I have very little experience with the mini notebooks. From what I’ve seen, the keyboard and screen are small enough that they require greater attention from the operator… pulling your attention from the class. I wouldn’t bother trying to share that screen with more than one person at a time, and even then, only when you’re sitting side-by-side.
I have used my iBook in private classes in the past, but experience has taught me not to bother with more than one or two students. The screen simply isn’t bright and sharp enough, and if viewed from too much of an angle (say, the second desk to the side), you can’t make out what’s onscreen. With a small class (up to four students), the tiny iPhone screen is about as useful for displaying some content.
Apparently, that’s not an issue with the iPad, which is bright and sharp enough that it works as well as a larger screen, and it can be viewed well from sharp angles.
These are the iPad dimensions:
Height: 9.56 inches (242.8 mm)
Width: 7.47 inches (189.7 mm)
Depth: 0.5 inch (13.4 mm)
Weight: 1.5 pounds (0.68 kg) Wi-Fi model; 1.6 pounds (0.73 kg) Wi-Fi + 3G model
They’re not yet on sale through official channels in Taiwan, but they are available in various shops. And yes, you can certainly use it as a Kindle. There’s even a Kindle app, and the thing was dubbed a “Kindle killer” early on.
I went looking for something else and stumbled across this review from six months ago. Not the best review, but the video in the background gives you a decent idea of how it’ll look to your students while in your hands, and how it’s used.
What are you going to be teaching/demo’ing onscreen? What age groups? Are there specific programs you want to run? Are you interested in purpose-built educational apps?
If you’re packing it to work everyday, don’t get a large laptop.
You could get a mini notebook and have a large external monitor and full-sized keyboard that stay behind in your class. (I have such a set-up in my office for editing.)