This week I was talking to an educator who needed to provide a development environment for her students. One of her major obstacles was finding a solution which wouldn’t require assistance from her school’s IT department. My recommendation to her was Cloud 9. They provide a “cloud IDE” that works in your browser. This IDE is then connected to a full Ubuntu workspace on the backend.
This type of setup avoids the need to configure VMs on your own local machines. Instead, your students can access their development environment from any Internet connected computer. Their free accounts provide plenty of power for anyone just getting started.