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Brian Scarbeau Insights from a seasoned Computer Science Trainer

Yesterday, I had the privilege of attending the Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference (I/ITSEC) which was held at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL.  This convention is not open to the general public and over 250 high school students from Central Florida were invited to attend along with their teacher as chaperones. The last time I attended this event was four years ago and lots of technology has changed as you know in that time period.

Some of my students have attended this event for several years now and my colleague Brent Pirie was in charge. Brent now works with our lower school as their computer science teacher so I volunteered to take them. We could not take any photos at the event but the link above will give you an idea of what we saw.


The Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference (I/ITSEC) promotes cooperation among the Armed Services, Industry, Academia and various Government agencies in pursuit of improved training and education programs, identification of common training issues and development of multiservice programs.

I/ITSEC is the premiere event of its kind in the world of training, modeling and simulation. The conference and exhibits represent the changing technologies as well as the changing training and education needs of its attendees. The centerpiece of the conference is the multiple presentations of previously unpubished papers, as well as tutorials and special events, all selected by an extensive peer review process.

The 140,000+ square foot exhibit hall features over 400 exhibitors, giving attendees the unique opportunity to explore the latest developments and to talk with many of the contacts in the industry,government and academia who have brought them to life.

To give you an idea of large this event was here is some information about last year:

Nearly 16,000 total registrants
Included in that total are:
Over 4,000 conference delegates
Over 400 Exhibitors
14%, or approximately 2,300, government registrants (2,000 US, 300 non-US)
Over 1,800 International registrants from 44 countries

Charlotte Hobbs from Lockheed Martin was our host and coordinated the program for us. We arrived at the convention center at 9 am and assembled together as a group before being allowed to view the exhibits. Charlotte welcomed us and told us that the exhibitors knew that we were coming and that they would answer any of our questions. She also informed the students that they would be seeing simulation equipment worth a million dollars and that this wasn’t going to be a toy store for them to play. She also reminded students to say thank you if the vendor was going to give them any swag.

Each student was required to write an objective as to why they wanted to go prior to being invited to the conference. In addition, at the end of the conference we needed to go back to the room for a debriefing.

Each school was assigned a chaperone to take us around. There were several military personnel including some tough looking marines who volunteered to be chaperones. There were civilian types as well. Our school was assigned the past chairman of the event.

After we met Mr. Walsh he asked the students what their interests were in the event. Each student had different views and Mr. Walsh took the students to exhibits that they were interested in. He then left and left us roam around to view the million dollar simulation equipment that the military is presently using to train soldiers.

There were simulations for tactical things like decision making on a convoy and what to do if the enemy was approaching. There were simulations for being a captain of a ship and viewing on five views what the captain would see.

My students were mostly interested in the F16 jet that they could fly. They were quite good at not crashing the plane too! What amazed us all was the number of projectors that created the outstanding graphics that we were seeing. Also, the banks of computer processors that was required to run this simulation.

There were simulations for firing weapons and yes you could hear the firing going off as you approached the exhibit. My students also flew a helicopter and the simulation changed to a night view and then a day view. The graphics were outstanding. At one point, I needed to shut my eyes because I started to feel nauseated because the flying that I was looking was way too fast for my eyes and brain to adjust too.

We also saw a simulation on Iraqi culture. A soldier would learn the correct way to address a civilian and then try to communicate with them in their language. The person learning this would speak and if they said the wrong thing they were immediately given feedback on their success or failure to communicate.

This conference was huge and we didn’t get to see it all. We needed to be back to the assigned room for debriefing by Charlotte.

I was quite proud of my students as far as the questions that they were asking vendors and their interest. All in all, it was a great learning experience for my students and for me as well.



Posted on Thursday, December 1, 2005 9:10 PM | Back to top

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