Finding the right technology model - The Wanniassa Hills story

At Wanniassa Hills Primary School, simpler is better. Finding a model that gets the technology out of the way and allows the school to concentrate on teaching and learning is the number one priority.

For a long time, there was a lot of technology in the school: computers, laptops, iPads; but none of it was really being used in any meaningful way. In fact quite a lot of it sat in storerooms never being used at all. Why? Because some of it didn't work, some of it was too complicated, and a lot of it was just outdated. Why would teachers or students want to use old, clunky technologies when what they have access to outside of school is so much better?
Outdated technology just takes up valuable space.

Is there technology sitting in cupboards that never even gets used?

Understanding this, the school's mission was simple: make the technology easy for everyone to use and even more importantly, make it possible for them to use it well. Making such a big change is challenging for any school, but there were some key actions that helped them along the way:


Engage the whole school community

Time spent on engaging the community (staff, students and parents) through regular communication, information sessions and consultation ensures that everyone is on board. Doing this gives the school the opportunity to demonstrate the benefits of using new technologies, answer questions, and address concerns.

Professional Development for a core group

Wanniassa Hills principal John knew he had people in his school that would champion the new technologies. He gave them the opportunity to attend professional development and the time to practice and develop their skills. The emphasis was always on starting from the good pedagogy that they already had in place.


Pedagogy first

All technology use should be driven by the desired educational outcomes. If technology doesn’t add value, don’t use it. Funnily enough, this approach can be quite liberating! Models like SAMR and Bloom's Digital Taxonomy can help frame your thinking around quality technology use.

Understand the tools

You don’t need to be an expert, but it's important to understand what the tools do and how they work. John knows enough to know what's working and what's not - and how to fix it!

High expectations

Just as John has high expectations of his staff to deliver quality learning outcomes, all staff at Wanniassa Hills Primary School have high expectations for their students. Expect the best from staff and students and they will deliver.


Get rid of the old stuff!

Old computers are slow and unreliable. Too much time and effort is spent trying to keep it all going. Better to invest in the new!

Find a simple model that works

The Wanniassa Hills Primary School community wasn't the right place for a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) approach, so it was important to find a device model that allowed for efficient, simple and equitable sharing of resources. This is what they've come up with:

Staff devices

All staff will use the Elitebook Revolve (the device that all ACT public school teachers will be using in 2016), with 2 docks.

One dock is used on the computer desk, and one is used on the classroom display. Teachers will move their device between the two docks.
Staff dock their laptops when they are at their desk, to take advantage of a larger monitor. 
In the classroom, a dock stays connected to the Interactive Whiteboard.


Knowing that they won't be implementing BYOD, the school has bought a large number of Chromebooks for use by the students. There is currently one Chromebook for every 2 students in years 4-6.

Early childhood students will also use Chromebooks. John firmly believes that this type of device allows for much more rigorous teaching and learning, as well as authentic skill development. The early childhood students at Wanniassa Hills are well on their way to developing the digital skills outlined in the Australian Curriculum.

This post outlines just one way to approach technology adoption and change in the school. We encourage you to read this and other posts on this subject when trying to find the best fit for your school. You might find one way is perfect, or you might find that the best approach combines a variety of ideas from lots of different schools.