I haven’t been blogging much lately. I know this, but I don’t think that it is so much a reflection of me not sharing my ideas and thoughts, as much as it is a reflection of my more focused effort to complete my dissertation. After working on that as regularly as I can, I just don’t feel like writing blog posts, and I think I’m ok with that for now. At least until the big paper is complete. But, in the meantime, that doesn’t mean that I’m not thinking through all the great questions posed to me by the thoughtful and  reflective individuals in my personal learning network.

Those questions keep coming and increasingly, I’ve allowed myself to respond within the confines of 140 characters. Right or wrong, that’s the time I have at this point to offer. I hope that changes soon. I want it to change. And maybe it will, starting today. I received an email from a trusted colleague in regards to #OETCx, “the official unconference” of the Ohio Educational Technology Conference. Like myself, this person has been involved in the planning and evolution of #OETCx since it started last year. It was a succinct message:

We have a schedule for both rooms this year? Seems a little antithesis to the whole unconference thing…

As I reflected on the question and a reasoned response, I had to admit that I agree. A true unconference, wouldn’t be pre-structured at all. In fact, Ryan MacRaild and I had this very same conversation about 3 weeks back. We thought it might be better to call #OETCx an ALTconference, and in fact, that is what is reflected in the shared planning GDoc that I had sent to ODE and the Board of Regents. However, the conference organizers (those footing the bill) decided to proceed with “unconference” in the official #OETC14 marketing and promotional materials. Honestly, in the current Ohio educational climate, I’m pretty thankful the money to fund this conference is still around, otherwise we wouldn’t even have this opportunity to gather, talk, share and learn.

Regardless of the brand or name, to me, #OETCx is about the opportunity to bring the brightest and most progressive minds in education across Ohio together in one place, for one day. Because at the end of the day, that’s the opportunity we’ve got. The truth of the matter is that we all have our own communities, families and lives to support, and Tuesday, January 28, 2014, whether it is an unconference, an ALTconference or whatever we want to call it, #OETCx is what it is because it is us, together, and all of our minds together is a force to be reckoned with.

So, in light of these thoughts, I’d like to ask each one of you who have been a part of #OETCx in the past, or plan to participate this year, to take 5 minutes to make an audiocast, 15 minutes to create a mindmap, 30 minutes to write a blog post, whatever time we have right now, in whatever format you prefer, to help others understand what #OETCx is and what OETCx is not. Share it on Twitter using our hashtag #OETCx. While you’re at it, throw in #ohedchat and #OETChat too.

Help spread the word about our digital networked community of learners, invite them to participate, ask educators, parents and communities across Ohio to join our PLN, encourage and empower them to fight for educational opportunities that allow the students we serve daily to have access to the type of equitable and adequate digital learning environment they deserve.

Whatever you can contribute is valuable and whatever you do is meaningful as long as it is shared with others. The power of #OETCx lies within us and what we can do together. Ohio’s educational future is in our hands. Please join me for #OETCx on Tuesday, January 28, 2014. Together we can build a stronger tomorrow and our kids are counting on that.