you been able to effectively teach in a situation where students may not have access to appropriate computing resources either due to compatibility problems or lack of appropriate hardware?

I work in the information technology field, so I understand the challenges of supporting remote users and the scaling problem of running SonicPi on the web.

Has there been any thought about the creation of a web version of Sonic Pi with reduced capabilities that would enable students to do at least a subset of commands? Would that even be worthwhile?

Has anyone switched to Raspberry Pi based systems to run SonicPi, which are less costly than traditional computers?

Or something else?


This past spring I ran a Sonic Pi unit in my CS class. The whole intent was to use Raspberry Pis, but with 10 RPi and 15 students, it would have become a problem, since with months of research and attempts, I could not figure out how to stream audio (for at least one user, but preferably multiple users). Shutdown changed the plan. Most of my students has computers at home they could install SP on, but I did end up loaning RPis to 3 students and it worked fine for two of them. The third just didn’t DO anything (and still hasn’t returned the RPi).
The saddest flaw in using the RPi is that it’s behind in the Sonic Pi version, so some of the newer features aren’t there.
I did find an online SP-like program, but it was much trickier for me to pick up on the fly. Sorry, I don’t recall what it was called.

This is not true thanks to @robin.newman who made a deb package to allow you to have the latest version on RPI.

Crazy, I gave up checking a while ago and checked a bit ago… this is great! Now for a Lubuntu capable 3.2.2!! :slight_smile:

So, I suppose if @tomkarches school has the resources for a Pi-per-pupil, it’s doable. I won’t be teaching this course until Spring again, so hopefully Covid-19 has run most of its course by then (mask up!)

Is it Negasonic? ?

The two options I am looking at now are SonicPi and Orca. Orca is very interesting…it has versions that will run in a browser, though I am still working out how to make that work.

Eventually, I would like to add Hydra to my list.

I am specifically trying to develop resources that will allow various teaching technologies to be viable in a world of remote learning.


No, it was none of those. Negasonic looks promising…

Most of my students took the easiest path to making Sonic Pi songs, but next spring I hope to be more intentional with that unit.