Click, click Canva

Students at East Elementary School show off their Canva presentations as part of a recent design and presentation project. (Cullman City Schools)

Students learn digital presentation skills at Cullman City Schools

CULLMAN, Ala. – Students at East Elementary School had an opportunity to learn about new presentation and design software as part of a recent media project in Cullman City Schools.

Students across fourth, fifth and sixth grades were tasked with using the web-based application Canva to design presentations on a variety of topics ranging from an “All About Me” biography, to unusual animals and objects. Students were able to design either an infographic, poster, slideshow or document. Students are already learning how to use Google Slides to create presentations, and Canva takes that skill set to a deeper level.

“In a high tech world, where everything is virtually done on the computer, students are better prepared if they have been exposed to or comfortable with using programs such as Canva,” East Elementary School Library Specialist Savannah Wood said. “Even if it doesn’t continue to be something they refer to in the future, exposing them broadens their thinking and creates a more open-minded student when pulling from their own resources. We as ‘media specialists’ place resources in the hands of our students. We want them to have a variety. This is just one more resource they can pull from when researching, creating and/or presenting on topics.”

Wood noted many students took the idea and ran with it, going above and beyond in creating their projects and researching information to present to their peers.

“They blew me away with the graphics they used and the way they were able to lay their projects out to be eye-catching and interesting,” Wood said. “They went from using regular clipart to using animation in their projects. Their dedication and cleverness confirmed that I had chosen the right resource to integrate with my students.”

In addition to learning and refining a new skill set, Wood added, students also seemed to have a great time learning how to use a new design and presentation app.

“You definitely have your skeptics, but overall the students enjoyed this very much. They have even come back and told me they asked their science teacher if they could do an upcoming space project in Canva,” she said. “Some students may never choose to use it again and some will refer back to it multiple times in the future. Not all students enjoy the same things. As an educator, either way, I know that I have sparked interest and have given them yet another avenue to create authentic products to share their learning.”