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Image by FlamingText.com

Anecdotal History of the Westside Chapter, compiled in 2005.

Early on in the history of Arizona (actually in the 1970’s) when media started to truly emerge as a Science in education, regular, everyday educators started to seek collegial support in making teaching and learning more effective for all concerned. The Arizona Educational Media Association was a small group (maybe 500 in it’s hay-day) of Library Media Specialists trying to introduce the NEWEST technologies of 16 mm film, talking filmstrips and records along with that wonderful tool, the overhead projector. AEMA was affiliated with the Association of Education Communication and Technology (AECT) a national organization. Over the years AECT and AEMA concentrated on the visual media and related issues.

Statewide there were a variety of both formal and informal groups (again peer groups) addressing various problems. Sun Valley Idea Exchange, the ADE’s Software Evaluation Group, and Arizona Education Technology Committee (it was AETC – may not have been “committee”) all met, on their own time and expense, to form peer support groups. Some were local to the Maricopa County area – most were statewide in scope.
By the 1990’s it was evident to many of us that something formal and long term needed to happen if we, as practitioners, were to survive. In 1994 a group of maybe eight people had lunch at ASU-W and decided, “The time is now”. By looking first at different models of “belonging” CUE (in California), AEMA, ISTE and such the group decided to incorporate as an ISTE (International Society of Technology in Education) Affiliate.
The first Chairperson for the Westside Chapter was Carl Marino (Technology Trainer for Glendale Elementary School District – now retired and living near Seattle, Washington. Trevor Ettenborough, Kim Thomas, Laurie Shragge, Ruth Catalano and a host of others supported him. After serving for over 2 years, Melissa Frye (originally from Deer Valley who “retired” and went to work with Pendergast) became Chairperson with Nan Williams (Alhambra) as co-chair. The Chapter sponsored the Way out West Conference from the beginning.

The brave original WOW Chairperson was Dr. Alice Christie who conceived the conference and ensured its success the first year. Subsequently a larger and larger volunteer committee has facilitated the conference (Ruth Catalano, Chair for conferences 2-5). The conference has grown from 150 participants to over 600 in 2005. It is hosted at ASU-W with their co-sponsorship through the faculty (first Dr. Christie and later Dr. Lance Wilhelm).

The Chapter has grown as the program offerings have expanded. In 2004/05 the chapter conducted a member survey to determine desires and needs. As a result chapter members provided peer professional growth throughout the year in the form of free member workshops, in addition to the conferences. Even the “monthly” meetings were professionally focused on networking, collaborative thinking and group planning for mutual benefit. Dr. Peggy George (ASU-W and Madison) brought her student teachers into the events as a pre-graduation induction to the organization (as well as managing the survey and providing some of the workshops herself).

Many of the original chapter members have remained active, others have retired, moved positions within their districts (further away from direct technology applications). Jim Lewis, Pendergast, has served as the Chapter Webmaster for two years, and works diligently (and successfully) to keep the communication channels open.

Respectfully submitted

Ruth Catalano

Westside Chapter Historian

AzTEA original Past-President