When you’re ready to move from Scratch to Python, this transition can be quite painful. Suddenly, you’re faced with a pure-text programming interface and even with IDEs like Thonny helping you to get things going, you’re still left with the fundamental question: Where have all my coloured blocks gone.
Enter EduBlocks, a programming environment developed by Joshua Lowe which seeks to bridge the gap between Scratch and Python by helping you to write Python code, but with a Scratch- or Blockly-like interface.
He’s been developing it for a while now and you can give it a go by opening up a terminal and running the following command:
curl -sSL get.edublocks.org| bash
Once you’ve got it installed, you’ll want to head over to the Learning Portal where you can download worksheets. These include physical computing exercises (using components from CamJam EduKit 1), Sonic Pi and even Minecraft. I spoke to Joshua recently and he let me know about a new series of worksheet material he and others are developing: Lesson Plans. These exciting new resources for teachers will bring together the existing worksheets with plans to use in lessons with identified objectives and other stuff you need for the actual teaching. The first one, written by Claire Wicher deals with Minecraft and includes a teachers booklet and an accompanying Powerpoint presentation. To access this, and future lesson plans, head over to the Learning Portal and click on the Lesson Plans button. To find out more about EduBlocks itself, head over to the website.
This is really fantastic work by young Joshua and also by Claire. It takes EduBlocks forward to be something that can be used in classrooms by those on the cusp of text-based languages. It may seem strange to some to couch the Python language in a visual environment, but I think it’s a great idea to bridge that gap. Take a look if you’re approaching that gap, or if you have children who are ready to move on – the resources are there, you just need to use them 🙂