Leander School District students

How Leander ISD encourages 42,000 students to think creatively with Canva


Leander Independent School District (ISD) educates more than 42,000 students across 48 campuses in Leander, Texas. In 2021, Canva for Education was rolled out across the district. Today, students are finding new ways to showcase their learning, teachers can easily access and create classroom material, and administrators are keeping Leander’s content on brand, all in one central design tool.

The Challenge

In a school district as large as Leander ISD, rolling out a new learning tool for teachers and students can be complex. An individual would request a tool, which would then need approval from multiple stakeholders, plus signed data privacy agreements with the vendor. So, introducing a single platform with many functions would be a massive time-saver, both in its rollout and daily use.

“We needed a user-friendly, web-based tool that was available and scalable for all users in our K-12 system,” says Lee Howell, Coordinator of Digital Learning in Leander ISD’s teaching and learning department.

Many tools that made it through the approval process would require further learning or present accessibility challenges for teachers and students.

“Having a tool that’s accessible for all students and teachers was really key for us,” says Lee.

Student looking at Canva design on laptop

Students in Leander School District are part of teachers' classrooms using Canva for Education.

The Solution

Leander ISD is focused on preparing its students for the future. Their graduate profile embeds five C’s of future-ready skills: communication, collaboration, critical thinking, citizenship and creativity.

Luckily, Canva for Education prizes those skills too. Every one of them is embedded in the Canva product, and Canva’s own core values.

So, with this multi-purpose product and aligned values, Lee and her team presented the idea of introducing Canva for Education to Leander ISD. She quickly discovered many staff members were already using the platform for personal use, or to create classroom materials such as posters or newsletters.

The Digital Learning Team quickly realized that Canva was an ideal way to support design requirements not only for teachers and students, but other staff across the district too.

From features like the Background Remover to brainstorming in Whiteboards, Canva for Education suited teachers’ and students’ creative and practical needs in and out of the classroom.

For fourth-grade teacher Janna Walsh, who teaches at Cypress Elementary within Leander ISD, Canva’s templates have been a huge time-saver and enhanced student creativity in the classroom.

“Canva brought us something that’s ready to go and easy to personalize,” Janna says.

“With Canva, you don't have to start from scratch. You always have something to start with.”

Now, students are finding creative and visual ways to showcase their learning, and staff have a centralized tool for all their design needs.

New ways to showcase learning

Leander ISD holds student creation in high regard, and Canva for Education continues to meet that mission at every turn. Not only can teachers encourage students to try out new design formats, but students are empowered to find creative and innovative ways to showcase what they’re learning.

“We have outstanding cases of students using Canva for Education all over our district. One amazing example I can speak to is our dual-language middle school students who use Canva to create videos in both Spanish and English that showcase how they would solve global problems,” says Lee.

With Canva, Lee adds, students approach projects with creativity and critical thinking. For example, using infographics to visually present data information or creating logos from scratch in business class.

“We talk about student ownership and agency a lot in our district as one of our strategic goals, and Canva just does a great job of delivering on that,” says Lee.

Leander ISD has also seen elementary students as young as first grade embrace Canva with their projects and utilize the platform’s collection of templates, elements, and fun features such as the Background Remover and Text-to-Image.

“It’ll be interesting to see what today’s fourth graders can create when they get to middle school,” Lee says.

Canva design shown on laptop

Visual learning is showcased through Canva for Education design templates.

Simple central design tool for teachers

Leander ISD has saved a lot of time and money since Canva for Education was made the primary design tool across the district.

“I don't have to teach 50 different tools to teachers. I can show them one and let them do the work without wasting time. I'm very thankful for having one tool that can do so many different things,” says Lee.

With access to thousands of educational templates on the platform, teachers across Leander ISD are designing instructional experiences with ease, and using presentations, infographics, and Whiteboards to add a new dimension to lessons.

Canva for Education has also allowed Leander’s teachers to create a classroom culture that wasn’t possible before, by designing stickers, headers, and posters to visually enhance their classrooms.

“Teachers are using it for classroom decor. It enables them to enhance and create a welcoming space for students. Being able to create all of these assets in Canva by themselves saves time and money,” says Lee.

Brand consistency on every campus

With 48 campuses across the district, Canva’s Brand Kit allows school staff to easily and safely manage brand consistency across all visual communications.

“We use the Brand Kit district-wide to help all users with our colors, logos, and district brand fonts,” Lee says.

The Brand Kit has been helpful for various internal teams such as School & Community Relations Fine Arts, as well as the Athletics Department, who can easily access branded assets to create social media posts, newsletters, or posters for wider distribution.

Staff at Leander ISD have also taken advantage of the centralized branding system to create welcome video templates for new staff and students that can be updated and shared multiple times.

“Instead of trying to tell our district’s story over and over, it took us a few minutes to create these templates in Canva. That’s really been so helpful,” says Lee.

“The fact that Canva for Education is a free tool makes the return on investment huge. It allows our district to have a one-stop shop for all of our design needs instead of having multiple agreements for every tool. But the real win is seeing the products that students are creating to show what they are learning everyday.”
Lee Howell
Coordinator of Digital Learning, Leander ISD

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