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USASAM opens state-of-the-art classrooms

Staff Sgt. Robert Amrani, USASAM Aviation Physiology Training Section Initial Entry Rotary Wing Course and Altitude Chamber NCOIC, teaches the first IERW class to utilize the new classroom in Bldg. 301, Rm. X-101, May 17. (Photo by Nathan Pfau)

Staff Sgt. Robert Amrani, USASAM Aviation Physiology Training Section Initial Entry Rotary Wing Course and Altitude Chamber NCOIC, teaches the first IERW class to utilize the new classroom in Bldg. 301, Rm. X-101, May 17. (Photo by Nathan Pfau)

Published: May 31, 2016

FORT RUCKER, Ala. (May 31, 2016) -- As a training installation, Fort Rucker’s Soldiers can only be as good as the training they’re provided, and the quality of that training can only be as good as the instructors’ ability to teach.

That’s why the U.S. Army School of Aviation Medicine added a new classroom and renovated others with state-of-the-art technology to improve the quality of instruction provided to the Army’s future Aviators and Soldiers, according to Staff Sgt. Robert Amrani, USASAM Aviation Physiology Training Section Initial Entry Rotary Wing Course and Altitude Chamber NCO in charge.

Classrooms in Bldg. 301, located behind Lyster Army Health Clinic, received a facelift complete with new technologies, including 90-inch screens, new desktop computers, video conferencing capabilities and much more.

“The 90-inch screens help students be able to better see the lesson that is going on, and the entire classroom is (fitted with microphones) throughout, so even the most soft-spoken instructors can be heard by all the students,” said Amrani. “Each student has a desktop, as well, that they can use to log into the system, but even if they have trouble with that, we have it set up with ports so that they can use their issued laptops.”

The area that received the brand-new classroom, Rm. X-101, was constructed from what used to be academic offices, but now boasts a classroom able to hold up to 53 students, complete with four 90-inch screens and 55-inch screens on the sides, so no student misses a thing, said Amrani.

In addition to the classrooms receiving renovations, the night-vision lab also received some upgrades to enhance the learning experience in the form of new carpet and seats, and new light-resistant paint to reduce interference during training.

The new classrooms are also all equipped with video conferencing capabilities with cameras pointing to the instructor, as well as the students, and all students can be heard with microphones that hang from the ceiling over the students.

“We have a contingent down in Pensacola, Florida, as well as in Fort Sam Houston (Texas), so we’re able to have a classroom environment plus get classes from satellite areas,” said the NCOIC. “Just having the ability to share videos directly to (the students’) computers or the ability to pull up teleconferencing from subject-matter experts that we no longer have to bring to the school is huge.

“We can reach out to instructors (from all across the U.S.) and have a discussion, and it enhances their learning 100 fold,” he said. “Me telling you a story of someone who experienced something is not the same as that person telling you what exactly happened.”

Another enhancement to the learning experience is the amount of space provided to the students, as well, said Amrani.

“Giving them this amount of space and enhancing the environment in which they learn in is integral,” he said. “We’ve worked it out so that all the students should have unobstructed views of all the screens, so the chances for a student to miss something has been virtually eliminated.”

The classrooms also boast all new enhanced audio and speaker systems to allow students to better hear instructors.

Amrani said that having the technology to teach this way makes the learning process for the students and the instructors limitless.

“We can push the technology as far as the technology can go,” he said. “You’re only as good as your ability to teach and this takes our ability to teach to a much higher level. I believe that through our ability to enhance their learning, test scores are going to increase just because they’ll be able to retain their information better, and that’s the end goal – that they get trained the right way.”

W01 Melanie Bernal, IERW student with B Company, 1st Battalion, 145th Aviation Regiment, said she believes the new classroom will enhance her ability to retain information and learn the fundamentals of being an Aviator.

“I think it’s nice to be able to have facilities like this one to learn some of the most important lessons we will be taught throughout our careers,” she said. “Putting us into an environment that makes it easier for us to learn helps us focus on what we need and get the most out of our training that we possibly can.”

The classrooms are primarily used to teach IERW students, flight surgeons, flight psychologists and MedEvac doctrine, but Amrani said the classrooms aren’t limited to just those students or classes.

Although Rm. X-101 will be primarily used for IERW students because of the frequency of the classes, the other classrooms are flex classrooms and can be used for other classes.

“We have the ability now to give that back to Lyster,” said the NCOIC. “Although we’re our own entity, we’re housed with Lyster, so we now have the ability to give back to Lyster and have them use our classrooms when they’re not in use.

“It’s not just a great addition for USASAM, but a great addition for Fort Rucker,” he said. “If we have the latest and greatest, why not share it with other entities on post?”

This article was originally published at www.army.mil/article/168873

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