About two years ago, I became a fangirl of the tool Canva. What is it? Well, Canva is essentially graphic design made easy, and it’s FREE (unless you want some loud bells and whistles, but you can do so much with just the free version).
Its applications benefit education, but it can help you if you are in retail, real estate, graduate school, volunteer work, or you’re just a parent trying to create a first birthday invitation. I made the view below as a little preview of Canva, and this post contains examples of images I used Canva to create as well as specific ways teachers can use Canva in school (not just the classroom)!
What kinds of designs does Canva allow you to create?
- Instagram (or other social media) posts
- Blog header
- Album cover
- Blog graphic
- ebook cover
- Business card
- Photo collage
- Custom dimensions
- And more!
Does Canva offer templates for each design?
Yes. Many of the templates are free, but there are some for which you can pay. Some of these templates just provide a structure for the places you can put different elements (kind of like when you use a template for picture collages in different photo apps on your phone). Other templates are “fancier” with backgrounds and fonts already chosen for you; all you have to do is delete their wording and insert yours. You can also add pictures to these templates and switch things up.
How free exactly is Canva?
For free: Canva allows you to share with others, create designs, download the graphics that you create, upload images to use in your graphics, use their free templates, provide custom dimensions, insert photos from their free library, seek design inspiration.
Paid: Some photos and templates cost money, team brand kits (not something really necessary for education), create customizable templates for your team (also not really necessary for educational purposes but would serve companies well), magically resize (ex: turn Facebook post into a poster), and organize photos into folders.
Honestly, if you’re using Canva educationally or intermittently, the free version should cover just about all of your needs. They do offer an education account. I haven’t found a noticeable difference between that one and the personal account.
How can teachers use Canva?
I’m glad you asked. First of all, I know that you see a lot of technologies that you could use in the classroom, but they take you forever to set up, or they take you forever to make something. Canva is user-friendly, really quick to set up, and pretty intuitive. If you have an idea of what you want to create, it really won’t take you much time at all to create something useful. Anyway, here are some ways I think you could use Canva if you’re a teacher:
- Vocabulary visuals
- Classroom posters (need a poster on a concept and there isn’t one that already exists? Use Canva to create one and then use your school’s poster making machine or go to blockposters.com–more on this site in a future post–to create a poster right from your printer)
- Newsletters to parents
- Back-to-School Night infographics or brochures (a new feature)
- Invitations (maybe to a character dinner, to a club meeting, or to a department party)
- Menus in foreign language class during a foods unit
- Character charts (especially for texts that have characters who are difficult to keep track of)
- Midterm review infographics
- Collages for art class (there are a lot of tutorials on different topics that might benefit an art class!)
- Timelines of important events (with pictures)
How can students use Canva?
- They can use it to create their resumes.
- Student projects
- They can share with each other.
- Create Facebook advertisements for some content they’ve learned
- An infographic on a character or book
- A book cover for a story they wrote
- A revision of a book cover for a book they’ve read in class
- Menu for a dinner party hosted by characters in a novel they’ve read
- Brochures on a time period they’re studying
- Business cards for an author or character or historical figure
- Album cover for a soundtrack that they create to complement a text or character
Can you show me some sample images created using Canva?
Questions or suggestions about other tools to use? Sound off in the comments or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. As always, I’d love to hear from you.