This year, the Ohio Educational Technology Conference, one of the largest in the nation, celebrates its 15th year. OETC is hosted by the eTech Ohio Commission, a state agency dedicated to advancing education through technology, and is set for February 11-13, 2013, at the Greater Columbus Convention Center in Columbus, Ohio.
This year’s conference will be broken up into daily themes: Monday is Blended Learning 101, Tuesday is Tech Coordinator Tuesday, and Wednesday is Higher Education.
While there are nearly 400 breakout sessions, workshops and speakers scheduled during the conference, there are plenty of other unique opportunities for learning and networking happening this year that standout. Here are five of those standout reasons to attend OETC13:
1. The Mash Lab, a special exhibition at the conference, will feature a tremendous amount of innovative practices and hands-on opportunities for attendees including a texting and driving simulator from the Ohio Department of Transportation, a look into Cleveland Metropolitan School District’s use of the FabLab in their STEM school, a CORI Robotics and STEM Robotics challenge, The Columbus Idea Foundry and 3D printing technology, and the You Will Rise Art Project, a multimedia display featuring the work of 8th-12th graders who were (or have been) bullied.
2.OETC Social Media Command, a fully staffed social media command center that will serve as the official social media headquarters for OETC13 creating an interactive social media engagement experience for attendees. Along with monitoring conversations, engaging participants, and creating content, social media command plans to host live guests at the command center for on-site Twitter chats, live blogging and Google Plus Hangouts.
3. This is the first year for an UNconference at OETC13 called #OETCx. Taking place on Tuesday (Feb. 12), the UNconference will be driven by participants and will be less structured than the rest of the conference. About a half dozen tech coordinators and tech integration specialists from around the state of Ohio have taken the lead and will host sessions like the App Smackdown, to see how educational professionals are solving real classroom challenges by integrating the best apps that help meet the needs of teachers and students, and the Encienda, featuring lightening presentations on edtech from the audience.
4. A lot is being made of massive open online courses (MOOCs), the equalization of education, and online learning throughout the nation. OETC is featuring sessions about this, but has gone even further booking not only one online learning pioneer as a keynoter, but two! Andrew Ng, co-founder of Coursera and a Stanford professor and Sebastian Thrun, a Google VP and founder of Udacity, will co-headline the final day of the conference on Wednesday (Feb. 13).
5. Game-based learning, the use of videogames and computer games for educational purposes, is increasingly growing as a cutting edge method to teach in a classroom as school districts progress into a new era in education. It will receive ample attention at the conference as a separate learning track throughout the conference. There are six workshops scheduled, 12 educational sessions and two panels on the topic.