By Douglas Blane
Margaret VassMargaret Vass: quietly inspiringSmartly dressed and quietly-spoken, Margaret Vass is no one's idea of a typical technology expert. It came as something of a surprise even to her. "When they suggested I apply for this job I told them, 'That's not me.'

"I thought an ICT specialist was somebody who came into your class and set up your whiteboard." But as an ICT curriculum support officer in Falkirk, Margaret has far more impact than that on learning and teaching. Local authorities around Scotland have moved at different speeds to embrace the benefits of new technology.

By Jack Kenny
Dr Paul KelleyDr Paul KelleyApplying scientific method to innovation is at the heart of headteacher Paul Kelley's work.  At Monkseaton High School, in Whitley Bay, he constantly questions the status quo and the role of schools, and looks for ways to develop.

One of the first developments pioneered by Kelley was the introduction of degree studies to schools and colleges across the UK in partnership with the Open University. Around 50,000 students have benefited, most of them on science-related courses. Another innovation is degree apprenticeships. Students can obtain a degree while they are at school.

By Douglas Blane

Ewan McIntoshEwan McIntosh: 'build in some slack'Days of nothingness should feature in every plan, says Ewan McIntosh – whether it belongs to an individual or an institution. "The best ideas come uninvited. So you need to build in some slack. I've yet to see a school development plan that had pages of nothing in it. But they should have.

"Instead people foresee problems that don't exist, to fill in their plans. They'd be far better setting time aside to deal with real problems, when they occur, in a creative way."

By Gerald Haigh
Dan RobertsDan Roberts: new wave learningYou all know Dan Roberts, assistant headteacher responsible for learning at Saltash.net Community School in Cornwall. The tweeter who goes by the  moniker @chickensaltash.

You don’t? Well, it’s time you did. For my money he’s one of the liveliest thinkers – and doers – working anywhere in the education sector. He’s one of the team that’s put Saltash.net on the global stage for its innovative use of ICT in teaching and learning.

Matthew EavesMatthew Eaves: personal learning space...When Ultralab, the Chelmsford-based learning and technology research hothouse, disappeared from public view, most of its staff vanished too - but not for long. What was Anglia Ruskin University's loss became education's gain as a welter of highly experienced talent spread out to other projects.

One such offshoot is Cleveratom, created by Matthew Eaves, Hal MacLean and Alex Blanc, which is successfully developing learning spaces and ICT - it supported City College Norwich's award-winning RUGroom for learners with ASD (Autistic Spectrum Disorder). The work spurred Cleveratom to come up with a simple but powerful formula for effective learning places.