How I Use It
This is a free site to use, and I notice that at the time of writing (July 2016) they have just released an iPhone app as well. It operates with a Google Account single sign-on, so students can easily work from any device and pull up their projects with ease. I was working with students to create a 'how-to' video project, and wanted a way of creating graphics they could insert to the film that would look engaging and professional. This site enabled them to do this pretty easily, although sometimes the text editor would not always work, freezing on-screen. This could indeed be more the fault of our browsers on the school network, rather than a problem with Canva, however!
There is a useful bank of template sizes the user can choose from, including posters, presentations and infographics. It is a pretty intuitive interface - however deleting an item may prove tricky when you realise you have to select what you want to remove, then click the bin icon that appears - keyboard presses don't work! Anyway don't let that put you off - this is a very useful tool and one that should be in every teacher's arsenal.
Canva enables students to create professional-looking graphics. That's the bottom line. But with any tool it is how it is used of course. Often less is more and sometimes students can get carried away with a million different fonts and colours, but at least there are a range of templates that sometimes only need the minimum of modification for great effect. It can be frustrating for students to choose a background or element that is not free (presuming you're on the non-premium version!) and end up with a 'Canva' watermark on their graphics. So definitely make them aware to choose only free elements! Downloading is a breeze but of course you can always screenshot the relevant graphic if you are so inclined to do so. After a while students will be pleased to have Canva in their repertoire - as a teacher you'll probably find it useful too!