Plan Ahead for the 2016 iNACOL Symposium
The 2016 iNACOL Online and Blended Learning Symposium, October 25–28, at the Henry B. González Convention Center in San Antonio, Texas, is a great opportunity to energize your classroom with innovative teaching strategies and see what’s on the cutting edge of education technology. Here’s how to prepare for making the most of your three days in San Antonio, both at the convention center and out-and-about in town!
1. Do Your Homework
Don’t wait until the plane ride to San Antonio to plan your schedule! With over 200 thought-provoking sessions, you’ll need plenty of time to digest what’s available each day. Check out the iNACOL website, Facebook page, and #inacol16 on Twitter to find out more about the workshops, lectures, and events that are best for your needs.
Create an initial schedule with two or three alternatives for each time slot. You may find that what you learn on the morning of day one has an impact on what you want to learn more about that afternoon.
2. Pack with Comfort in Mind
Keep in mind that San Antonio is warm and sunny, even in October. Make sure you’re ready to hit the ground running with comfortable shoes, t-shirts, and light sweaters (it can get cold in the convention center), and light pants for the daytime.
Make sure to tuck something colorful and fun into your suitcase to wear out on the town in the evening. (You may get a second wind!)
3. Get Acquainted with San Antonio
Whether you’re taking a break from iNACOL to explore San Antonio on your own, or relaxing with new friends and colleagues, there’s plenty to do in this city rich in history and culture. The Henry B. González Convention Center is located in the heart of downtown, along the banks of the River Walk. Check out the San Antonio Visitor Information Center for ideas on where to shop, dine, drink, and more.
Download a map of downtown and the River Walk, and highlight the attractions, restaurants, and shops you may want to check out during an hour of conference downtime or in the evening.
4. Ten Daypack Essentials for the iNACOL Convention
Some basics to pack include:
- Your badge
- Reusable water bottle
- Your cell phone, loaded with the iNACOL app
- Business cards
- At least three pens and a notepad
- Laptop or iPad
- Hotel key
- Your daily schedule
Keep your purse or daypack light, to keep your step light during the busy day.
Conference attendees will be introduced to the app before the conference so that you can use it with ease to connect with other attendees, plan sessions, and access resources. Benefits include:
- Social networking with educational experts of similar interest
- Access to presentations and other materials provided by presenters
- Webcast recordings of all general sessions (added post-conference)
- Integration with other social media platforms using hashtag #inacol16
- Technical assistance with app at Zerista booth near registration
The app is available both during and after the conference, and is a great way to stay in touch with the friends and contacts you make.
6. Ten Places to Recharge In or Near the Henry B. González Convention Center
Even if you have a room at a hotel near the convention center, there may not be enough time to get back to your room during the day. Here are some places to keep in mind that you can use to collect your thoughts in semi-solitude or rehash a workshop with a few other attendees. Also, the convention center has some inspiring works of art, some of which are in relatively quiet spaces—or at least great places to people watch! Check out:
- The Hall of Statues on the Meeting Level includes 17 six-foot bronze statues depicting Texas dignitaries such as President LBJ, Congresswoman Barbara Jordan, and Comanche Chief Quanah Parker. (screenshot: http://www.sahbgcc.com/AboutUs/ArtworkDesign.aspx)
- The Liquid Crystal fountain draws inspiration from the San Antonio River, exploring links between natural flows and digital representation, and between the flow of the water and the flow of people in the hub of the convention center. The tower’s impressive digital LCS panels transmit and reflect light to varying degrees, creating an ever-changing shimmering effect. (screenshot: http://www.sahbgcc.com/AboutUs/ArtworkDesign.aspx)
- Original artwork for the 1968 World’s Fair, held in San Antonio, can be found in the West Lobby. (screenshot: http://www.sahbgcc.com/AboutUs/ArtworkDesign.aspx)
- Outside of Room 213 on the Meeting Room Level, you’ll find a bucolic mural entitled, “Autumn in West Texas.” The oil on canvas was painted in 1957 by Porfirio Salinas, described by President Lyndon B. Johnson as “the best landscape painter in Texas.” (Screenshot: http://www.sahbgcc.com/AboutUs/ArtworkDesign.aspx)
- The World Heritage Room can be a good place for downtime. You’ll find paintings of the San Antonio Missions, now a World Heritage Site, by Artist Jose Vives-Atsara. (screenshot: http://www.sahbgcc.com/AboutUs/ArtworkDesign.aspx)
There are also several onsite cafes as well as coffeehouses and restaurants within walking distance if you need some fresh air, including: