Finding the right technology model - Richardson Primary School

Richardson Primary School is a small P-6 school in Tuggeranong. They are quite well-known for their interesting and innovative approach to education, and have received some good attention about the way they have enhanced student outcomes. Despite being identified as having low socio-economic status, Richardson Primary School have implemented a well-resourced technology plan that allows them to implement excellent teaching and learning opportunities for all members of the school community.


As with all successful examples of technology integration, the principal and leadership team are actively involved in driving innovation and good teaching practice supported by technology. Principal Jason makes sure he is well-informed about technology, but also critical about its use. If it does not support and enhance teaching and learning at the school, he challenges his staff to be critical about whether they actually need to use it.

Teachers at Richardson Primary School are always keen to try out technologies if they will make a difference for their students. When they learned about the potential of Google Apps for Education (GAFE), some key teachers visited other schools to see the technology in action. They use Google Apps for Education for a range of staff activities, which help them to get a good idea of what is possible with the platform, but also give them practice using it. Some of these activities include:

Student Awards:

ICT Help Requests:

When teachers need some help with ICT, they can lodge a request using a Google form. This way, the ICT Coordinator can keep track of what's been requested, and organise their support time in the most productive way.

Classroom walk-throughs:

Using forms to document observations and activities have made classroom walk-throughs much more meaningful for leaders and teachers. The leader can make some quick observations by using a scale, and make comments directly into the form. They can then use this data as a basis for their conversations with staff.

Techy Brekkies:

To support teachers further, Google Apps super-user Ben has introduced the RPS Techie Brekkie as an informal professional learning for staff on the use of technology in the classroom. It runs every Thursday morning before school in weeks 3, 5 and 7. Teachers can bring along questions, devices, ideas about everything from QR codes and iPads to GAFE and Coding. This offers ongoing support for the staff who may otherwise be unable to find the answers and support they need.


Richardson Primary School has been refining their technology model since Jason took over as principal in 2012. Their approach to technology has always been informed by whether it is supporting learning. They have transitioned over time from computer labs to computers in classrooms to portable devices that the students use daily. They visited other schools when researching devices, and decided on Chromebooks as the best fit for the kind of teaching and learning that goes on in the school.


BYOD was never an option at Richardson. Through consultation and regular engagement with the parent community, it became clear that this model would not work. Financial issues aside, many families didn't even have wireless internet access at home, so BYOD was not going to work. Instead, the school invested in a Chromebooks for each student in year 5/6 to use while they were at school. In fact, the school now has 1:1 access to a Chromebook device for every student in years 3-6. Of course this has meant that students in the other grades have ‘inherited’ some of the other technologies, resulting in increased access to devices for all students in the school.

As soon as they started using Chromebooks, they noticed the difference immediately. There are a few main things that students and teachers noticed about using Chromebooks:

They don't make much of an impact on the WiFi at all. Many Chromebooks can be logged on at the same time with no issue.
The login times are significantly quicker than any other device.
They are a much more flexible device than a desktop computer; or a tablet, which can make activities that require typing quite difficult.

The way that technology has become an integral part of the teaching and learning at Richardson Primary is testament to their considered approach. We're looking forward to seeing what happens next!

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. We'll publish more of these stories over the coming weeks.