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Canva is a graphic design platform that enables anyone in the education system to create professional-level media such as powerpoints, lesson plans, posters, websites, and infographics.
In the classroom, Canva for Education introduces a free software that allows children to enhance learning in collaboration with classmates and their teacher.
Canva allows children to showcase their creativity through flexible, digital components of graphic design, across multiple platforms and devices.
In this guide, we’ll cover the following:
- A brief description of the Canva for Education software
- Beneficial characteristics of the software
- Examples of Canva for Education use in classrooms.
Let’s get started!
What is Canva for Education?
Canva for Education is a user-friendly platform that allows schools, districts, and educational institutions to create high-quality graphics, such as presentations, videos, and posters for free.
Compared to the standard Canva, Canva for Education is specifically designed for the educational environment and includes academic resources and group project functions that are not otherwise featured.
Why use Canva for Education
Canva is a powerful educational tool that allows creative, collaborative work amongst your class in an easy-to-use way.
That way you can spend less time teaching how to use the software itself, and more time focusing on teaching content or allowing students to explore.
With difficulties in school attendance when there’s a snow day, a child becomes ill, or a flight home has been canceled, it’s reassuring to know that there are options available with Canva in the classroom.
Not only can Canva be used by anyone without a graphic design background, it’s also extremely versatile in its range of templates and encourages participation and engagement across the class!
An interesting feature of Canva for Education is the ability to create ‘Student Learning Portfolios’. This allows students to set study goals, visualize, and share progress with families or friends.
If you want to set up your students for a better repertoire of desirable skills in the future job market, learning Canva is the next step to learning complex graphic design.
The student portfolios may just make a difference for their college or job application!
1. Seamless Collaboration
We know that delays in the results of a completed task, assignment, or exam can cause undue stress and anxiety to students – eventually leading to declining performance and an overall downward spiral.
To prevent this, real-time support and collaboration are necessary during class hours, especially during the pandemic when students may feel more isolated and less able to reach out to their teachers. Canva offers exactly this!
Canva combats the conventional monotonous, unengaging classroom teaching style by offering a real-time collaboration feature.
Not only does this mean that you can provide feedback to children if teaching by-distance, classmates can also collaborate together on group assignments all through Canva.
Canva for Education also allows you to set up a class space where other teachers and students can work together, unlike the one-sided dynamic of the past education system.
2. Cost Effective
With most modern technologies, there is a premium or membership that either the student, school, or institution, needs to pay.
To tackle the disadvantage this creates for lower socioeconomic schools that may not be able to afford such a program, Canva for Education is provided at absolutely no cost for elementary and high schools (teachers and students included!).
If it’s free and it facilitates the educational experience – creating a fun, out-of-the-box teaching environment – why wouldn’t you try and see how much it changes the dynamics of your classroom?
3. Compatible With Many Platforms
Canva supports platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Youtube, and Tiktok through an app that works on Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, and Android systems.
If there are certain restrictions at your school that prevent downloading software, Canva can also be used on the web with any internet-capable device.
With Canva, you don’t need to worry about exclusivity on certain platforms or not being able to transfer content across incompatible formats.
Melanie Perkins, a cofounder of Canva, asked herself why the design programs she was teaching other students to use (like Microsoft and Adobe) couldn’t be more intuitive and user-friendly.
Her answer was Canva.
To simplify the user experience in digital design and eradicate the steep learning curve, Perkins found ways to introduce easy-to-customize “drag and drop” components with her two other co-founders Cliff Obrecht and Cameron Adams.
To ensure you and your students can navigate Canva easily, there is also a 23-second opening tutorial which many have found helpful!
You may want to make sure students are familiar with saving their content and learning how “layouts” and “designs” differ so they don’t lose their masterpieces.
5. Promotes Creativity
In a time where some may argue that “schools kill creativity”, it’s important to begin incorporating modern technology in a way to harness our children’s creativity rather than stifle it.
We know that creativity can be learned and nurtured by exposing children to creative programs run by teachers who facilitate an enriched environment. This ultimately stimulates children to come up with their own unique ideas, in time!
By offering unique ways to present learned information, users in the academic setting can delve into Canva through exploratory, creative tasks such as learning optimal strategies for social media communication, creating infographics and personal brands, or designing websites.
Ways to Use Canva Templates for Students
Interactive presentations are key to keeping your class in focus!
Canva has around 2000 different presentation templates (1,900 with the 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio; 80 with the 4:3 standard aspect ratio) that your students can choose from to quickly start putting together a solo (or group) task.
Presentations can also include sharing recorded content with the assistance of tools like a timer or shushing and drumroll sounds.
2. Academic Posters
Using keywords such as “education”, “conference poster”, “academic poster”, “academic research”, or “poster”, your students will be able to choose from hundreds of fully customizable academic poster templates.
If your student has many charts or graphs to integrate, we recommend using a blank design! Then, start adding text and images by dragging them to their ideal location.
You should make sure to check the zoom at 100% (on the bottom-right corner) to check the poster at full size.
Once they’re satisfied, students can then save their poster as a PDF or PNG file to print, or share with the class!
3. Infographics and Charts
Canva shows up to 1,400 templates under the style “Infographic” and 3,572 templates using “chart infographic” as a search term.
Once you narrow down the specific thematic style you want to use (from “Modern”, to “Minimalist”, or “Playful”), you can quickly edit and go.
If you want to cater to your kids that learn easier visually and/or verbally, using Canva to create infographics can help.
They can display their ability to analyze data, and use them to present their knowledge on topics ranging from the adverse effects of social media or the life cycle of a frog!
4. Story Books
From 33 templates that are available, your student can choose a storybook template, rename it, and use resource pages to create their story – as well as add elements and animations for their book to come to life.
Here’s a handy YouTube video that demonstrates all of the above!
Perhaps you’re learning about social-emotional learning, or your students want to use Canva to write a story about their school year or how they made a new best friend.
Students can preview their stories before sharing or sending them directly to teachers!
5. Worksheets & Puzzles
Canva’s worksheet template section boasts almost 13,000 unique designs.
From goal worksheets, handwriting practice, calming coloring-in pages, emotion awareness sheets, and daily planners, you can sort out daily class activities and always keep lessons new and exciting.
You can also create a wide variety of puzzles using Canva, giving teachers extra tools to promote learning while still encouraging creativity.
6. Classroom Decoration Kits
If you’re looking for classroom decoration templates, there is a whole heap available to play with!
These include catchy posters on classroom rules, teacher and student “about me” introductions, daily agendas, Zoom backgrounds, or even labels for topic books or designated lockers.
7. Flashcards and Study Aids
Flashcards aid active recall and are a beneficial learning tool, especially for students with specific learning disorders (SLD) who find visual information presentation particularly helpful.
Even at a younger K12 level, school children are required to learn ‘dry’ or ‘boring’ foundation facts from time to time.
Canva can be used to design flashcards to renew the interest in memorization, especially when there can be a sense of pride and accomplishment from creating them by themselves.
To promote memory retention, the best tip to create flashcards on Canva is to integrate clear and concise text with relevant images.
Personalization will allow the creative fun side to emerge, making learning and using the flashcards enjoyable!
Finally, for study aids, students should follow the same principle and combine written and visual content.
With an ever-expanding market of digital tools to enhance multimodal learning, Canva definitely seems to hit the mark on accessibility, usability, and abundance for creating unique designs for various projects.
We know that creative activities contribute to neuroplasticity — the ability of the brain to grow and adapt — specifically, increased connectivity between certain brain regions.
We also know that there is a significant time of neuroplasticity, between ages 12 and 25.
It’s only a matter of time before we continue growing children’s creative expression in the classroom instead of dampening it down after the younger academic years!
Canva is a great solution, providing a high-quality, free resource to help integrate technology with modern classroom teaching styles.
The only downside? No more “the dog ate my homework” excuses for not handing-in assignments!
With Canva’s simple and easy-to-use user interface – we’d be surprised to hear any excuses, quite frankly!