The 2008 EDUCAUSE conference in Orlando was dominated by vendors pitching new ways to cut costs on college campuses and technology officials discussing solutions to ongoing problems such as illegal file sharing and laying out how universities can create more energy-thrifty IT departments.

Although the conference--which drew more than 7,000 educators--was complete with complimentary meals and computer banks armed with fast internet connections, the economy's downward spiral was evident in the exhibit hall. Only a few ed-tech companies unveiled their latest classroom technologies. Most vendors focused on strategies for cutting short-term and long-term costs for colleges and universities facing the prospect...

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