GitHub Codespaces for Students and Educators: Just Wow!
Published Mar 30 2023 12:00 AM 5,816 Views
Copper Contributor

Are we about to say goodbye to local development?


Hi, I am Nehemiah Emmanuel @devgenix a Microsoft Learn Student Ambassadors and I am so excited by GitHub Codespaces and how students and educators can use GitHub Codespaces in projects and the classroom. GitHub Codespaces is a cloud-based development environment that allows developers to work on their local development environment on any device and from anywhere. The tool allows the creation of a fully configured development environment on a browser, which includes code editors, version control, extensions, terminal, debugger, and settings sync. Students and educators can use GitHub Codespaces to create and manage their projects and use it in the classroom. The article explains how to create a codespace in a browser and Visual Studio Code desktop application, and also provides education templates and educator templates for teaching with GitHub Classroom. GitHub Codespaces has a pricing structure for individuals and organizations, but it is not expensive, and there are options to manage billing.

Here's how Codespaces on GitHub can change the game.

Every developer has heard of GitHub, I would be surprised if you haven't, you may have heard of GitHub Copilot too, or even the fancy guy in town ChatGPT but have you heard of GitHub Codespaces? I used Codespaces today and I was blown away, believe me, not everything that makes the news eventually catches my fancy when I try it out.

So what is GitHub Codespaces?

You know how with the advent of cloud servers we didn't need to set up physical servers in order to deploy our applications online? Yes that is what Codespaces just did but to your local development environment on your computer.


If you didn't understand that here's what it means; Codespaces took your development environment on your computer, that is your code editor (Visual Studio Code, JetBrains, and Jupyter) fully configured with your extensions, settings sync, terminal, debugger, version control and took it to your browser. Now you can now spin up a fully configured development environment in your browser and work from any device at anytime and anywhere.

Codespaces in Education

Creating your codespace

The codespace creation process

When you create a codespace, a number of steps happen to create and connect you to your development environment —though this does not include every little detail but just a clue of the core processes involved at each stage.

  • Step 1: VM and storage are assigned to your codespace.

  • Step 2: A Container is created, and your repository is cloned using shallow clone first.

  • Step 3: You can connect to the codespace. When your container has been created and any other initialization has run, you'll be connected to your codespace. You can then connect to it by using:

    • Your browser.

    • The Visual Studio Code desktop application

    • JetBrains IDE.

    • Command Line with GitHub CLI.

  • Step 4: Codespace continues with the post-creation setup.

For more information on what happens when you create a codespace, take a deep dive here. We also have a complete playlist of videos to help you get started with Codespaces.

In this article I'll briefly talk about how to create a Codespace in a browser and in the Visual Studio Code desktop application but you can use Codespaces in other IDEs.

As a Student Getting started using Codespaces

In the web browser, there are a number of entry points to create a codespace.

  • From a GitHub template or any template repository on to start a new project

  • From a branch in your repository for new feature work

  • From an open pull request to explore work-in-progress

  • From a commit in a repository's history to investigate a bug at a specific point in time

From a template repository, click on the green button that says, "Use this template". In the drop-down that appears click on "Open in a codespace"

Education Templates 

Student Project Templates 

JavaScript Student Template education/codespaces-project-template-js: Codespaces template for creating and deploying your own Re...
.NET Student Template education/codespaces-project-template-dotnet: Codespaces template for building a .NET project (githu...
Python Student Template education/codespaces-project-template-py: Codespaces template for building a Python project (github....

Educator Templates for Teaching with GitHub Classroom
JavaScript Educator Template education/codespaces-teaching-js-template: Codespaces template for teaching JavaScript ( 
.NET Educator Template education/codespaces-project-template-dotnet: Codespaces template for building a .NET project (githu...
Python Educator Template education/codespaces-teaching-template-py: Codespaces template for teaching Python (

Getting Started
From a branch in your repository for new feature work, click on the green button that says "Code" and on the drop-down click on Codespaces. You can now create a Codespace on the '+' icon or on the green button that says "Create codespace on main". In this example, I'm on the main branch, if you want to create a Codespace on another branch, click on the branch icon and switch to your desired branch then create a Codespace. If you create a Codespace this way, it configures your Codespace environment using the default setting and opens it in a Visual Studio Code instance in your browser.

To customize the setting for the Codespace, click on the ellipse (...) and then click on "New with options..."

Then configure the settings as you wish and when done, click on "Create Codespace"

Here's our development environment right in the browser!

Your Codespace is very secure and can only be access by you.



To manage the Codespace created for a repository, click the green button labeled "Code" and in the drop-down click on the Codespaces tab. There you'll see the Codespace for that repository. You can manage the Codespace already created or create another there.



To manage all your Codespaces, click on the Codespaces tab in your GitHub navbar.


Ah yes, with good things come a cost, and Codepsaces is no different.
Don't fret, it's not breaking the bank.

Billing is calculated for prebuilds, storage use, and compute use. To manage your billing, you can set a spending limit or limiting the machine options for organizational-owned codespaces.

For individuals, Codespaces is free for 120 hours (for personal accounts) or 180 hours (for Pro accounts) a month and is only available in two machine options.



Pricing for Students

If you are a student, you can get access to a Pro account for the time you are a student that gives you 180 hours a month to use Codespaces through the GitHub Student Developer Pack



There's no substitute for hands-on experience. But for most students, real-world tools and software can be cost-prohibitive. That's why GitHub created the GitHub Student Developer Pack with partners to provide access to these tools and software for free or at very discounted costs. So more than just Codespaces, you get access to more than 70 other services when you get the GitHub Student Developer Pack.


To get it, you must be a student currently enrolled in a tertiary institution of higher learning and must have a GitHub Student account. 
Sign up for it now!


Additional Resources

Getting started with Codespaces
Developing with GitHub Codespaces on Visual Studio Code

For how to use Codespaces in a JetBrains IDE, click here.
For how to use Codepsaces in the Command Line with the GitHub CLI, click here

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Last update:
‎Mar 30 2023 11:19 PM
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