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Using Canva to help students recreate themselves and not the wheel.

canvaI’ve mentioned before that I’m always on the lookout for web-based tools that I can bring to the classroom. But, they have to provide some meaningful use, so with the vast array of shiny new tools out there, we teachers have to be a bit picky.

This weekend while I was out scouring the net and catching up on my interesting articles, I found a piece from Geekflare.com that recommended several online visual resume builders. Both of the courses I teach incorporate some form of job search writing, so I find these kinds of articles always interesting and sometimes helpful. Lately I’ve been looking for tools to help my students recreate themselves in visual form, though, so in this case, the article unearthed a tool I’ll definitely be using with my students.

Canva.com is an online, web-based visual document builder that uses drag and drop features to create everything from resumes to email headers to presentations. This multi-use tool is user friendly and provides a lot of bang for the buck—especially when that  buck is free. Yeah, it’s worth looking at.

Here are the pluses of Canva.com…

  1. It really can be used for free.

Most of us are familiar with “free” tools that either require a credit card to use or charge for every feature. Not the case here. Canva offers a robust selection of templates, images, fonts, shapes, and more without any strings attached. They don’t even feature a watermark when downloaded.

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  1. It keeps it simple.

As a techie at heart, I don’t mind a little tinkering to get what I want, but with Canva, I really don’t have to. The tool uses drag and drop to easily add images or elements to your design. You can also upload images from your desktop or computer through this method or by browsing. They keep color choices simple (but allow you to enter Hex codes if you want), and the work space is wonderfully clean.

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  1. It’s built to educate, too.

Yes, it’s fun to use and easy to navigate, but it also has a feature unlike many others. Canva offers an area on its site for educators. With pre-built lectures, tutorials and challenges, you can easily incorporate Canva into your curriculum without having to start from scratch and creating your own materials. This would be a great tool for students at any age or level.

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  1. It lets students focus on the visual.

This is why I’m most excited to work with Canva in the classroom. While Photoshop, Illustrator, and all those design tools are great, unless I’m specifically teaching a design course, the learning curve is so steep, we spend more time on learning the tool than integrating the ideas. With Canva, my students can start playing with creating their visual selves from first log in. It’s so intuitive that I turned my text-based resume into visual version in 20 minutes. I can easily see this taking a class period and giving us plenty of time to work with the tool and come out with a great draft.

  1. It gives you options to save.

The last huge plus that I’m going to highlight is that Canva gives you choices for saving and downloading. I’m able to save and download files as a pdf, png, or jpeg. And, I can share the link via email, or via Facebook or Twitter. These are absolutes if I want my students to put their information out there in the job search realm.

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So, honestly, Canva may be my new favorite tool next to Pikochart (I’ll be writing up on this tool soon!) to integrate into visual assignments. It’s easy to use and completely functional at the free level. Not only that, my students can focus on recreating themselves visually rather than recreating the visual design wheel.

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