News Articles

New technology puts training into multiple sites in Florida

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (BP)–Ever wanted to be in three places at one time?
Through the Florida Baptist Convention’s first use of Interactive Compressed Television (ICTV), Bill Carmichael and Gary Nichols were able to do just that.
From the Baptist Building in Jacksonville, the two Florida Baptist Convention discipleship training department staff members led a Bible drill judging workshop for small groups gathered at First Baptist Church, Orlando; Florida Baptist Theological College, Graceville; and the Jacksonville convention headquarters. Video cameras and voice-sensitive microphones were set up at each location with television screens that projected live feeds of each group.
The seminar was part of an ICTV study by selected Florida Baptist Convention staff who will test the ICTV system through similar small-group seminars, then train others to use the equipment. While the convention’s first use of ICTV pointed out the need for improvements in audio and video reception, participants considered the March 13 seminar a success.
“I liked being able to have three separate audiences,” said Carmichael, director of the discipleship training department. “I think that’s the genius of ICTV — from Jacksonville, leading a conference where people from other locations can participate and interact.”
The Florida Baptist Convention is establishing an ICTV network with eight receiving sites in the state for theological education and ministry training. Current sites are in Jacksonville, Graceville, Orlando and Miami. Florida Baptist Centers of Theological Education and Ministry Training also are planned for Tampa Bay, the Space Coast, the southwest coast and Fort Lauderdale.
Ty Wood, director of the convention’s media services department, explained ICTV technology is made possible by a multi-point connection unit, which converts video images into digital data. The data is then transmitted through high-capacity telephone lines to multiple locations and converted back into video.
“This seminar demonstrated the real strength of this technology,” Wood said. “Staff were able to conduct very specific training to a target audience in a more cost-effective and time-saving way.”
Steve Griffith, minister of education at First Baptist Church in Orange Park, said the convenience of attending the seminar in nearby Jacksonville was a major benefit. “With people being so busy, traveling so much and still trying to keep up with trends in ministry, I think these types of seminars will provide greater opportunities to train more people,” he said.
Roger Phillips, a student at FBTC, said the seminar gave him an opportunity to interact with people from other parts of the state — people he otherwise might not have had a chance to meet.
Mary Helen Myers, a member of Haines Creek Baptist Church, Leesburg, participated at the Orlando site. She said she is excited about the possibilities for ICTV as its technology develops.
“I see a lot of potential for its future use in more and more events,” she said.

    About the Author

  • Kristi Hodge