Huh. I just downloaded iTunes 11 a couple days ago, and my iPod (a 2nd generation iPod nano, 4 GB) still works. I think it should work.
What I did, is I had my iPod connected back when I converted from like, iTunes 10.5 to iTunes 10.6, I think maybe the iTunes can then be recognized? I know when I had iTunes 9.(something...), and I tried connecting to a computer with 10.9 (I think. well, one of those), it wouldn't work. So maybe, you have to go step by step? Although my iPod wasn't connected when I was upgrading to iTunes 11, so that's just a theory.
Try going on the PC laptop and then keeping your iPod connected when upgrading to iTunes 10.6, see if that works