written by David P. Barnard, President, 1956-1958
World War II gave great impetus to the movement of "Visual Instruction" both in the development of teaching techniques, equipment (e.g. overhead projector), film rental libraries, and educational film production (ERPI, Coronet, EBF, etc.) In Wisconsin, W. A. Wittich became the new director of the UW-Madison's Bureau of Visual Instruction in 1946. He was instrumental in getting a group of school AV people together to organize an organization called the Wisconsin Department of Audio-Visual Instruction--soon to become affiliated with DAVI, a unit of the NEA.
WDAVI was organized in March 1948 by Louis Slock, UW-Eau Claire; Glady Halverson, Fond du Lac; George Roseman, Beloit; Charles Ladd, River Falls; Robert Shreve, Appleton; Robert Wheeler, Waukesha; and Charles Schuller, UW- Madison. The first general meeting of the organization was held in Madison on March 18, 1949, with 52 persons in attendance. A picture of the attendees was taken on the steps of the Union.
Dues were $1.00 per year!
Bob Schreve was elected president. He was followed by Robert Wheeler, Waukesha, 1950; Val Borger, UW-Milwaukee, 1951; Merlin (Mike) Lucia, Green Bay, 1952; Robert Grigsby, Appleton, 1953; Nick Magaro, Kenosha, 1954; Robert Fisler, 1955; Raymond Petrie, Milwaukee, 1956; David P. Barnard, UW-Stout, 1956-1957; and Donald K. Mereen, Milwaukee, 1958-1959.
The first significant output of the new group was a survey/analysis of AV programs in Wisconsin schools, directed by Nick Magaro, Kenosha. He found that there were four full-time AV directors in the state: Appleton, Beloit, Green Bay, and Milwaukee. By late 1949, a newsletter "WDAVI Dispatch" had been launched with John Hamburg, Edgerton, as the first editor. Later Maurie Iverson, UW-Madison, assumed the editing and production task until 1956 when Fritz White became the first Executive Secretary and editor of the Dispatch. Dave Barnard, UW-Stout, took over the Dispatch job in 1958 as the next executive secretary of WDAVI. He held this position for 12 years.
In 1950-51, an AV workshop manual (one chapter) was produced by a committee chaired by Charles Schuller, BAVI. In 1953, UW-Stout held its first "Audio-Visual Conference," an annual event that continued for over 25 years under Dave Barnard's direction. In 1955, a committee headed by Ray Petrie, Milwaukee, was established to "investigate the possibility of a state certification law demanding two hours of college training in audio-visual instruction." Later, such a rule was implemented by DPI under Bob Wheeler's prodding. Also in 1955, Harold McCarty, UW-extension, organized a committee to "investigate educational television and the ways it can be promoted". This action was prompted by the failure of a 1954 state referendum to establish an ETV station in Madison.
Another AV status study in 1955 by Frederic White, UW-Madison, revealed that AV courses were available during the academic year at six of the 11 institutions preparing teachers. The report also indicated that less than one-third of the teachers in Wisconsin had had a course in AV instruction. In 1956, a WDAVI committee conducted a study and made recommendations for room-darkening facilities in Wisconsin schools. In 1957, a guide, "AV Facilities for New School Buildings," was prepared and distributed by DPI. Later the booklet was adopted by DAVI (later to become AECT).
In 1959, an M.S. Degree in Audio-Visual Instruction (later Media Technology) was inaugurated at UW-Stout under the direction of Dave Barnard, Chair, AV department. In 1959-60, under the leadership of W.A. Wittich, a team of AV experts developed a 32 lesson televised course in AV instruction which made significant contributions to teacher training around the country. Viggo Rasmussen, UW-LaCrosse, and Fritz White, UW-Madison, were two of the studio teachers.
By the end of the first decade, WDAVI had become a viable, professional organization dedicated to moving AV instruction forward in Wisconsin schools.