Exploring a ‘New’ Social Media Tool
A Little Taste of Honesty
Okay, I was five seconds away from giving into signing up for an account that just weeks ago I was adamant about not embarking on. Yes… when given this blog prompt the only thing I could think of was one of two things that I couldn’t imagine ever doing. What is it you might ask? Signing up for TikTok. I even thought about using a friend’s account to explore it for the purpose of this assignment and then vowing to never admit it or for certain at least never talking about it ever again in my lifetime. Quick update though, I see that Leigh has given in to signing up for TikTok, and now I’m wondering if I’m making a mistake. But after coming across A Taste of Honesty and nearly peeing my pants from laughter (probably a combination of TMI and definitely being way overtired right now) I realized that I’m not ready for it quite yet. I mean, it’s probably an amazing tool for learning about all of the things or filling an incredible amount of time that I clearly don’t have but it’s something that I am still going to hold off on for now. However, if you really want full disclosure, I will probably use it for my learning project without signing up for it, and then still continue to be in full denial about it. Anyways, I should probably refocus my energy back to where I was intending to go with this post.
The Ace Up My Sleeve
Before I really get into the section of my post, I often get idiom wording a bit confused and almost titled this completely differently. Gosh, am I ever thankful that I looked up this idiom before writing what I thought the phrase was. Thank goodness, because that could have been really bad. Anyways, the social media tool that I want to explore more is Canva. But let’s preface this a little bit here. Is it a super new tool to me? No. But let me justify my choice for a hot minute. Although I signed up for the account in January, and then realized I had already had an account from many moons ago, I really have only used it a handful of times but know that it has some amazing potential for social media as well as my digital learning project. And the real ace here is that Canva has an account just for educators that is completely free. Check it out here.
I know many people probably already know about Canva, and some of my peers like Colton for example have already discussed how he’ll use it for his digital learning project. So, check it out, I know many of you will probably wonder how you did without it. Also, if you are thinking that you have completely missed the ball on Canva, and have no idea what I am talking about, I recommend you read: What is Canva and How Does It Work for Education? or Canva for Education. And if I am going to continue the trend of being honest here, I wasn’t sure that Canva was originally going to fit this blog prompt, but this article about social media tools from 2019, had me convinced that I was on the right path!
Learning & Experimenting
Prior to writing this post, I have really only used Canva about 5 times, and two of those times were to make PowerPoint-style presentations for my university classes, and the other couple of times I made two giveaway graphics for my mom to use for her floral business. So, if you’re getting married, doing a photoshoot, wanting an outdoor holiday or themed planters, etc. she does it all. Give her a follow @classicdesignsbysherry on Instagram (yup, she made those arrangements in that picture by White Lotus). She is honesty crazy talented and blows me out of the water with her creativity. Seriously. Anyways, the moral of the story here is that I know it has great potential, but I haven’t spent enough time getting acquainted with it and really getting my hands dirty. So, I think this is a great opportunity to get to know the tool so that I can use it more efficiently and effectively in my teaching, learning, and helping my mother out.
I haven’t heard a lot of negative things about the tool, in fact, everyone I know that uses it loves it and recommends it. There are so many amazing options, features, templates, and more and it is the easiest thing to use (after some practice and a good base understanding of PowerPoint-type presentation tools). For those of you that don’t know, it’s pretty much PowerPoint on speed, with all the bells and whistles. It’s current, user-friendly, and very versatile.
Let’s Talk Details
Okay Y’all, I am a little bit in love with this tool… okay, a lot. I love how there are so many options for premade templates, or space to create your own, as well as elements such as pictures, shapes, accents, and more! I also appreciate that there are a variety of texts and premade options of perfectly matched fonts, which if you were in my EC&I 834 class, you’ll know that fonts are super important to me. Anyways, there are a lot of other features such as creating different types of materials such as posters, presentations, brochures, etc. and I love how you can either share the link or share the template. This is amazing if you want your kiddos to make a presentation based on a guideline you have created.
In terms of kiddos, I think that if they do not have a good understanding of presentation tools such as PowerPoint, getting acquainted with Canva may be tricky at first. However, I do think that it is quite a user friendly and there are a ton of resources to help users learn more about Canva. If you’re interested in learning more about marketing, design, non-profit, branding, teachers or students, etc. check this awesome resource out here! There are so many learning opportunities available to Canva users.
I know that many teachers also use Pear Deck for Google Slides, to transform their presentations into interactive presentations with custom formative assessments, or questions, as well as adding audio and sharing between colleagues, etc. So, when I came across this article about Pear Deck and Canva joining forces, I was excited to learn more and try it out. This article was amazingly helpful, in the fact that it walks you through how to use the integrated technology step-by-step, which is key for busy teachers. And for those classmates of mine that are Microsoft users, hold the phone! Because Canva can be used with Microsoft Office! Yup! It’s true, and if you want to know more then get reading: Create and Collaborate with Canva for Education and Microsoft EDU.
And if you weren’t quite sure of all the ways you can use Canva with your social media, then you definitely need to check this quick read out! From Facebook cover photos, Pinterest graphics, all the way to Instagram stories, Canva can not only help you get started but also help you make professional-looking designs at your fingertips!
Let’s Have a Quick but Serious Talk Here…
So, although I think Canva is pretty much the bee’s knees, there are a few things that need to be addressed in terms of security. Is it relatively safe in comparison to social media platforms and tools where taking personal pictures and posting personal information is key? Yes. However, there are some safety concerns to be aware of. Users can interact with both known and unknown users. Also, some personal information that you share in your profile is shared information, such as geolocations, and other non-personally identifiable information. If you want to read the full list, check out this article from Common Sense. Before using this product, I would definitely check more into the user and security information that is outlined in the article above. If you want to see other reviews from Canva users, check it out here. I always suggest making sure you read the terms of service, reviews from users as well as doing your own research before diving deep into the thick of a new social media platform or tool.
Also, for those of you that are interested in some of the legal dos and don’ts, I would recommend checking out Creative Genius Law’s article. They do a good job of breaking down licenses, reproducibles and more, and rather than writing all about it, it’s probably best to get firsthand information through them.
Does This Have Educational Opportunities?
So, it comes down to the million-dollar question: does Canva as a social media tool has educational opportunities? Of course, it does. Students can use the tool to collaborate, share resources, make presentations, etc. as well as use the features that it already has in place like the fonts, templates, shapes, etc. to enhance their learning and understanding as well as when they are showcasing that learning. I think that when teachers are introducing this tool to their kiddos, they need to spend quality time walking students through how to use it. Think back to the days of learning about PowerPoint, it took time, guidance, and a whole lot of practice. This tool is relatively safe in the eyes of social media and all of the scary things that can sometimes surround social media tools and platforms, although this one I would say does a good job of enhancing learning.
Feedback is Key to Reflecting, Learning & Understanding
Thanks for popping by to read my blog post. Although they can be lengthy at times, I find it liberating to voice my learning through writing, in a non-traditional and very informal way. However, in order to learn more and to broaden my horizons, I love to hear from the people who are reading my posts (and yes, I clearly understand that many of you are here because you have to be, but I see you, I hear you, and I most definitely appreciate you). So, with that being said, feel free to leave a general comment, questions, answer one of my questions, or all of them, whatever you see fit is perfectly fine with me. I look forward to engaging with you, and hearing what you have to say.
- Have you used Canva before? How have you used it, and what are your overall thoughts?
- What are some ways you can see yourself using Canva in your own learning, teaching and/or with your students?
- If you have used it before, what would you say are the key features and functions? OR, what shortfalls do you think exist?
- Do you think Canva has the potential to enhance student learning and understanding?
- What other social media tools do you suggest using? Any specific to my digital learning project?
- Do aesthetically appealing documents, presentations, tools, etc. matter to you? Or do you find it to be a waste of time?