For over ten years, the OTEN Annual Conference has brought together educators from across Oregon to share ideas about improving teaching and learning through integrating technology into the curriculum. At this year's conference we will be exploring how our teaching and learning environments are intersecting and being influenced by our experiences in the broader virtual world.
Our lives are infused with online technology—it seems that nobody is ever very far away from their smart phone, tablet, or laptop—and even the least tech savvy among us spend much of their daily lives engaged in online activities. These digital practices are both informing the use of technology in our classes and setting the expectations for new generations of students and educators alike. Moreover, digital natives, people who have spent their entire lives cocooned by technology, are pushing us to create more vital and active learning environments—spaces where the learner has ubiquitous access to both information and learning communities outside the confines of their own institutions. This push from below is accelerating adoption of blended and online learning methods across the universes of K-12 and higher education while affording educators new pedagogical opportunities in traditional classrooms. At the same time, the technological behaviors acquired by digital natives outside the classroom present challenges for educators and institutions alike when brought into the educational sphere. From online privacy to students engaging in questionable digital activities or inappropriate device use during class time, educators and institutions are struggling with engaging learners who are always connected.
At this year's OTEN conference, we are encouraging submissions, presentations, and participation from educators, faculty, instructional designers, technology support providers, and others engaged in the practice of teaching with technology who are making sense and use of online environments and digital practices in online, blended, and face-to-face classes.The OTEN annual conference brings together teachers, scholars, and technology leaders involved in both K-12 and higher education, making this an unparalleled opportunity for conversation and community building across the P-20 spectrum. We are very excited about this year's conference and we look forward to seeing you in Forest Grove this September.