Titus taught Part 2 of the first day of the workshop. We turned from shell topics to Python programming. We taught using the IPython Notebook, which was great for programming, but awful (as usual) for installation.
We required all Mac users to install Anaconda, so that they could install ipynb relatively easily through Anaconda. PC users had to install VirtualBox and use a virtual machine with a Linux OS (where ipynb was preinstalled). We ran into quite a few problems with the VM situation, because they were just *too slow* on people’s 7-year-old laptops. One straightforward solution would be to teach how Titus does usually: use an Amazon cloud instance and have all students ssh in. This solution, however, costs money.
Titus then covered topics like ints, strings, and floats. The Python lesson was cut a bit short cause we had to spend a while making sure that everyone had a working version of ipynb. The major problem we encountered was that students were confused about the differences between bash scripting and programming in Python.
Successes: The IPython Notebook was an excellent teaching tool that allowed people to start programming right away.
Recommendations: Find a way to use the Amazon cloud both for teaching and for lab work in general. It costs money, but it really appears to be the best way to go. We didn’t have enough time in the afternoon to do anything *really* cool with Python, so people didn’t see *why* we were teaching them the new language.