(Note: This posting is cross-posted from the AASL Blog.)
While these days we are blessed with a variety of excellent web-based graphics tools, Canva.com, one of AASL’s Best Websites for Teaching and Learning for 2014, definitely stands out from the crowd. It has become my first choice stop when I need to create an original graphic, even with Photoshop Elements installed on my computer. You will want to use it yourself and also encourage your students and teacher colleague teachers to as well.
Here are some reasons why:
- It’s free.
- It is completely web-based and platform independent.
- It is super easy to use.
- It offers a huge collection of vibrant backgrounds, shapes, and graphics, and also allows you to upload your own.
- Along with the free graphics, you can opt for a large collection of paid options, each of which is just $1.00.
- It has 21 pre-sized templates - for example: presentations (1024px x 768px), Instagram (640px x 640px), and more - but also allows you to create a custom-sized graphic. And for all graphics, you can design a single image, or multiple pages.
- Created graphics can be shared directly to Twitter or Facebook, downloaded as pdfs or png files, or shared with either a read-only or even editable link. (The person receiving the link needs to open a Canva account to view and edit the image.) And, all your creations remain available for further editing on the Canva site.
- The help information is extensive, and, in addition, Canva’s “Design School” includes both lessons and interactive tutorials on principles of design you can use on your own and share with students. You can even subscribe to the tutorials and get weekly design lessons via email.
To get started using Canva, open a free account. Then, you can just dive in, start with one of the tutorials (such as this lesson, which can also serve as a class lesson), or check out this great screencast on Heather Moorefield-Lang’s TechFifteen YouTube channel recently made by Meg Coker.
A good activity for using Canva with your students might be for an assignment creating an infographic. Canva offers a ton of attractive images for infographics. Just use the Search box to search for “infographics” as a keyword. Look on the left of this screenshot to see some of the infographic symbols available:
For some examples of infographics made with Canva, watch California School Library Association’s new film, “Does Your School Have a Teacher Librarian?” All the infographics were made by Karen Morgenstern, the film producer, using Canva. The title screen was also created with Canva:
You might also want to encourage students to create class slide presentations using Canva. While using this Canva, they can take advantage of the extensive built-in design elements and the design tutorial assistance to improve the visual quality of their presentations. Canva lacks the real time collaboration option of Google Slides/Presentations, but the link sharing feature will allow for asynchronous editing. Students could also create graphics in Canva and import them into Google Slides.
Just two caveats to remember when using Canva. First, it does require establishing a free account, and users must be 13 or older. And, second, If you pay for one or more $1 stock media items as part of one of your designs, you can only use that stock media in one of your Canva designs and you’re not allowed to later edit the PDFs or PNGs or give others permission to use them. I personally avoid using the paid media items for my educational creations, not because of the cost, which is so reasonable at $1 a piece, but because I can’t then assign the material containing the design a Creative Commons license to pass the rights to use it on to others.
And, some great news: Canva is now also an iPad app. Check out either the web-based version or the app today!
And more news .... Just since my posting was published on the AASL Blog yesterday, I learned that Canva now allows you to customize your profile, share your favorite designs with others, and follow friends' designs. Here's a video from Canva about it:
I'm working on my profile now. :-)
I'm working on my profile now. :-)