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Frequently Asked Questions about Submitting a Proposal to Present at #iNACOL19

Education Domain Blog

Author(s): Natalie Slocum

Issue(s): Issues in Practice

iNACOL is now accepting proposals to present at the iNACOL Symposium 2019, held on October 28-31 in Palm Springs, California. The iNACOL Symposium is the premier learning conference driving the transformation of education systems and accelerating the advancement of breakthrough policies and practices to ensure high-quality learning for all. iNACOL’s annual conference will bring together 3,000 experts and educational leaders exploring the leading edge of personalized, competency-based learning in K-12 education from across the United States and around the world, including leading practitioners and educators, policymakers, researchers and innovators from throughout the field. Attendees will find invaluable networking opportunities; access to expertise, analysis, the latest trends and research; and thought-provoking interactive sessions for leaders shaping the future of education. The Symposium includes hundreds of engaging interactive sessions, with tags to guide attendees toward highly relevant professional learning opportunities.

Through March 8, 2019, we are seeking presentation proposals that provide engaging and interactive learning opportunities, modeling personalized, competency-based learning environments, drawing on participant experiences and promoting dialogue and exchange. Across the various presentation formats and strands, we also encourage presentation proposals that target specific nuances of implementation that dig below the surface and unpack rather than being very general in nature. For tips on submitting your presentation proposal, we have an archived webinar that explains the RFP process and timeline for proposal selection and highlights ways to design interactive sessions that generate meaningful collaboration and foster engagement.

Below is a list of frequently asked questions about submitting presentation proposals for the iNACOL Symposium 2019.

About the Symposium

When and where is the iNACOL Symposium being held?

The iNACOL Symposium 2019 will be held on October 28-31 at the Palm Springs Convention Center in California. You can find the schedule of events here.

How can I learn more about this event?

You can find more information about the iNACOL Symposium 2019 on the conference website. You can also view highlights from the Symposium 2018 here. To ensure you are notified of the latest Symposium announcements, sign up to receive the “Stay Connected” newsletter updates here.

Who attends the iNACOL Symposium?

About 65% of iNACOL Symposium attendees are either K-12 teachers, school administrators or district leaders. The remainder of attendees are primarily nonprofit leaders, policymakers, researchers, technical assistance/professional development providers, and tool providers.

What is this year’s theme?

The theme of this year’s Symposium is: “Shining a Light on the Future of Learning.” You may wish to consider this theme, as well as iNACOL’s mission, vision and values, as you design your presentation proposal.


When is the Request for Presentation Proposals open?

The Request for Presentation Proposals opened on February 5, and closes at 11:59 p.m. ET on March 8, 2019. Please note that we cannot accept proposals submitted after this deadline.

When will I find out if my session is accepted?

By May 6, 2019, iNACOL will send acceptance, waitlist and rejection emails to all who submitted presentation proposals.

If my session is accepted, will I have the opportunity to make any changes to my session proposal? What if I need to make changes to co-presenters or other information related to my proposal?

Between June 3 and June 21, presenters whose sessions have been accepted will have the opportunity to update their session proposals directly within our online system. After June 21, any changes to your session must be communicated directly to Christy Ellis, Events Project Manager, at [email protected].

August 3 is the deadline to send any final changes to iNACOL. Changes sent after this date will not be accepted.

Implementation Focus

What is iNACOL seeking in terms of presentation proposals?

New this year, we are seeking proposals that dig below the surface on specific implementation challenges the field is facing. As the field advances through its next wave of innovation and implementation, we’re seeing educators and practitioners running into challenging implementation issues, and we believe the Symposium is the perfect venue to bring educators together to dive deeply into these issues, unpack them, and develop action steps to further advance the field. In the review process, across the various tracks and presentation formats, we are seeking session proposals that are focused on deeply addressing the nuances of implementation challenges, rather than very general, surface-level sessions.

We are also seeking proposals that include very clear learning objectives that identify the knowledge and skills that attendees will acquire in order to implement specific changes in their schools, districts or states.

RFP Process

Can I see a list of all RFP questions?

A list of all questions included in the RFP can be viewed and downloaded via this PDF document.

How does communication work between presenters and iNACOL leading up to the Symposium?

If your presentation proposal is selected, there must be one point of contact (who is typically the lead presenter in most cases) who is responsible for sharing all information with their co-presenters throughout the entire process leading up to the Symposium, verifying any scheduling conflicts, and communicating these changes or changes to co-presenters back to us in a timely manner. We’ll do our very best to accommodate any conflicts or presenter changes, but the closer we near to the conference, the more difficult these changes become, so please keep open lines of communication with us should your session be selected and there be any changes. Also, please bear in mind that for the RFP process, each co-presenter must submit a unique email, and use that same email for Symposium registration.

How many presentation proposals can my organization submit?

Each organization or school may submit up to three presentation proposals. If more than three proposals are submitted by a single organization, only the first three submitted chronologically will be reviewed.

Tips for Designing Interactive Sessions

How can I design a presentation proposal that thoughtfully engages the session participants?

The iNACOL Program Committee is seeking presentation proposals that explicitly show how you intend to design interactive sessions. Here are a few examples of ways to engage your attendees. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but these are just some ideas to help you get started if you’re unsure.

  • Design quick response surveys.
  • Move away from slide deck/“stand and deliver” toward conversation. Avoid a stand-and-deliver session model.
  • Start with ice breaker to promote engagement & networking.
  • Gauge audience interest & level of understanding at beginning of session. Use this information to tailor your session accordingly.
  • Group and re-group attendees around common interests.
  • Consider Pecha Kucha or Lightning Talk format: 20 slides, 20 seconds per slide.
  • Encourage attendees to share what they’re learning on social media using #inacol19.

We encourage you to be creative in designing your session to promote interactivity and deep engagement among attendees.


What is a session track/strand?

Each session during the Symposium is labeled with a track (or strand) to help guide attendees toward the sessions most closely aligned with their interests and needs. This is intended to help attendees personalize their own experience. Attendees can stay either attend sessions in one track throughout the entire conference, or they can jump across different tracks based on their learning needs. This year, the iNACOL Symposium is offering 25 session tracks. When you submit your presentation proposal, you may choose only one session track. Please choose the one that most closely aligns to the main topic of your session. You can find a list of session tracks here.

Does iNACOL accept a certain number of sessions under each different track or for each session type?

We do not apply a quota to accept a specific number of sessions under each session track or session type. The iNACOL Program Committee focuses on choosing the best selection of sessions and workshops that will meet the broad range of attendees’ needs.


When does Symposium attendee registration open?

iNACOL will open attendee registration for the Symposium in early spring. Early-bird registration ends on July 10, so be sure to register prior to the July 10 deadline to save on registration fees. You can look here for the latest information on attending and registering for the Symposium.

What is Innovation Corner?

Innovation Corner is an innovative space for school models to showcase their personalized, competency-based models and tools in action at the iNACOL Symposium. Our goal is to align our work (mission, vision and values) with the experience in the Innovation Corner’s showcase.

Specific areas of the Innovation Corner include:

  • Schools Showcase: Attendees learn firsthand from schools and school district practitioners who are successfully implementing personalized and competency-based learning models.
  • Tools Showcase: Participants can interact directly with tools that foster personalized, competency-based learning.
  • Student Showcases: Let the students themselves speak to you through these two student-based galleries, a chronicle of student experiences.
  • Sponsor Showcase: Sponsors interact directly with decision makers at the state, district and school levels. You can view 2018 sponsors here.

If you are interested in participating in Innovation Corner, please contact Tracy Breithaupt at [email protected].

Learn More:  

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