Teachers are wearers of many hats – this is nothing new. These days our hat racks are getting bigger and bigger, and in addition to teaching we may be asked to do things we never imagined before. For a lot of teachers this includes graphic design.
“Can you design a new header for our newsletter?”
“You’re into digital stuff, can you be in charge of the school instagram account?”
“You’d be perfect to post to our Facebook page!”
“Would you mind whipping up some flyers for next week’s big event?”
Umm… sure. AND… do you know how much you’re asking? People do these as full time jobs – they’re called Graphic Designers and Social Media Managers.
Still, we all want to help our schools, and most of us are prone to saying yes. Canva can help.
Canva is an online service and iPad app that helps you quickly create professional looking designs for whatever purpose you need them for. In the past I looked at PicMonkey, which is still good, but I sometimes feel a bit overwhelmed by their somewhat intrusive advertisements. For me, PicMonkey is good for editing, but I prefer to use Canva when I’m designing.
What Can I Design on Canva?
Pretty much anything. Here’s the list of templates they provide for:
- Facebook Covers
- Facebook Posts
- Instagram Posts
- Blog Graphics
- Documents (A4)
- Email Headers
- Twitter Posts
- Business Cards
- Album/Podcast Covers
- Twitter Headers
- Real Estate Flyers (great to adjust for hallway posters, etc)
- Google + Covers
- Kindle Covers
- Photo Collages
- Facebook Ads
- Facebook Apps
- Seasonal Choices
So basically no shortage of things to design for. Though most are social media related, you may find that the options can quickly be adaptable to your class/school needs.
Is it Easy?
To tell the truth, I’ve had my share of snafus with the platform when I used it on my computer, but when I tried the iPad version, I found myself impressed with the ease of use. The little issues that I had such as sizing of fonts etc seem to take care of themselves better on the iPad. For that reason, I want to look at the iPad version today, though you can still use the desktop version, of course.
Are you really using that for instagram, or was it just an example?
Check it out:
Please feel free to follow me while you’re at it!
Cool, You said that students can use it too?
A lot of teachers are moving toward accepting multi-media as tests or incorporating more design elements into their students’ work to help keep engagement levels higher. You can ask your students to create graphics through Canva as standalone projects or as support for bigger projects.
Can you give me some ideas on using it in class?
A few possible ways to use it might include:
- Design a new book cover as part of a book report
- Create an infographic on the topic you’re studying
- Create a presentation about your area of study (also see Haiku Deck)
- Make a Facebook cover photo for a character study on a reading.
- Create cards for special or seasonal events.
I don’t want to forget about this, but I get busy!
No problem – I’m still experimenting with one-sheet PDFs. Just follow or like me in the box below and you can download a handy reference sheet for free!
[sociallocker id=”1118″]Click to download
Thank you! Are there any downsides?
Yes. Like any business, Canva needs to make money. I certainly don’t fault them for that, and in fact as always I encourage you to pay for services that you use and find useful. Still, the way Canva makes money is by charging for additional graphic elements beyond their selection of freebies. At the time of publication, they’re $1 each, which may or may not be worth your while.
Canva has cleverly mixed these in, so when you search for some image, one or two good choices will show up for free, but the great pictures come at a price.
Of course, you can always upload your own photos for free, so if you have a better selection, you should definitely be using your own images.
It’s important to remember that we are still teachers – not graphic designers. I encourage you to have some fun with canvas, but if you look at the designs I made above, none of them are going to win any awards. They look pretty good, and that’s good enough for most of my purposes.
If you do want to get better at design, there is also a great collection of in-depth tutorials for you right on the Canva site!
Play with Canva, have fun, share it with your students, then get back to teaching!