Howard Rheingold

By Jack Kenny
Howard Rheingold has been the chronicler of the creative technology surge in the San Francisco area that changed the dynamics of our world. His contribution has been to try to understand and analyse it and now he is one of the world's foremost authorities on, and teachers of, the social implications of technology.

For the last 20 years Howard has travelled the world, observing and writing about trends in computing, communications and culture. He is also heavily involved in education and learning. His innovations come from his continuous forensic analysis of the digital world.

By Douglas Blane
David GilmourDavid Gilmour: 'above the parapet'Quality learning and teaching will be tough to achieve in the years ahead, with education budgets slashed to bail out bungling banks. A good place to look for inspiration might be Scotland's smaller education authorities, where getting the most bang for your buck is a way of life.

East Lothian, a third the area of London with a population of just one hundredth, has six secondary schools and no cities. Yet this unlikely location has created a culture of innovation in educational ICT that is second to none. A list of the 10 most technologically innovative educators in Scotland would include four who came from this culture. Ewan McIntosh and Ollie Bray are already part of this series. And Don Ledingham's academic research was where it all began, says David Gilmour – who completes the quartet.

By Merlin John

Jaye Richards has a distinctive quality that makes her a very special teacher. In her school days she was a disengaged learner and she has never forgotten what it felt like.

That’s why her focus never strays from her learners and their outcomes, and why she advocates, and can implement, changes in learning: “Innovation is a real opportunity to give learners a voice and that is what has always coloured my work with innovation.”

John DavittJohn Davitt: gifting 'synapses of insight'By Bill Hicks
Ask John Davitt what he thinks learning should be like, and the chances are he’ll quote you a lyric from Billy Bragg’s 1991 hit "Sexuality". Why, John demands, shouldn’t learning be “strong and warm and wild and free”.

If those are qualities that you don’t naturally associate with learning in our schools and colleges, then that, according to John Davitt, is a terrible indictment of the system. He believes strongly that with the digital tools at our disposal, we should now  be able to revolutionise learning – if not, “history will judge us harshly for this failure”.

“History will say, ‘you had those tools and you did WHAT with them?’”

Sally McKeown talks to an innovator who will help her learners by any means necessary
Carol AllenCarol Allen: be prepared to 'get your hands dirty'Not just an early adopter of technology, Carol Allen, advisory teacher for ICT and special needs in North Tyneside has been an ’early adapter’ of every form of technology, ensuring it meets the needs of children with disabilities and learning difficulties. She has used Nintendo handhelds to make speech therapy more fun and created sensory playkits from Tesco ‘£1 specials’. "Take what’s there and bend it," she says.

Well known as a judge of special needs awards, her blend of innovation and enthusiasm has also made her popular with schools, local authorities and the software industry. Now much of her work is a key consultant in special needs provision for capital projects like Building Schools for the Future.