Guest post – DigiLearn: Fed up of PowerPoint and Prezi? A new presentation tool; Canva

Published by Caroline Carlin on

Author: Hannah Tizard – Lecturer in Midwifery

As educators we are, more often than not, looking for new ways to engage and inspire the students we are teaching, and Canva is one of the best new spaces to do so!

Canva is an amazing, powerful design tool made for non-designers. Canva can be used to create stunning presentations for the classroom and for digital spaces, without having to learn a new complicated suite of software to do it. Canva is cloud based, so you can access your account anywhere, use it on your phone or tablet and if you’re using it on your laptop, you don’t need to download yet another app! It’s really easy to use and it’s free.

Once you’ve signed up to Canva you can choose from a wide selection of pre-designed templates for your chosen design, whether this is a social media post, a website landing page or a presentation. You can also start from a blank canvas and design your own from scratch, even that’s fairly straightforward for people who only have a basic understanding of the software.

Once you’ve chosen a design template, there are a huge range of royalty-free photos which you can use to add to a design. Or alternatively, you can upload your own images. You also have the ability to add various elements like image grids, charts, frames, shapes, gradients, lines, illustrations, icons, social media logos and much more. For those who use video regularly, it’s easy to add video files as uploads, or add URLs directly from your browser by adding the appropriate code. Canva also now has a range of royalty-free music, which can be added into slides for a more immersive experience.

In terms of usability, you can change slide backgrounds with just a single click and use either a solid colour or an image. When adding text there are hundreds of free fonts, with additional font/heading layouts that can be added directly onto the slides.

Once you’ve finished designing your presentation, you can then download your slides in PowerPoint format. This is a really useful tool, as sometimes it’s not convenient to present online – perhaps in areas where WiFi connection is poor, or you just don’t want to risk connectivity issues. If you do choose to present online, Canva has a nice range of slide transitions and aminations that standout compared to PowerPoint.

One of the best things about Canva, is being able to re-size any of your designs into other dimensions. So, for example, you can turn a PowerPoint presentation into a series of memes for any social media platform, or even turn your slides into a professionally designed PDF at the push of a button.

For those doing advanced postgraduate programmes or creating abstracts for conference poster presentations, Canva is the place to go. I recently designed a series of six slides calling for participants to join a survey to illicit responses for international research to improve the care of mothers and babies during childbirth. Once my slides were designed, I added the slide transitions and some music and then downloaded this as an MP4 video to share on social media.

There’s obviously much more functionality to Canva than I’ve just described, far too much to write in a short blog. I really would recommend that you take a look.


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