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How O’Dea High School implemented Canva with a single sign-on


O’Dea High School(opens in a new tab or window) is an all-male Catholic high school based in Seattle, Washington. Their mission is to provide easy access to an innovative learning environment that supports academic and social excellence. With over 460 students, Canva for Education supports a safe learning environment through single-sign-on, opening up access to more opportunities for creativity in the classroom and beyond.

The Challenge

Whether it's in academic excellence or athletic culture, O’Dea High School combines traditional teaching methods with forward-thinking educational technology. And a big part of modern-day ed-tech is fully integrated design software.

But finding a cutting-edge design tool that was easy to implement and learn school-wide was a challenge.

With over two decades of experience in education, David Olinger, Director of Digital Strategy at O’Dea High School, started experimenting with professional design tool solutions for both students and staff.

“Other professional design tools were missing the bridge from basic designs to advanced,” he says.

“They didn’t make designing easy or accessible for non-designers.”

These tools were challenging to onboard, took time to set up, and required multiple student sign-ins. Because of their complexity, teachers and students were also confined to traditional lesson formats.

Canva design for O'Dea's Technology shown on laptop

O'Dea High School uses Canva for Education for its ease of use and secure single sign-on (SSO).

The Solution

Knowing there was an opportunity to do more in their digital environment, O’Dea High School introduced Canva for Education. David says that Canva was the number one choice because of its secure single sign-on (SSO) and ease of use.

“Before Canva, there was no SSO-connected design software available,” says David.

“Canva really simplified the onboarding process and made it easy for everyone to get started.”

Since the roll-out, Canva for Education has enabled more creativity in the classroom and supported how teachers and staff visually communicate information. Some of the most-used templates for teachers, students and staffe at O’Dea High School include presentations, posters, infographics, and videos.

“Before Canva, teachers were under the yoke of reading and writing. Now they have more outputs and visual tools to diversify lessons, feedback, and assessments,” David says.

Staying secure at school

O’Dea High School needs its digital tools to keep students, staff, teachers, and alumni connected. So when it came to Canva, easily integrating into their current digital environment was a major advantage.

“Canva’s single sign-on makes adoption super easy because there's no barrier to getting started. And I think that's a big thing for teachers adopting new products,” says David.

O’Dea is the first school to launch single sign-on with Canva. The secure single sign-on capability allowed the school to quickly onboard over 460 students and 67 staff.

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“Single sign-on saves so much time with no onboarding. There’s no need for long support calls. Students and teachers can go to their device and sign in to Canva with one click.”

David Olinger

Director of Digital Strategy, O'Dea High School

Student looks at a keynote presentation on desktop computer

Canva for Education has expanded creativity options for teachers to engage with students at O'Dea High School.

Canva’s creative classrooms

Before Canva, teachers would build their lessons around standard reading and writing exercises.

Today, Canva gives O’Dea’s teachers more creative options for planning their lessons, assessing work, engaging with students, and collecting feedback within highly visual, shareable templates.

Now they maximize their time with students and enhance the learning experience. With more visual templates to choose from, such as video and presentations, the classroom has an exciting new dynamic.

“In the past, students might’ve had an essay as an assignment. But now they’re creating interactive documents with QR codes that not only meet the assignment's needs but challenge them to present their knowledge more visually,” says David.

A creative approach to every assignment is the new normal since O’Dea rolled out Canva. Students are working on passion projects and learning skills they can use far beyond the classroom.

Easy to use in every department

Canva has had a positive impact outside the classroom too, with staff and administrators easily creating their own high-quality content.

With intuitive, time-saving features such as the Background Remover and Canva Print, the creative possibilities are endless.

“I see people in my main office who will make something for our marketing campaigns. Instead of going to a professional designer, they’re doing it themselves in Canva,” says David.

Canva also bridges the gap between ideation and output. Students quickly and easily design assets like posters, infographics, and videos without pushing back their assignments or taking away from the lesson.

For O’Dea High School, their community is everything. So having a tool where they could collaborate in real-time was important. Now with Canva, teachers, staff, and students are always connected through design.

“Canva’s accessibility makes all members of the O’Dea community designers and creators, and has led to awesome creative moments of collaboration building designs," David says.

"One of my primary goals as a leader is to help our students and teachers see themselves as more than distributors and consumers of information to become creators and designers. Canva is an exciting tool for this transformation to take place, where teachers and students build the confidence and experience to produce, author, and share their own content and designs that they can be proud of."
David Olinger
Director of Digital Strategy, O'Dea High School
Exterior of O'Dea High School shown with a Canva design on a mobile phone
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