[IPython-dev] Using IPython notebooks to teach Python

Greg Wilson gvwilson at third-bit.com
Fri Aug 22 06:51:44 EDT 2014

Hi all,

We have been using the IPython Notebook to teach Software Carpentry 
classes for a year now, and while we like it a lot, we've been bumping 
into two issues:

1. For most students, the notebook is an entirely new kind of interface 
unlike any they've seen before, which means they're trying to learn two 
things at once: Python, and the notebook itself.  I've had good success 
introducing Python first via the standard command-line interpreter, 
letting them get comfortable with a few basic ideas (say, from "assign a 
value to a variable" to "the code block belonging to a loop must be 
indented"), and *then* introducing the notebook.  This fall, I'm going 
to experiment with showing them Python via Wing101 (a simple IDE that's 
widely used in undergrad computer science teaching), then switching to 
the notebook.

2. Notebooks and version control don't play nicely together.  This may 
not be an issue for you if you're not trying to teach students to use 
version control as part of the class, but diffing and merging the source 
of notebooks is out of reach for novice programmers.


On 2014-08-22 5:55 AM, Sébastien Hinderer wrote:
> Dear Moritz,
> I have just discovered this project:
> https://github.com/cni/ipython-hydra
> Which seems even closer to yours than ipydra.
> Are you able to say what differs between your project and this one?
> Is it just a matter of one having a web interface and the other not, or
> can you see other differences?
> Many thanks!
> Sébastien.
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