PictoBlox is a Scratch 3.0-based graphical programming software that is the ideal companion for the setting the first step into the world of programming. Its user-friendly interface and drag-and-drop functionality eliminate the need to memorize syntax and rules that is the case in traditional programming languages and often times scares children and makes them hesitant. As a result, they only require to focus on the problem at hand and develop skills such as logical reasoning and problem-solving – the must-have skills in today’s technology-driven world.
Choose the appropriate Operating System (Windows, macOS, Linux) and follow the steps:
STEP 1: Download the Pictoblox Installer (.exe) for Windows 7 and above.
STEP 2: Run the .exe file.
Some of the device gives the following popup. You don’t have to worry, this software is harmless. Click on More info and then click on Run anyway.
STEP 3: Rest of the installation is straight forward, you can follow the popup and check on the option appropriate for your need.
Your software is now installed!
STEP 1: Download the Pictoblox Installer (.dmg).
STEP 2: Run the .dmg file.
Exploring the Surroundings
PictoBlox, like Scratch, has the following basic elements:
A sprite is an object, or a character, which performs different actions in the projects. It understands and obeys the instructions given to it. The bear you see in the image is a sprite. His name is Tobi. He will be your coding buddy in PictoBlox!
A sprite has costumes, which are one of the many appearances of the sprite. Some sprites have multiple costumes, and you’ll use blocks to perform actions.
The stage is the area where the sprite performs actions according to your program. The stage has its own scripts and sounds. You can decorate the stage using images; these images are called backdrops. You can choose a backdrop from PictoBlox’s inbuilt library, paint one yourself, upload an image from your computer or even click a picture.
A script is a program or a code in PictoBlox/Scratch lingo. It is a set of ‘blocks’ that are arranged below one another in a specific order to perform a task or a series of tasks. You can write multiple scripts all of which can then run simultaneously. You can write the scripts only in the scripting area which is in the center of the screen.
A block is like a jigsaw puzzle piece which is used to write programs by simply dragging and dropping them below one another in the scripting area. Using blocks to write codes eliminates the errors that might occur while writing codes in traditional programming languages.
The block palette is under the Code tab. It consists of different palettes such as Motion, Sound, and Control. Each palette has different blocks that perform functions specified by the palette name. E.g., the blocks in the Motion palette will control the motion of the sprite and the blocks in the Control palette will control the working of the script depending on specific conditions.
There are other varieties of block palettes which can be loaded from Add Extension button located at the left bottom.
PictoBlox has two modes:
- Stage Mode: In this mode, you can write scripts for the sprite and boards like evive to interact with sprites in real-time. If you disconnect the board with Pictoblox, you cannot interact anymore.
- Upload Mode: This mode allows you to write scripts and upload it to the board so that you can use even when it is not connected your computer, for example, you need to upload a script for making moving robots.
Activity: Talking on the Go!
Installing PictoBlox: check!
Exploring its elements: check!
Writing your first script? Well, let’s check this off the list right now!
We’re going to write a script to make Tobi move and say something at the same time. Follow the steps below to write a script for the same:
- Go the Events palette and drag and drop the when flag clicked block into the scripting area.
- Next, go to the Control palette and drag and drop the forever block below the when ‘flag clicked’ block.
- Then, drag and drop the if block from the same palette inside the forever block.
- Now, go to the Sensing palette and drag and drop the key () pressed? Block inside the diamond-shaped space of the if block. The space key is the default key. If you want to, you can select another of your choice from the drop-down list.
- Go to the Motion palette and drag and drop the move () steps block inside the if block. The default number is 10; you can change it if you want to.
- Next, go to the Looks palette and drag and drop the say () for () seconds block below the move () steps block. Again, you can change the default message and duration if you like.
- Finally, time for action! Click on the green flag right above the top-left corner of the stage. The whole script will start glowing indicating that the code is running. Every time you press the key selected while writing the code, Tobi will move forward and say the message that you want it to!
And that’s it! You’ve successfully written your first ever code in PictoBlox! Nothing can stop you now from unleashing your imagination and do wonders with it. B-)
In this tutorial, you learned about PictoBlox, a Scratch 3.0-based graphical programming software. Then, you wrote a script to make the sprite i.e. Tobi walk and say a message.
Hope you had fun! 🙂