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Growing design literacy in the classroom

Educators can build design literacy into their classrooms to set students up for success in the future, while boosting student engagement and classroom excitement along the way. Here’s how.


In today's visually driven landscape, the ability to understand, create, and convey messages through visuals is now a necessity for students at every stage of their educational journey. This shift isn't only about nurturing creativity and self-expression but also equipping students with essential skills for the workforce of tomorrow.

Our 2023 Visual Economy Report(opens in a new tab or window) revealed that about two-thirds of global business leaders expect workers in non-design roles to have “extensive design knowledge,” including the ability to create new graphics and presentations from scratch. Educators worldwide are embracing visual communication tools like Canva to engage students in exciting ways – all while preparing them for the evolving demands of the job market.

Here are some of the ways educators can build design literacy into their classrooms to set students up with the skills they’ll need for success in the future while boosting student engagement and classroom excitement along the way.

Creating visual and collaborative brainstorms

Brainstorming is an essential part of learning that starts in school and extends into the world of work. Whether it's students collaborating on a group project or individuals generating ideas independently, the art of brainstorming plays a pivotal role in nurturing creativity and growing innovative thinking.

Canva Whiteboards(opens in a new tab or window) gives you infinite space to collaborate – from brainstorms and project planning to storyboard mapping and mood board development. With features like customisable templates and real-time collaboration, they’re also an effective way for students to visually unleash their creativity while developing critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

Building presentation skills and confidence

In every organisation, the power of a visually captivating presentation goes a long way in expressing ideas and keeping listeners engaged. Growing and refining this skill in school is essential in building students’ communication abilities.

Canva Presentations(opens in a new tab or window) provides a simple, user-friendly interface for students to create impactful presentations that allow them to express themselves and engage other learners. From choosing visually appealing layouts to incorporating multimedia elements, students can develop their design and communication skills and confidence in presenting ideas effectively – and get a head start on projects with thousands of ready-made templates.

Developing video creation abilities

Mastering video production is an incredibly valuable skill in modern communication – from tackling shorter attention spans to adapting to how people digest information through social media. Teaching students the art of producing and editing videos enhances their technical design literacy and enables them to convey complex concepts in dynamic and engaging ways.

Whether it's a book report, a research project, or a class presentation, students can use Canva Video(opens in a new tab or window) to create compelling content that effectively communicates their content. Incorporating multimedia into projects can boost creativity and innovation, allowing students to express themselves in unique ways.

With a range of video tutorials available within Canva(opens in a new tab or window), students can easily kickstart their journey into video creation.

Learning simple website creation

Whether it's presenting a class project, building a portfolio, or launching a student-run initiative, having the ability to create a website provides students with a powerful tool for communication and self-expression.

Canva Websites(opens in a new tab or window) simplifies the website creation process, making it accessible to students without any coding knowledge. Its intuitive drag-and-drop interface and customisable templates allow students to design professional-looking websites with ease.

This skill becomes increasingly valuable as students transition to college or the workplace, where a well-designed website serves as a digital portfolio for showcasing achievements and advancing career opportunities.

Adding the magic touch with AI

Last year, we launched a range of AI tools for the classroom(opens in a new tab or window), which made Canva for Education one of the world’s first learning platforms to introduce AI for students. As part of our mission to equip every classroom with the best technology to unlock creativity, we’re providing each school district with the option of choosing if or when to enable these products for their students.

AI is becoming a widely used tool across every profession(opens in a new tab or window), with the technology no longer reserved for traditionally ‘creative’ roles. Introducing students to AI in Canva encourages them to safely experiment with these tools in a creative way. Here are some of the tools students can use to add some magic to their creations:

  • Magic Animate(opens in a new tab or window) creates eye-catching transitions in an instant. Students can create their own animations to transform their assignments into engaging classroom presentations.
  • Magic Write(opens in a new tab or window) can give students a head-start on writing tasks, expand on ideas, rewrite content to suit different formats, and develop their comprehension skills through intentionally crafted prompts.
  • Magic Media(opens in a new tab or window) generates unique images or videos with a simple prompt. Students can simply explain what they’d like to see and transform an idea into a visual reality.

We include multiple layers of safety and security across all of our AI tools to ensure we’re making the latest technology and classroom innovation available while keeping our community safe. Learn more about how we’re introducing this technology to the classroom safely(opens in a new tab or window).

Building the digital skills essential for success

By incorporating digital literacy as a fundamental aspect of student learning and development, educators can ensure their students not only excel in visual communication but also thrive in a future where these skills are indispensable. We're thrilled to support our global education community with these tools as we all navigate the ever-evolving journey of education together.

Canva for Education is 100% free for all K-12 teachers, students, schools, districts, campuses, ministries and school systems. Get started today(opens in a new tab or window)!


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