Classroom in Your Palm

Central Texas College (CTC) is testing a program that will allow a small number of students to take entire college courses on a PDA. The CTC is working with partner Coastline Community College on the initiative, and the guinea pigs for the PDA Pilot Program are students in the Navy College Program for Afloat College Education.

Students will begin their PDA matriculation this year. The courses -- biology, communications, English, government, management, math and psychology -- come on computer chips the size of postage stamps, which simply plug into the palm-size PDAs from Dell. The class instruction and assessments come via the PDA, but an old-fashioned textbook also is used as support material.

The courses are designed to provide a multimedia experience with video, audio and text. So instead of just providing the articles of the Constitution in written form for a government course, the folks at CTC's radio station, KNCT, read them aloud as an audio feature. -- Killeen Daily Herald

Tommy Thompson to Speak on Health IT

Former Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson will travel to Austin, Texas, in May to speak about IT for health care.

Thompson, now independent chairman of the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions, will appear at the World Congress on Information Technology (WCIT) 2006 conference, slated for May 1-5.

"Secretary Thompson's knowledge and efforts as [a former] HHS secretary and former four-term governor of Wisconsin are strategically aligned to the forum's goal of improving the use of IT in health care, by providing innovative solutions to the health challenges facing American families, businesses, communities, states and the nation as a whole," said Ben Bentzin, CEO of the WCIT 2006.

The conference will also serve as a forum for such topics as privacy, security and digital access of IT; and expects to draw 2,000 business, government and academic leaders from 80 countries.

"It is important to continue to bring the world's health-care issues to the forefront of discussion," said Thompson. "WCIT 2006 has done a wonderful job of framing this issue for discussion, and I am looking forward to working with other participants to create policy proposals that will help change health-care technology standards and practices around the world." 

Amber Alert Grants

The Texas Department of Public Safety was awarded a grant of $818,535 in October 2005 to help with the statewide expansion of the Amber Alert Network, and to better equip officers to deal with methamphetamine lab seizures.

These grants were awarded under the federal Local Law Enforcement Block Grant Program and are distributed by the Governor's Criminal Justice Division.

"With these funds, law enforcement officials will be better able to protect children from violent predators and continue aggressive efforts to combat the methamphetamine plague," said Gov. Rick Perry, who announced the award.

Through the grants, local law enforcement agencies can purchase necessary equipment and technology, as well as provide increased training and education for new law enforcement personnel. In addition, the grants help establish task forces and crime prevention programs; increase security in and around schools; and support drug courts, aftercare services and treatment programs for offenders.

The Texas Department of Public Safety was awarded:

  • $189,331 to continue to expand the Amber Alert Network, which provides 24-hour support to local law enforcement agencies that report and investigate child abduction cases, and issue both regional and statewide public alerts for emergency child abduction cases; and
  • $629,204 to provide safety equipment and technical assistance for hazardous chemical removal and disposal to officers statewide who come into contact with illegal methamphetamine laboratories.

 

Sued for Spyware

When Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott sued SONY BMG Music

Shane Peterson  |  Associate Editor