Chris Drage welcomes a cheap and cheerful new digital audio recorder from TAG Learning

TAG digital recorderTAG digital recorderDigital Audio Player and Recorder (£25 ex VAT) is a pocket-sized digital audio player and recorder to use for encouraging recording spoken language or listening to audio files without the need of a PC or laptop. The bright, lime-green device has a small LCD screen and a central speaker surrounded by navigation buttons and menu button.

Voice recording is achieved via the tiny built-in microphone. Files are stored in the Windows .wav format so they can be opened and edited by numerous audio editing and playback software while support is offered for playback of both MP3 and .wma audio formats.

New RM OneNew RM One: bespoke for schoolsA PC is just a PC, right? Apart from a few notable exceptions that's broadly true. But the exceptions are significant, particularly where they are designed and built for specific locations. A good example is the RM One, ubiquitous in UK schools (125,000 sold) and now even appearing in local libraries.

That's what happens when design is focused on customers and context. Now watch out for a generation of new RM Ones that are tougher, safer, greener, more communicative (integral webcams) and ultimately more useful - and RM has even put back the carry handles to make them more mobile.

2Do It Yourself2Simple's 2Do It Yourself, Crick's Write Online and Gemin-i's are classic software ICT products that were among the award winners at the Education Show in Birmingham last week (March 26-28, full list below).

Teachers and schools were also in the limelight. Wendy Sharp, of Alfreton Grange Arts College, Derbyshire, won the Leadership in Education category, while Rivington and Blackrod High School, Bolton, was named Education Establishment of the Year.

The RAGThe RAGIt's finally out in Apple's online App Store - John Davitt's 'fruit machine of learning', The RAG (Random Activity Generator). It's a cross between learning tasks and performance art.

The concept is simple but remarkably effective. The top line (fruit machine 'reel') of this iPhone/iPod Touch program gives you the subject of your learning task while the bottom line determines how you carry it out. For example "Do the history of tea as a connect-the-dots illustration." Then you just shake your Apple device and the reels whizz around again to deliver the next task.

DreamSparkMicrosoft is making a whole raft of its developers' software tools freely available to school students to use for their learning. They include popular programs like Expression Studio, Visual Studio Professional, XNA Game Studio and Robotics Developer Studio.

You can find out more about the full range of the programs available through the new DreamSpark initiative at the excellent Microsoft education blog run by UK education marketing manager Ray Fleming. "This is one of those 'Are you sure? Really sure?' blog posts," he writes, "Where somebody tells you something, and you ask 'Are you sure? Really sure?'”