For the introductory physics course:
We strongly recommend GlowScript VPython (glowscript.org). Here’s why:
- No installation is required — students work in a browser
- Students do not need to cope with folders and file extensions — all work is stored in the cloud
- The interface is simple and straightforward
- Programs in a student’s public folder can be shared simply by giving a URL
Students who have no previous experience coding are comfortable working in this familiar environment.
One can make a VPython “trinket” at trinket.io by selecting “GlowScript” and choosing “Python” or “Blocks”.
For a more advanced physics or computational physics course:
We recommend using VPython 7 either in a Jupyter Notebook or in an IDE such as Spyder.
- Learning to install Python and VPython is appropriate for students at this level
- A standard Python installation such as Anaconda provides access to the full Python ecology of scientific computational modules (which are not available in GlowScript VPython).
- More sophisticated editing and debugging tools are available
See vpython.org for details on how to install and use VPython 7 with Anaconda.