On the ground at ICTCM


hotel-lobby-floor.jpgAs you can see in this photo, I made it safe and sound to San Antonio and the ICTCM. The image here is the ICTCM logo being projected on to the floor of the lobby. I guess that makes more of a splash than just putting the names of the groups who are meeting on a board somewhere.

Except for a 90-minute delay in Detroit for a mechanical problem, the trip here was uneventful.  That’s something of a big deal for me, since I am breaking a ten-year long boycott of Northwest Airlines on this trip. The last time I flew NWA was in 1997 when I was interviewing for jobs, and I had to make three trips on NWA. Every leg of each trip encountered a delay of at least two hours. But this time around it was pretty smooth sailing. The pilot even managed somehow to make up 30 minutes of lost time while in the air.

All I have done since getting in to the hotel is check in, get my conference packet, go roaming for fast food, and plan my schedule out. The hotel here is connected directly to the famous San Antonio Riverwalk, and while looking for dinner, I exited the hotel directly into these scenes (click to enlarge):

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…which were accompanied by the heavenly smells of the Southwestern fare of the riverwalk restaurants. I’ll be lucky to escape here having only gained a dozen or so pounds.

As for the conference itself, it will be a busy and informative couple of days. Tomorrow we have the keynote address from Frank Hughes on “Real-time virtual environments for teaching mathematics” which sounds like it’s going to be about immersive, virtual-reality-type technology for teaching mathematics. That sounds interesting, and strangely enough this is exactly something that one of my linear algebra students was telling me he hoped I would see while I was here.  Then I will have my Camtasia workshop, followed by my contributed paper session talk at 1:10. Then at 2:10 there’s a contributed paper on a first-year mathematics course on mathematical experiementation; then a session on Octave; then a session on how to choose an online homework delivery system; then a session on something called symbolic geometry software which is supposed to be a hybrid of a computer algebra system and dynamic geoemtry software.

And that’s just Friday, and only a very small sample of the great variety of stuff being presented here. Saturday is just as busy, and I’ll talk about that tomorrow. As the Riverwalk is a feast for the smells and tastes of food lovers, the ICTCM promises to be a feast for the creativity and ideas of people who are passionate about teaching and technology.

At various points throughout tomorrow and Saturday, I’ll have chances to go to the exhibit hall as well. Although I have to say I am a little disappointed, because evidently there are fewer than 20 exhibitors in all here. I was expecting something like at the Joint Meetings where the entire convention center floor is wall-to-wall exhibitors. At least this will allow me to get some face time with each one, and who knows, maybe even some impromptu video interviews.

Unfortunately, the internet access at this hotel is not wireless except in the lobby, which means that I will only be able to post when I am back in the room. I will publish some of the posts on a delay to spread them out during the day, but they won’t all be in real time. I will refrain now from the rant I so desperately want to give against the Marriott hotel here — which advertises high-speed internet but charges you $10 a day to have it. Come on Marriott, what would it cost you to set up a few wireless routers and offer net access to guests?

Anyway, stay tuned for more.

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