Ed Tech #7: Canva

What is it?

Canva is an online graphic design tool. You can customize and make items like infographics, newsletters, banners, or images. It also can be used for photo editing, and is particularly useful in making eye-catching graphs or charts. While I realize it is not as specifically geared towards “education” as some of the tools I’ve looked at, it still has many applications in the virtual and in-person classroom (see this link: Canva for Education).

How does it work?

Canva is very easy to use! You sign up for a free account with your email address and a password. Canva has paid accounts available that let you access more features, but you can still do quite a lot with a free account. Once you have your free account, you can choose from a variety of available templates and customize with your own text, images, etc. While some templates/images/designs cost a dollar or two, I have always found what I needed solely in the free items. I’ve used Canva frequently for my coursework, so if you want to see some of the things you can do with Canva, check out some of my previous blog posts:

After creating a design, you can download it, embed it, share a link, etc. For example, it took me less than 5 minutes to make, download, and embed the image below using Canva.Good design encourages a viewer to want to learn more. Alexander Isley

Strengths, Limitations and Applications

I know “making a course pretty” is not usually an instructor’s top priority. However, I would argue that visual design should be considered a key component of course design. We are more likely to want to spend time in a space (virtual or otherwise) when it is visually pleasant and interesting. When instructors take care with their design elements (like those you can create with Canva), it demonstrates to students that you are invested in the course and in their experience of the course.

So how could Canva be applied in a course? Instead of creating a fact sheet with basic text, consider an infographic. Instead of creating a syllabus with a simple text heading, consider creating a banner. Especially in the context of online education, students’ first impressions of the course will be formed based on your visual design. No matter what you choose to create, Canva offers an easy way to introduce professional-looking design elements into your course.

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7 Comments

  1. Oh wow, I really like this! There is so much information that I try to give my band and choir students that I could present to them using Canva. I have considered purchasing informational posters for my classroom, but with this I could just make my own with the exact information I want. Thanks for sharing, I will definitely be using this!

  2. I’ve heard of teachers using this or something like it for their syllabus. They might not be able to put ALL the information from a classic syllabus format, but they make a note that a detailed syllabus is available upon request. I can see how having an infographic syllabus is much more eye-catching than a “formal” syllabus, and I also like the idea of having that original for anyone who wants it.

  3. This seems like a great resource for all teachers to know about. It seems that it can be adapted to be used with elementary students (posters, newsletters) or older students (Infographics and flow charts). I really like resources that can be used across a wide group of students. I think this would be a great resource for me as a new teacher to use because it is a simple editing and publishing software.

  4. I have used Canva in the past but not for educational purposes. I really like how you mentioned using it as a banner as the head of a syllabus or online study guide. The first impression is always the most important. When I first looked at your post I scrolled through to see how long it was and your design popped out and the wheat field made a connection with me. Really cool post this week. Thanks.

  5. I love infographics and my students like making them! I have never used Canva, but I will definitely check it out. My students will be doing a research project towards the end of the year and I think it would be a fun and interesting option for them to show what they learned and know. Do you think it is user friendly enough for 4th graders?

    1. Honestly I’m not sure if a 4th grader would be able to figure it out or not – I don’t know how tech savvy 4th-graders are these days 😉 It is very user-friendly, so they probably would be ok. But I would say – there are a lot of images and templates on Canva and since it is not specifically geared for kids… you may want to keep a close eye your students while they’re using it, to make sure they don’t latch onto an image/template that may not necessarily be appropriate for a 4th grader.

  6. I think this would be great for middle schoolers and above. Why not allow students to make their reports look good? Why not make our stuff look good?
    I will need to check it out, too.

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