There’s plenty of compelling evidence supporting the notion that visual-based learning is tied to better retention and recollection of new information as well as measurable success for students in the classroom. A study by 3M Corporation yielded astounding results indicating that 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual, and visuals are processed 60,000 times faster in the brain than text.
Visual and project-oriented teaching strategies are becoming the norm and it’s through these methodologies that a more holistic learning environment has been created and widely embraced.
The rapid growth of edtech has resulted in a slew of amazing apps, but one that has taken hold for educators everywhere is Canva. This Web-based graphic design platform has found its way into classrooms as a result of its intuitive and uncomplicated UI, making it the ideal tool for educators to introduce and explore visual literacy in their classrooms.
7 Canva Student Design Project Ideas
The possible applications for Canva are endless. Below are a few ways in which students can take advantage of a tool that inspires their imaginations.
1. At the start of the year, have students design a graphic profile of themselves.
For younger students, this can serve as a fun ice breaker and can help foster positive relationships between classmates as they share their profiles and get to learn about each other. In addition to basic information like their name, where they’re from or places they’ve lived, they can talk about their favourite hobbies, books, music, or sports teams.
Have them create their designs using the Photo Collage Canva template, which includes some great layout templates serving as useful guides as they pick photos from the image library or upload their own.
2. Choose a meaningful environmental effort with the class and have them create a social media campaign around that initiative.
Students should spend time researching the environmental issue (perhaps it’s learning about deforestation of the rainforest or the increasing threat to marine dolphins) and apply their understanding of the issue towards creating a meaningful social action campaign. The class can build public presence and awareness through platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, all of which have design templates in Canva.
3. Following a school field trip, have students create a final presentation summarizing what they learned on the trip.
Maybe the field trip was to the local museum of natural history where they visited an exhibit about the Ice Age or the history of significant natural disasters. Have them take notes throughout the trip and structure a presentation which could suffice as a tour of the exhibit for someone who wasn’t able to see it firsthand.
Make sure they structure their presentation so that it’s cohesive and accessible for someone who may know nothing about the subject matter.
4. Create a blog for the entire class which documents an ongoing science project.
Perhaps it’s a blog that documents the change in air quality over the course of the school year and tracks the correlation between air quality and things like temperature, humidity, wind speed, and rainfall. The blog can feature images in every post, utilizing photographic images and student-designed graphics, all designed using the Canva blog graphic template.
5. Create a Kindle book cover for a fictional biography of a featured character in a book.
For example, if students have studied To Kill a Mockingbird (Harper Lee), they could create a Kindle cover for the biography of Atticus Finch. They should be able to demonstrate a thorough understanding of the novel and be able to create elements like a title, subtitle, author, and summary of the book which are relevant to the selected character.
6. For a music class, have students research a famous musician or composer and create an album cover for that individual.
Students should choose a famous musician and spend time researching this individual. After their research is complete, they can create an album cover which includes a few major components including a title, the musician’s name, track listings, and a few testimonials from music reviewers. The content should tie back to what the student has learned about the individual—whether it be their family life, musical upbringing, or details related to the course of their career.
7. Have students study a major social action movement and design a series of posters which communicate the movement’s primary agenda.
Perhaps the topic of study is the Civil Rights Movement in America during the 1950s and 1960s. Students could produce posters which feature some of the most active and influential figures, like Martin Luther King Jr. or Rosa Parks. Their posters should include quotes or statements which reflect the sentiment of the time and reinforce the message that these figures attempted to communicate to the rest of the world.
Conclusion: Why Visual Design Projects?
Unlocking and stimulating eager young minds is not something that happens naturally in a classroom environment. The shift towards Edtech development in conjunction with project-based learning, however, has cultivated a learning ecosystem that is disrupting traditional teaching techniques. By integrating visual design projects into daily lesson plans, students have the opportunity to demonstrate their newly acquired knowledge.
With Canva, its ease of use means kids spend more time on the creative process and less time on learning a tool. Consider the projects above and brainstorm the other countless applications of Canva in your classroom. Let’s face it: we’re humans equipped with mystifyingly powerful, sensory-driven brains. Why not inspire your class to explore how boundless its capacity to create really is?
This article and accompanying graphics were created by Hannah Field, Head of Education Partnerships for Canva.