Reeling from budget shortfalls from coast to coast and desperate for solutions that promise to save money while helping schools meet the requirements of No Child Left Behind (NCLB), education stakeholders arrived at the National School Boards Association's annual Technology + Learning conference short on money and long on skepticism.

It didn't help that the event--held Oct. 22-24 in Anaheim, Calif.--saw a sharp drop in attendance from previous years, with NSBA officials reporting 1,300 paid attendees and another 500 guests.

Even before the first wildfires ignited in southern California, organizers


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