Canva for Education

I first posted about Canva about 18 months ago when it was in its beta stage.  Since then, this amazing graphic design service has: become a full-fledged website, launched a mobile app, and unveiled its education services (which include sign-in with Google Apps for Education).

I was one of the educators approached by Canva to write some lesson plans utilizing their resources.  (Full disclosure: I was paid for this service.)  You can also find plans from Vicki Davis, Paul Hamilton, Steven Anderson, and William Ferriter.  These plans include many different disciplines and grade levels. In addition, you can access excellent specific graphic design tutorials provided by Canva.

If you are looking for app-smashing ideas for Canva and ThingLink, try these from Lisa Johnson (TechChef4U).  Lisa also explains how to use Canva’s public profile feature in this guest post on Free Technology for Teachers.

One of my favorite things about Canva is how the company has really reached out to educators for suggestions and ideas.  As you will see on their Canva for Education splash page, they have a board of Education Advisors, and I can personally attest that Canva keeps in regular contact with us to find ways they can improve their product.

Canva is free, but it also offers graphics for a fee.  It’s easy to train your students to identify the free images, backgrounds, etc… so their projects don’t end up costing money.  In addition, they can upload their own images, and take advantage of Canva’s free templates to design eye-popping presentations, posters, and collages.

If you have students in elementary school, I recommend that you create one account that your students will all access.  This will allow you to keep track of their projects and, if you are in a school where students share iPads, then this account can stay logged in.

The best way to get started with Canva as a teacher is to open a free account and start using it yourself.  Make blog graphics, picture collages, quote posters for your classroom.  Once you see how easy it is to create something that looks professional, you will come up with your own ideas for ways to integrate it into your classroom.

A six word memoir of The Giver created by one of my 5th graders in Canva
A six word memoir of The Giver created by one of my 5th graders in Canva

 

Canva – Amazingly Simple Graphic Design

I love the power of Twitter!  The other day, I was skimming through my Twitter stream, and noticed an intriguing reference to something called “Canva” in a tweet from @shannonmmiller.  I went to the link, and was immediately hooked. Unfortunately, Canva was not immediately hooked on me.  The site is in Beta testing, so you have to fill out your info and wait for an invitation before you can log in. Happily, I waited less than 24 hours before I got the coveted e-mail granting me access.

I am not good at design.  At all.  So, I was thrilled to see that Canva helps a lot with that.  If you are trying to create any kind of hand-out or image for your blog, Canva has tons of templates, layouts, and stock images to help you out.  It is incredibly simple to use, and very easy to share as a PDF, an image or a web link.

Canva Workspace
Canva Workspace showing some of the different layout options for a Photo Collage
Canva Sharing options
Canva Sharing options

I have been using a couple of free apps on my iPad to put together picture collages, for example.  But look how nicely I was able to display a few pictures from our Cardboard Challenge with Canva’s tools.  It literally took me less than 5 minutes from start to finish.

Cardboard Box Challenge

With all of the great things I see, I have many plans for using Canva.  However, I will probably have to wait until they make a few tweaks (hopefully) so that my students can use it.  First of all, the search of their 1,000,000 images produced some questionable ones that I would be reluctant for my elementary students to add to a poster.  Also, not all of their resources are free.  There are lots of stock images that can be accessed, but paid ones are also included in searches.  Each paid one that you add to your poster costs $1.

Canva
Some of Canva’s free Text Holders

Even though it is obvious that schools are not the target consumer for Canva, I would love to see an Edu version of Canva that would allow you to filter out the paid options, which would also probably eliminate the more “adult” offerings.  There is a lot of potential for creative uses for this tool in schools, so I am looking forward to improvements as their site continues to grow.