Right now, I have to tell them to either use school computers during the day, or to pick up a $170 laptop (more than enough — I administer the class using such a laptop). However, I was surprised at the lack of a super-cheap option for students. I'd love to see something for $20 that any student could afford easily, or perhaps I could just gift to a few students. I feel like something in this price range could be sufficiently powerful for basic word processing, youtube videos, and internet searches (internet access is a separate issue). But looking over my options I see:
1) The very cheapest Chromebooks are also in the $170 range.
2) Android Sticks have been around for a while, and do cost in the $20 range, but don't seem to have matured into a generally usable technology. Surprisingly, there doesn't seem to be a community effort to easily turn these Android sticks into Ubuntu/Mint sticks.
3) Students can't be assumed to have the technical know-how to fix up a Salvation Army computer (I wouldn't mind helping out a bit, but I don't want to turn into tech support)
4) A Raspberry Pi costs $70 once you include a case/power supply/etc, and students would receive a big bag of parts.
5) Cheap Windows Tablets have glitches, and don't have an HDMI out.
6) There isn't a good solution to using a cell phone as a desktop computer.
Are any of my assumptions wrong? Are there any other options I'm not considering?