Chris Drage uses Data Harvest's K'NEX control kit for an engaging STEM approach to programming
K'NEX controlBridge keeper Chris Drage with the K'NEX version of Tower BridgeThe government is changing what children learn about computers following a successful campaign that established the importance of basic programming skills for the future. This has to be built on practical hands-on tasks that will include children making games and controlling robots.

Although laudable, as we discovered in the early 1980s few students go on to use their programming skill to a higher level. Many drop by the wayside. Programming in school is  not a new phenomenon. Arguably a better medium for learning control is via control technology: programming real models in the real world. At least in this context there is something concrete and tangible to learn about and understand.

Teachers can download QuarkXpress 9, worth nearly £1,000, for free in new offer
QuarkXpress offerThere was a time when QuarkXpress was the page creation software program of choice for most of the publishing industry but was hardly known in schools. Since those days increased competition – particularly from Adobe with its compelling education discounts – has produced some very useful offers for schools and teachers.

Now QuarkXpress is available free of charge to all teachers as part of the QuarkXpress for Teachers scheme. And the good news is that the program is no longer just a tool for print; teachers can also use it to create publications for the web and for digital tablets like the iPad and ereaders like the Kindle.

Power loss is the biggest bugbear for users of digital devices – but not when you have a mophie
Mophie juice pack powerstation PROMophie juice pack powerstation PROSmart they might increasingly be, but the current crop of smartphones isn't feted for staying power. The most you are likely to get on one battery is one day, if that. And some phone makers won’t even allow you to a spare battery.

That's why, for those who need to be connected 24/7, a recharge device like the mophie juice pack powerstation PRO (pictured) can be a lifesaver.

In a tech world cursed by proprietary connectors, iLuv brings added value. Hugh John reports
The iLuv Mo Beats sound bar: elegantEstablished in 2006, iLuv has rapidly become a major accessory provider for Apple mobile devices. At the launch of its new product range earlier this summer the company also unveiled an additional range of Samsung-friendly products.

Cases, cables, protective film, headphones, wall chargers, car chargers, ‘juice’ packs, docking stations, it’s a comprehensive list to embrace most mobile users’ needs and those of the education community too.

Elgato keeps up the innovation with plug-in TV for iPads. Hugh John reports
Elgato Thunderbolt SSD driveGiven Elgato’s longstanding affinity with Apple you wouldn’t have bet against them being one of the first companies to produce hard drives using Thunderbolt connectors (Apple’s new superfast standard for file transfer rates).

At the Digital Summer PR event (see "Digital Summer hot for latest gizmos") there was considerable interest in the new Elgato Thunderbolt SSD external hard drives featuring Thunderbolt.