Arkansas Technology

Main Street Little Rock creative corridor
Brian Chilson / Arkansas Times

The Little Rock Technology Park Authority on Wednesday unveiled the architectural plans for the first phase of the much-discussed multimillion dollar downtown development that has been in the works now for eight years.

The Little Rock Technology Park Authority agreed on Tuesday to make a $1,037,000 counter offer to attorney Richard Mays to purchase his firm’s downtown office Tuesday, opening the door for the publicly-financed authority to move forward with the first phase of a tech park to boost entrepreneurship.

House Speaker Jeremy Gillam (R-Judsonia) after presenting his "challenge" to spread broadband to every parcel of Arkansas.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

Broadband internet access for every Arkansan is the challenge being put forth by the state’s legislative leadership. 

The House speaker and Senate president presented their call to action on Wednesday to a joint meeting of the Advanced Communications and Information Technology committees.

An early version of the Atari classic Centipede.
Venture Center

Arkansas is in the midst of push to teach computer coding to students and the Venture Center in Little Rock hosted one pioneer programmer of Atari fame that claims Arkansas as home, Dona Bailey, on Tuesday night.

KUAR's Jacob Kauffman sat down with Dona Bailey before her Code IT talk in a conversation covering women in the early days of the industry and the increasingly entrenched place of video games in modern society.

A stand-alone, online-only branch of the University of Arkansas System for the first time began taking applications on Tuesday. The UA System is hoping the new offering will put a dent in the roughly 350,000 Arkansans that at one time started college but didn’t finish. 

University of Arkansas Fayetteville / Alfred Carrillo

The University of Arkansas is banning the use of drones and remote-controlled model aircraft on or over the Fayetteville campus without prior approval.

The school announced the new policy Monday, saying in a statement that the move was made to "protect the safety, security and privacy of students, faculty, staff and campus visitors."

The Little Rock School District will be allowing high school students to carry their cell phones with them during the school day as part of a pilot policy.

In the past, students who brought their phones on campus were required to leave them in their lockers during the day. But the district announced Thursday that effective immediately, that’s changing.

Many Arkansas cities are taking advantage of advances in technology to improve how they operate. On Tuesday, community leaders from around the state met in Little Rock to discuss what’s possible during a Smart Cities seminar.

The city of Mulberry, near Fort Smith, is an early adopter of such technologies. Mayor Gary Baxter says they recently bought smart water meters, which are more accurate than traditional water meters and send usage data through a wireless network.

Sarah Whites-Koditschek / KUAR News

The state’s task force on computer science education met in Little Rock Wednesday to work on making recommendations for Governor Asa Hutchinson. 

Task force member Tom Chilton of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission said a new law requires the task force to plan for teacher training and to reassess how students are taught computer science subject matter at earlier grades.

Arkansas Department of Education Deputy Commissioner Dr. Mark Gotcher and State Rep. Charlotte Douglass (R-Alma).
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

Schools in Fort Smith will be among the first to benefit from Arkansas’s two-year plan to improve broadband internet access. Education officials told a joint meeting of the House and Senate Education Committees on Monday that the Fort Smith School District, as of Wednesday, will be able to provide a 200 kilobit minimum for each student.