As regular Radical readers already know (see here, here and here), I’ve been a big fan of Canva — an online tool designed to make it easy for anyone to create stunning visual content — for a long while. Understanding the role that visual content can play in communicating messages and persuading audiences is an essential skill in a world where pictures and infographics and videos are everywhere. Canva facilitates that work, plain and simple.
What I love the best about Canva, though, is their organizational commitment to supporting educators. In the past year alone, I’ve had tons of conversations with Cliff Obrecht — Canva’s Founder — about just what classroom teachers need in order to better integrate graphic design into their lesson plans. And in that time, I’ve watched Canva create REALLY useful content that teachers and students can use immediately.
Then check out Canva’s Design School Tutorials, where you can work through a series of lessons on topics ranging from pairing fonts together in a design to using whitespace to enhance a final product. Every time that I poke around in the Design School Tutorials, I learn something new. More importantly, every time that I poke around in the Design School Tutorials, I learn something that I can share with my students as I help them to master the art of creating influential visuals.
Need MORE proof?
Then check out Canva’s Teaching Materials, where you can find a growing collection of classroom-ready lesson plans that are being created by remarkable practitioners. Learn how to use Canva as a part of a lesson on visual poetry from John Spencer; how to use Canva for mathematical modeling from Steven Anderson; or how to use Canva to create “fan pages” for historical figures from Vicki Davis. There are also lessons from Monica Burns, Paul Hamilton, Terri Eicholtz, and some guy named Bill Ferriter. It’s honestly a remarkable collection covering all subjects and grade levels.
Or just stop by Canva’s new Education landing page — launched at this year’s SXSW conference:
Long story short: I’m a BIG believer that teaching kids to create influential visual content matters — even if creating influential visual content isn’t a skill that appears regularly in our required curricula. To turn kids loose into a visual world without preparing them to communicate messages visually would be akin to turning kids loose in a text-based world without teaching them how to read and write.
And I’m a BIG believer in Canva. They are a company with a great tool. But more importantly, they are a company committed to doing everything that they can to make graphic design more approachable for teachers and for students.
(Blogger’s Note: In the interest of full disclosure, you should know that I’ve got a great relationship with Cliff Obrecht, Canva’s founder. While we’ve never met in person, Cliff reached out early in Canva’s attempts to get into the education space. I’ve been giving him advice ever since.
I continue to fill that role for Cliff as an official “Education Adviser.” That doesn’t come with any official salary — but Cliff does throw me gift cards that I can share with readers every now and then! I don’t help him for free gift cards, though. I help him because I believe in him. He really does want to give back to practitoners — and that’s just plain cool.)