I have always thought that dumb-terminals were kind of cool. In fact one of the things that caught my eye about UNIX was an advertisement in BYTE magazine in the 1980's by SCO (Sana Cruse Operation) it showed a picture of a 286 computer hosting a room full of dumb terminals. It was not the power but the Time Sharing that I thought was cool.
I believed then that one of the things holding business back was not the processing power of the computers but the bottleneck of getting data into them. Even my Apple//e with a 8 bit 1 MHz CPU could hold a huge data base for a mailing list do word processing and do payroll and even almost anything else a small business could need. But it could take months for one person to type all of that in unless you had more than on computer to type on.
I was looking at using Linux, BSD's and FOSS for education and schools long before OLPC (One Laptop Per Child) came along. One of the first things that came up was using Linux with dumb-terminals. Then came the LTSP (the linux terminal server project) this made smart terminals or let each PC in a class room boot from a linux server without it own disk. Other than that terminals seem to be fading in to the past along with mainframe computers.
A company called NComputing is looking to change that with an inexpensive line of terminals for business or schools. Unlike terminals of the past these terminals have a GUI and mouse. Modern computers a have more than enough power to handle such a task such as data input from many people at once. After all if it could be done with a 286 in the 1980's just think what a multi-core GHz GigaRAM TaraDrive machine can do!
LTSP also see edubuntu
OLPC and laptop.org