The little guy to whom I'm referring is the Marvell Plug Computer. At $100 and the size of a wall wart AC adapter, the cheapskate in me starts pondering just how I might use this bad boy in a school.
It's specs are pretty minimal (half a gig of flash storage, half a gig of RAM and only a 1.2GHz processor), but it has gigabit ethernet and USB 2.0 built in. It can run any flavor of Linux (obviously, the leaner the better), so I'm envisioning test servers in computer labs for posting web sites.
Want to create a small firewall for testing in a lab? How about handling DHCP or DNS? How about a portable server that could move between schools for troubleshooting or serving up multimedia (think 8GB USB stick attached or a small USB hard drive)? Want students to experiment with clustering and load balancing? At $100 a piece, this suddenly becomes something that you can do in a classroom setting.
I don't think this is just the gadget geek in me, either. This seems like an incredibly cheap way to give students the ability to play with their own server (or at least a small group of students), giving them an easy sandbox for setting up all sorts of Internet and networking applications.
What else can you think of to do with a $100 mini server in the classroom? Talk back below and brainstorm.