News: TEC called 'innovator' in distance learning
Story by Master Sgt. Michael Smith
MCGHEE TYSON AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Tenn. - The Federal Government Distance Learning Association (FGDLA) recently recognized the I.G. Brown Training and Education Center as an "innovator in distance learning."
The TEC received the FGDLA 2014 Innovation Award.
The award recognizes an organization for "demonstrating leadership in the development of emerging distance learning technologies providing enterprise-wide solutions for the federal government," said an FGDLA announcement.
The TEC's formal recognition is Aug. 15 at the FGDLA conference in Virginia.
"This award speaks to the hard work done here to develop TEC's vision in learning techniques and technology," said Gerry Barnes, director of the Warrior Network (WN) and a broadcast engineer for TEC.
The award highlights TEC, more specifically the Air National Guard WN program management office at TEC TV.
The FGDLA considered government agencies, organizations, accredited institutions and corporations that support distance learning for the federal government, said its officials.
The WN supports tens of thousands of Airmen each year via advanced distributive learning products and broadcasts.
The WN provides satellite broadcasts, nationwide, to 186 downlink sites. That includes satellite NCO Academy and Airman Leadership School.
Barnes said that the original purpose for the WN was to deliver cost-effective satellite enlisted professional military education across the Air National Guard, as well as provide distance-learning courses.
The award points out the TEC's efforts toward WN development.
TEC TV began a $2.7 million dollar facility upgrade in 2010 for high-definition broadcasting, along with DVB-S2 transmission, expanded editing capabilities and long-term media storage.
In June 2012, TEC TV developed video tele-training (VTT) capabilities, also called a high frame-rate, high bit-rate, high-definition and video tele-presence over a dedicated network.
VTT was designed for TEC TV, the Air National Guard Readiness Center and various other sites to provide studio-originated training and education programming, said Barnes.
Site participants provide video and audio feedback through VTT to the TEC TV control room for instructor interaction and integration into satellite broadcasts.
Beginning with nine original sites, the VTT concept expanded to 14 sites with more sites planned in 2014.
"This initiative has significantly reduced travel costs while enabling a high level of knowledge transfer and skill retention," said Barnes.