This from the Chronicle of Higher Ed:
In November, with help from a U.S. Department of Education grant, Bellevue bought 500 netbooks—inexpensive laptops used to download and read Internet material—to rent out for $35 per quarter. Negotiations are still continuing with publishers, but the cost of the e-textbooks used on the devices can be half that of traditional books.
I have to say that as cool as this might sound, I HATE hardware-based solutions, especially when the college is holding the bag. I hate ARS (e.g., clickers) for the same reason, especially when phones are ubiquitous and there are systems available to allow them to act like clickers. Granted, there are ancillary benefits of having access to a netbook, but I wonder how many of the target students already carry smartphones? The latest Pew research seems to indicate that lower-income students tend to access the internet on devices:
Teens from low-income households, particularly African-Americans, are much more likely than other
teens to go online using a cell phone. Source – Pew: Teens and Mobile Phones, April 2010
Read the rest of the Chronicle article here.