Scratch on an iPad with Pyonkee

Last week I had the privilege of visiting a lovely school with less than 40 pupils to help them get up to speed on the new Computing Curriculum. With a small school comes a tight budget, but there were 10 iPads for children to use. They’d found some of the coding apps for Key Stage 1, but hadn’t got anything in place for Key Stage 2 – though they had heard of Scratch.

So I showed them Pyonkee, a free app which is an iOS version of Scratch 1.4 and got them coding for the first time using simple commands to move a sprite around the screen, bounce of the edge and turn. They tinkered with blocks, added repetition and control and were soon having a lot of fun.

The next challenge was to see if the iPads could use pre-prepared Scratch templates and projects – and the happy answer was, yes they can!

  • Open Safari and find a .sb file** (all Scratch 1.4 projects end in one of these)
  • Tap the file
  • When asked “Open in …” or “Open in Pyonkee”, select “Open in Pyonkee”
  • This will open up the Pyonkee app and load the project
  • Tap “File” and then “Save As” to save the project locally to the iPad in a folder called My Projects.

The feedback on the support I gave was “super” and “very helpful”. More importantly, the children in Key Stage 2 have a new resource to help them with their computational thinking and coding skills.

**Pyonkee only supports Scratch 1.4 files which end in *.sb. Projects built in Scratch 2.0 end in *.sb2 and can’t be opened in this app. Fortunately, there is a handy converter, built by tjvr (@blob8108) which can convert Scratch 2.0 projects to Scratch 1.4 if needed. You can also open 1.4 projects on Scratch site directly by the following form. <user id>/<project id>.sb

Thanks to the fab Pyonkee team for these tips!

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