Thursday, February 26, 2015

HippoBytes HB242: Digital Canvas

A poster created with Canva, which includes
many built-in elements like the red bars and
purple circle frame.
Writing is a critical skills for success. It's also important, though, to give students the opportunity to access content and show their understanding in a variety of ways, whether to keep weak writers engaged or to work on new skills such as visual literacy. The classic poster is an assignment that can be easily updated and extended to work with digital tools.

In this session, we went through three components of creating visualizations of knowledge (my fancy word for "posters"): finding Creative Commons-licensed images, learning and applying basic graphic design principles, and using a tool appropriate to the task.

Finding Creative Commons-Licensed Images

First, consider copyright. While Google Images ( is a great place to find images, you may not have permission to use them. Then, consider what type of image you want. Do you want a photograph, or clip-art like graphics, or something else?

Creative Commons-licensed clipart:

CC-licensed photos:
  • CompFight (, be sure to select “Creative Commons Only” after searching
  • Google Images (, choose Search Tools > Usage Rights > Labeled for non-commercial reuse with modification

Other CC-licensed media:

Useful Graphic Design Principles

We looked at two resources to help you learn what "good" design is:

Tools to Use

Canva's interface
Canva is a great, simple poster design tool. You can choose for a wide variety of free elements like icons, objects, formatted text, and backgrounds. You can also upload your own images if the built-in ones don't have what you want. It is simple enough that elementary students can use it; be careful of the layouts and elements that are NOT free (this is how Canva makes money). Keep in mind that you need to register a free account to use this tool.

LucidPress Layout is a Chrome web app that is like Microsoft Publisher or Adobe InDesign. It's is more powerful and complex than Canva and is appropriate for grades 6+.

Google Slides is a good option if you're at a Google Apps school, as you can design your poster on one slide and then download it as a .jpg or .pdf.

Pixlr Editor was covered in HB241 Intro to Image Editing and can also be used to create posters by adding your elements on separate layers, then arranging them. Appropriate for grades 6+.

Useful Links

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