History of the Alabama Educational Technology Association

The first group to recognize the need to have an organization that would address technology needs in Alabama was the Alabama Council for Computers in Education (ACCE) which later became the Alabama Council for Technology in Education (ACTE). Anyone interested in the advancement of technology could join.

Current or honorary AETA members who were members of this early organization are Donna Williamson and Fran Pridgeon. At one time, ACTE sponsored a technology organization for students in all grades. Currently ACTE sponsors regional and state technology fairs. ACTE also sponsored state technology conferences until the state took over this project. Past presidents of ACTE include Ron Wright, Alabama State Department of Education, Jim Burney, and others.

As ACTE began to fade as an organization outside their sponsorship of the technology fairs, new developments made it essential for another organization to be created to address growing and changing technology.

In 1998 an organization called Central Alabama Technology Consortium (CATC) was formed to provide support and assistance to technology coordinators across the state. This group held most of their meetings in Mountain Brook. Meetings were held quarterly to share ideas and resources.

As needs continued to grow and interest in a state-wide organization was talked about at local and state meetings, a small group met at the Pita Place near UAB and discussed expanding CATC. This group became the Alabama Educational Technology Association and the cc domain name was adopted and registered. The first funds deposited to the AETA bank account were the remaining funds held by CATC. Rita Wright agreed to become the first president and Margaret Blake was selected as vice president. Donna Williamson served as the first treasurer and Stevie Ash served as the first secretary.

The Alabama Educational Technology Association (AETA) held its first fall symposium in October 7-9, 2001 at the Perdido Beach Resort in Orange Beach, Alabama. The theme of this conference was "Making An Impact." Each year after that first gathering the symposium has increased in popularity drawing participants from around the state. Even when Hurricane Ivan tore through Orange Beach just two weeks before the conference in October 2004, the officers were able to move the symposium to the Pearl River Resort in Mississippi. Although attendance was slightly lower because of being out of the state, it was still rated as one of the most successful symposiums.

AETA began to advocate for the technology needs in Alabama with state government officials. Working together with the state department of education, AETA worked to make the following funding possible:

  • Funds for each district to hire a full-time technology coordinator
  • Reinstating funds after for teachers to purchase technology ($181)
  • Increase in the funds for teachers to purchase technology ($350)
  • In 2006, AETA adopted the following technology needs as areas of advocacy and requested that the state legislature provide adequate funding for technology from a stable source for all LEAs for the following:
  • Add a computer upgrade/maintenance line item at $100 per student.
  • Increase funding for the Technology Coordinator position to fully fund each position (one preschool system)
  • Add to the foundation program one technology teaching unit in all K-8 schools.

Over the years membership in AETA has increased. After the 2007 Fall Symposium there were 227 paid members. Membership categories include:

  1. Members should be employees of educational institutions and should use or support technology products, applications of technology, and/or services as a significant part of their teaching, administrative, or support positions.
  2. Associate Members are individuals who are employees of non-profit groups providing support technology by educational institutions.
  3. Honorary Members are past members who have retired from the educational system and will not be required to pay dues and will not vote. They will, however, be eligible to participate in all other activities.

AETA has been fortunate to have officers and board members who are willing to give of their personal time to ensure that the goals and objectives of the organization are met. The following individuals have served tirelessly in their respective offices:

Officers President VP VP of Sponsor Relations Secretary Treasurer VP Professional Development
2000-2002 Rita Wright Margaret Blake   Stevie Ash Donna Williamson N/A
2002-2004 Margaret Blake Kathy Rains   Angie Wilson Susan Poling N/A
2004-2006 Kathy Rains Davis Brock   Pat Kelly Susan Poling N/A
2006-2007 Davis Brock David Asbury Glen Granberry Jana Hoggle Susan Poling N/A
2007-2008 Davis Brock David Asbury Glen Granberry Jana Hoggle Tommy Whitten N/A
2008-2009 David Asbury Jana Hoggle Glen Granberry Ron McDaniel Tommy Whitten N/A
2009-2010 David Asbury Ron McDaniel Glen Granberry Shawn Nutting Tommy Whitten N/A
2010-2011 Jana Hoggle Ron McDaniel Glen Granberry Shawn Nutting Tommy Whitten N/A
2011-2012 Jana Hoggle Ron McDaniel Sean Holmes Shawn Nutting Debbie Rice N/A
2012-2013 Ron McDaniel Shawn Nutting Sean Holmes Eric Burrage Debbie Rice N/A
2013-2014 Ron McDaniel Bruce Ellard Sean Holmes Eric Burrage Debbie Rice N/A
2014-2015 Bruce Ellard Glen Granberry Sean Holmes Eric Burrage Tommy Whitten N/A
2015-2016 Bruce Ellard Glen Granberry Tim Southerland Eric Burrage Tommy Whitten Kelli Lane
2016-2017 Glen Granberry Bryan Phillips Tim Southerland Barbara Burchard Tommy Whitten Kelli Lane