How Wirreanda Public School prepares its students for the future with Canva


Wirreanda Public School(opens in a new tab or window) is located north of Newcastle in New South Wales, Australia. Set amongst a native, coastal environment, “Wirreanda” is an Indigenous name that translates to “wallabies under the tall trees”. Canva For Education empowers more than 600 students from kindergarten to grade six, and over 50 teachers to connect, share and create within a central design tool, enhancing visual learning.

The Challenge

Technology has transformed how students and teachers connect in the classroom. After more than a decade in education, Liz Johnson, Wirreanda Public School’s Assistant Principal, says one of the biggest advances she’s seen is how students embrace digital tools as part of their everyday learning.

“In the 15 years that I’ve been teaching, I’ve gone from students having workbooks and pencils to now, all of our classrooms have mobile learning devices. A lot of what we do at Wirreanda is based around technology,” she says.

However, these advanced ways of learning and engaging students in the classroom also come with multiple programs, logins and software, making the process much more difficult and time-consuming.

The Solution

Wirreanda Public School implemented Canva For Education to streamline that exercise, enabling students and teachers to create and design projects seamlessly without adding technical complications.

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“Part of the joy that I get out of teaching is being able to teach young children things that they’re going to use for life. We use Canva at our school as a way of students presenting their learning, and we also use it as a teaching tool so teachers are able to deliver their lessons to students with ease."

Liz Johnson

Assistant Principal, Wirreanda Public School

With Canva, teachers can use thousands of ready-made templates and easily adapt these for their classroom projects, cutting out hours of prep time. For students, Liz says she’s seen positive shifts in the classroom and beyond as they discover new ways of learning and creatively sharing assignments.

“I think the biggest change is around how students present information. They’ve gone from using pencils and paper to now having to work with multi-modal text and being able to adapt quite quickly to what the future’s going to expect of them,” she says.

A teacher watches her students use Canva on a laptop

Canva for Education allows for real-time collaboration among students in the classroom

Engaging students through visual learning

From math classes, to science and business studies, students at Wirreanda are embracing new creative ways to visually demonstrate what they’re learning in the classroom through Canva.

“Students are not putting information into a book. They're not writing answers. They're being creative in the way that they present their information,” Liz says.

One example is how students communicate their learning in math classes. Rather than traditional numbers and textbooks, students use Canva to create data-led infographics, selecting different elements, charts, statistics, videos, and images to showcase their mathematical knowledge in highly visual ways.

“The students love the opportunity to drag photos in and there's a really big variety of images and graphics for them to choose from. They also love the fact that in Canva, you can choose from a range of infographics. They don't need to start from scratch when designing things,” Liz says.

It’s this advanced method of learning and flexing new skills to present their knowledge in engaging, visual ways, Liz says is setting Wirreanda students apart.

“We’ve really improved our ability to present the information that they’re working on. I feel that we're ahead of the game because of the things that the kids have been exposed to using Canva,” she says.

Connecting through digital collaboration

Canva enables teachers to digitally connect with students and instantly share pre-prepared lessons they can dive into. This process has unlocked both time and connectivity for teachers.

“Some of the things that I like about Canva is creating my own class, and as students finish completing a task, they can click on ‘share with teacher’. And I can see all the different designs that they’re working on,” Liz says.

“Being able to have a look at their design on my own computer screen rather than looking at theirs is a big help.”

The real-time collaboration capabilities within Canva also creates opportunities for students to work on group projects, each adding images, text, and graphics to produce assignments within a single tool.

“They can all have a role to play, and they can be involved in different elements to create something together,” Liz says.

This method of sharing visual information also extends outside the classroom to students’ families.

Liz says students have the ability to work as teams on collaborative projects, such as creating a website within Canva to showcase their work, which can easily be shared with parents at the end of the year.

“Parents in our community are really supportive of the things we're doing at Wirreanda. They understand that we have a lot of team teaching classrooms, where the students are learning to collaborate with each other. They love looking at some of the project-based learning that we're doing in the school.”

Laptop showing a space template being designed with Canva

Wirreanda Public School students have used Canva to visualize infographics

Inspiring the next generation of leaders

The technical and visual communication skills students at Wirreanda are adopting in the classroom are setting them up for future success though high school, higher ed and eventually, the workforce.

For starters, students are learning how to create resumes or job advertisement within Canva.

Budding entrepreneurs and the next generation of business leaders are also exploring creating a company logo within the platform, then taking that creative to make merchandise, such as t-shirts, stickers for water bottles, or social media posts, all within Canva.

“Everything that we are doing is in order to give them life skills for the future. Canva provides students with an opportunity to apply what they’re learning in the classroom to the real world,” Liz says.

Wirreanda’s focus on digital learning and encouraging students to create and share information through visual formats, Liz says, is setting them up with the knowledge to advance beyond the classroom.

“It's about giving them skills and having the tools that they can use when they're in high school. You can see how in the future, when they’re in the workforce, they will come back to Canva because it's so easy to use.”

“I consider myself a creative person outside of school. I love painting, arts and crafts. But at school, my creativity comes through technology. Implementing lessons in Canva is far more enjoyable as a teacher than showing them in different platforms."
Liz Johnson
Assistant Principal, Wirreanda Public School

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