I have just read an interesting post by Ming Chow who is relaying his experience in using the Knoppix Linux Live CD as a classroom learning tool. If you are not familiar with Knoppix, it’s basically a distribution of Linux which boots and runs completely from CD. Additionally, Knoppix “includes recent linux software and desktop environments, with programs such as OpenOffice.org, Abiword, The Gimp, Konqueror, Mozilla, Apache, PHP, MySQL and hundreds of other quality open source programs.”
The case the Chow makes is that exposing (Windows inundated) students to Knoppix is a fairly simple, but powerful way of allowing students to become familiar with an OS alternative. Additionally, Chow provides all of his students with a Knoppix CD to take home to use and experiment with.
While Knoppix is not the only Live CD version of Linux, it is probably the most popular. But if you are interested in other options, check out this comprehensive list of other Linux Live CD distros.