Continued NetsBlox Education in Python
NetsBlox has been shown to be effective at teaching advanced Computer Science (CS) concepts such distributed computing, robotics, cybersecurity, and the internet of things in ways which are attainable to novice programmers. However, despite its power, there are some students who may be put off by the block-based programming environment that NetsBlox provides for accessing these features. Unfortunately, this can lead to students abandoning NetsBlox in favor of textual languages, which typically over-complicate access to these advanced CS concepts, and can ultimately lead to students actually losing knowledge from the transition. To remedy this, we introduce PyBlox, a Python analogue of NetsBlox.
PyBlox is a free and open-source tool that allows students to transfer their existing NetsBlox knowledge into Python. This includes access to the basic, graphical features of NetsBlox, as well as all existing NetsBlox web services and message passing between projects over the internet.
PyBlox is a native tool, meaning it must be installed on your computer, and does not run through the browser like NetsBlox does. The reason for this is that PyBlox gives users the full, unlimited power of Python, rather than a subset that can run in isolation in a web browser. Because of this, any Python knowledge learned through PyBlox is applicable to real-world Python development.
Instructions about how to install and use PyBlox are provided on the Python Package Index.
- "Low-Friction Transition from Blocks to Python," General Proceedings of the 2nd ISLS Annual Meeting, 2022, p. 48-51. link