One of the things that I think teachers need to know about the creative minds behind most of the Web 2.0 tools that we are currently using with kids is that they are almost ALWAYS committed to developing quality products that we can use seamlessly and efficiently with students and they are almost ALWAYS excited to talk to practitioners about ways to improve their products.

That’s a lesson that I learned yet again yesterday after spending an hour in a Google Hangout with Cliff Obrecht and Zach Kitschke of Canva — an AMAZING new tool committed to making graphic design easier for regular folks like you and I.  Cliff and Zach reached out after reading my recent review of Canva, hoping to learn more about the kinds of features that educators care the most about in the Web 2.0 tools that they embrace.

What blew me away during the course of our conversation was Canva’s genuine commitment to supporting our efforts to teach students about messaging in a world where engaging images matter.  Not only are they working to create a tool that is easy to use and as close to free for educators as humanly possible, they are also working to develop a series of instructional support materials that can be used to teach the basics of quality visual design.

But Cliff and Zach need OUR help:  They are looking for feedback from educators to guide their continued development of Canva for schools.  

I offered to post a few questions for them here on the Radical and I hope you’ll take a minute or two to share your thoughts in the Google Form linked here.  I also hope you’ll share the form widely in your PLNs.  Think of yourself as a focus group helping a company that cares about educators to develop a killer product that you’ll be excited about using with the kids in your class.

Here’s what they are wondering:

What is your favourite educational or classroom tool? Why do you love it?  What are the features or functionalities of that particular tool that make it so useful to you?  What are the features or functionalities that make it useful to your students?

When assessing a tool, what are the most important things for you? Is privacy most important for a tool used in schools?  Price?  Does cross-browser compatibility matter?  What about the the ability to use a tool on mobile devices like phones or tablets?  Are there any features and/or functionalities that are simply non-negotiables — that a service must have before you’ll even consider using it?

Canva is a small team with a big vision. How do we reach you as a classroom teacher?  How are classroom teachers learning about the new tools and services that they are integrating into their instruction?  If you were to recommend one step we should take to get our tool in front of teachers, what would it be?

How do you think you could include a visual design tool into your core classes?  Would you use it to complement the teaching of other subjects or teach visual design as part of a computer course or other tech related subject?  Would a visual design tool like Canva play a role in the work that teachers are doing beyond computer, technology, or graphic design classes?  Are there objectives around visual design/influence in your curricula?

Canva has tons of free design elements — templates, icons, images etc.  There are also, however, high-quality stock photos that users pay $1 when they are added to a final product.  Would you prefer to only see the free elements when working with Canva, or would you prefer to have access to all 1 million+ elements knowing that final products with premium images would need to be purchased or would be published with watermarks.

If you are willing to help Cliff and Zach out — and I REALLY hope you are considering how cool it is to have a voice in the development of a tool with a TON of classroom potential — grab a question or two from the list above and wrestle with it in this Google Form: 

I’ll share a summary of the responses that I receive at some point before the end of November.  It should make for an interesting look into the kinds of #edtech features that matter to classroom teachers.



Related Radical Reads:

Tool Review: Using Canva to Teach Visual Influence

Resources for Teaching Kids about Visual Influence

Creative Commons Resources for Classroom Teachers

Five Tips for Creating PowerPoint Slides that WON’T Bore Your Audience

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