The iPhone/iTouch debacle at the University of Missouri got me thinking about platforms of choice for student learning. Obviously, I think there is a lot to be said for netbooks in schools, both for teachers and students. They're cheap, light, fairly durable, and kid-sized, while newer models are coming in at very aggressive price points even with larger screen and keyboards.
Notebooks, however, have also come way down in price. The standard notebook we purchase for staff is a $699 deal from HP with a 15.4" screen, DVD burner, 2GB of RAM and an 80GB hard drive. It works like a champ and, at $700, is competitive with many desktop systems I might otherwise buy. We haven't looked at these for student use, but there are some students who require computers as accommodations; while netbooks are great, some older students with disabilities struggle with the small keyboards and/or screens. This middle-of-the-road machine might be a nice choice.
Of course, UM skipped computers and went straight for handheld devices. iPods, iPhones, BlackBerries, and the like give students web access and the ability to access class materials anytime, anywhere. They fit in a pocket and they're relatively cheap. You can buy entire carts of iPods for classroom use if you want or supply them 1:1-style for much less than you can roll out 1:1 laptops. The cheaper netbooks remain competitive pricewise, though.
So there's the question: as a mobile learning device, what do you prefer for your students? What makes the most sense? Take the poll and talk back below.