Thursday, February 5, 2015

Design Awesome Classroom Resources with Canva

Thanks to today's blogger is Tim Wilhelmus, an Innovation, Curriculum and Technology Specialist (ICATS) with Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation.

*Parts of this post originally appeared as part of the ICATS 30 Day Challenge.

I'll never forget the first time that I saw another teacher add clip art to a handout for students. Suddenly, my purely text-based handouts seemed lame and inaccessible. There is no doubt that we have come a long way in terms of our ability to enhance our materials for all types of learners. Today, it is a simple process to add visuals to our materials (as well as audio, video, and animations). Multimedia literacy has become more and more important in life, and it is increasingly important in the classroom. And just as clip art once put my text-only handouts to shame, there are now digital tools that enable us to step up our game beyond the free clip art that we find on the web.

There are tons of great tools for designing and creating great visuals that look professional regardless of our own artistic talents or design experience. These tools can enhance our learners' understanding of content and ability to convey information. Not only that, but these tools can help us develop a classroom brand that helps us share the great things that are going on in our classrooms. One of the best tools for designing and creating compelling graphical images is Canva. Whether you are looking to design a poster, an image for a presentation, graphics for handouts, or branding for your social media accounts, Canva make the design process easy.

 What is Canva? 

Check out this intro video to get a clearer sense of what Canva can do:

And here are some examples of graphics I created with Canva:


Why Canva?

There are several reasons why I love Canva as a classroom creation tool. First, it is entirely possible to create with Canva without spending any money. Their model is to offer their basic features library for free. Then, they sell additional graphic features (pictures, layouts, text features) per item used. But the free library is truly abundant. Also, they allow users to upload their own images, so between the Canva library and my own resources, I can easily design objects for free.

Second, I love that Canva has already designed templates for some of the graphic objects I am most likely to want to create including presentation slides, posters, documents, and social media headers.

Third, Canva comes complete with some amazing design tutorials, so I can learn more about how to make my designs effective as I use the product.

Finally, I am able to share my designs by either downloading them, getting a link to share them online, or sharing them through Twitter and/or Facebook.

Getting Started

Here are some resources to get you going:

Simple Canva Video Guide
Another Canva Video Tutorial
Canva Design Tutorials
Using Canva to Create Mini Posters
7 Ways to Use Canva
Using Canva to Teach Visual Influence

Suggested Uses

  1. Design business cards to introduce yourself to your class. 
  2. Design appealing logos for your classroom social media accounts. 
  3. Create collages of classroom experiences to share with parents and the community. 
  4. Design posters and invitations to promote extra-curricular events. 
  5. Create graphics designed to introduce a topic. 
  6. Create visual discussion-starters or writing prompts. 
  7. Create images designed to explain a process or explain a concept. 
  8. Create book covers and graphics for ePortfolios or Student Binders. 
  9. Create infographics based on data collected around a topic. 
  10. Create posters that promote a positive shared classroom culture.

Your Challenge

Check out Canva and the other resources above, then use the comment section below to share ways that you use Canva in the classroom, or ways that you imagine Canva could enhance teaching and learning.

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