Sunday, May 5, 2013

EdCanvas....A Different Type Of Canvas To Support Learning, Creativity and Education

A few weeks my friend Eric Trudo tweeted me and asked about online resources to create student portfolios.  I teach with Eric at Van Meter.  He is the business teacher and wanted to use a digital portfolio creator with his Advanced Computers class.
I sent out a few tweets and received several responses back.  One of the best suggestions was a tweet that mentioned Edcanvas. I had seen others talk about Edcanvas before but this was the first time I went to the site and really checked it out.

Edcanvas is definitely one of the best ways to teach with digital content. Search for internet resources, curate, organize, share and teach all in one place with a super easy drag-and-drop interface. Teachers and students all across the world are using Edcanvas to flip their classroom, project-based learning, differentiate their lessons and student portfolios. And I can see why...What an awesome website.  
I LOVED it....I was so impressed and inspired by all of the possibilities for Edcanvas.  It is easy to use, so nicely organized and visually amazing.  My students and teachers will LOVE it too.  I couldn't wait to tell Eric all about it and to teach his students about it too.
After I told Eric about wanting to try Edcanvas with his class, I reached out to Amy Lin from Edcanvas on Twitter to see if she would Skype in with our young people at Van Meter to teach them how to use it.  She was excited to do this and we set it up right away.
We Skyped with Amy from the classroom at Van Meter where she met Eric and the students.  Amy taught all of us how to sign up for Edcanvas and how to manage classrooms and students from a teacher account.
It was so simple...Watch this short video to see how to use Edcanvas too.

Eric and I looked at each other several times during the Skype saying how perfect Edcanvas would be to use within our 1:1 laptop initiative and standards based grading platform at Van Meter.  We can't wait to see what our students will create and how they will use Edcanvas for their own needs.
After Amy Skyped with us I created a few canvases myself.  One of them is for the reading programming within our library.

I am working on our Summer Reading Program and Edcanvas is a perfect way to pull all of these resources together in one place.  I really love how the websites and resources show up so well in the big boxes on the page.  One can change the color and layout....and don't forget, embed all kinds of information and resources.
After Skyping with Amy and spending time on the Edcanvas site I wondered how this even started.  I asked Amy when we Skyped and this is her response....

When Amy Lin, CEO and co-founder, was a computer science student at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, she led the largest engineering organization on campus and was one of the few girls in her classes. It became her personal mission to get more girls interested in science and math subjects by inspiring them through how Amy got interested in STEM... technology. 

She knew that she didn't want to use static textbooks and worksheets but rather leverage videos, websites and interactive games to get her girls excited. However, there was no central place to find great educational content on the web, organize them in a cohesive lesson and know whether her students even looked at the material. 

After spending a few years after college working at Microsoft building the next version of Excel, meeting her teammates in her work hallway and chatting with over 200 teachers on their challenges of teaching with digital content, Edcanvas was born. 

Technologists must partner with great educators to truly create a valuable classroom tool. Amy and her team are constantly speaking with and listening to teachers on how to improve their classroom experience. 

Amy said, "Our goal is to extend the reach and empower teachers, never to replace them with technology."

And this is the same as my goal.  To share, teach and support our school community in using new tools and resources.  We can't wait to see what our young people create using Edcanvas and how our teachers will use and enjoy it too.  

Here are a few more videos and resources to use with Edcanvas as well. 

30 seconds video on how to create a canvas

Read the Edcanvas blog for videos and announcements of new features


  1. Love this use of Edcanvas! I love the site as well and have been thinking about more uses for it. Currently, I have created one with book trailers of our state book award nominees so they are all in one place for students. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thank you so much. :) And I LOVE the way you are using Edcanvas too. Thank you for sharing your ideas with me.


  2. Thank you Shannon for this fabulous blog entry! Please do reach out at any time if there are any questions or if you need help... readers included. :)

    Amy Lin

  3. Thanks, Shannon! I love using Edcanvas to present to students, but I loved the backstory even more. Can't wait to tell my students Amy's story. I have a few boys and girls hoping to attend USC!