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How to Create Instructional Videos with Drawing Tablets and Canva for Education

Guest Author: Stacey Roshan’s a Director of Innovation and Educational Technology and author of Tech with Heart. You can find her on twitter @buddyxo(opens in a new tab or window) where she talks about all things edtech.

It’s hard to find tools that are both feature-rich while also being simple enough to roll out to a class full of students in a single period. Canva for Education, though, is one of those tools. Students around the world are using Canva to create, communicate and demonstrate their learning visually through presentations, posters, comic strips, infographics and more. Educators and school administrators are creating innovative, supportive and immersive learning environments by designing classroom posters, educational presentations, group projects, newsletters, student certificates, class schedules and other educational resources. Canva for Education packs in so many possibilities to inspire learning in the classroom

In this guest post, I focus on creating instructional content using Canva’s draw tool(opens in a new tab or window) and video recorder. As a strong advocate of the flipped classroom model(opens in a new tab or window), I am always looking for tools that can help teachers create resources to help students take ownership of their learning.

How to make Presentations Interactive while Teaching

One method to make presentations interactive while teaching is through an instructional-style video using Canva. As a math teacher, I rely heavily on handwriting to clearly communicate to my students. I believe that writing while talking (as opposed to voicing over static content) in my instructional videos is powerful, and year after year, my students have validated this point. My students have shared that it's helpful to see the writing in real-time to stay engaged and follow the solution process. That’s why I’m so excited Canva has the draw(opens in a new tab or window) tool built right in to make creating this type of content a breeze for anyone!

I use a drawing tablet to create my instructional videos in Canva so that I can write with pen precision. My preferred tablet for making instructional-style videos is the Wacom One(opens in a new tab or window). Wacom drawing tablets(opens in a new tab or window) plug into a Windows, Mac or Chromebook computer and allow users to draw with pen precision in any application. Check out this video to learn more about Which Wacom Tablet is Best for You(opens in a new tab or window).

Can you Use a Drawing Tablet with Canva?

Yes, the draw tool in Canva works extremely well with external drawing tablets. Your pen strokes are smooth and natural. You can communicate effectively and efficiently through a quick video with hand drawn elements. I’ll share some ideas to help you get started creating engaging instructional videos for your students.

Steps for Making Instructional Videos using Canva

Let’s talk about creating an instructional video where your goal is to review solutions to a worksheet you’ve assigned. You might want to make a video for students to use as they’re working through problems. If they get stuck, they can consult the video or use it to check their work after an initial attempt.

Here’s how to get started making your instructional video:

1. First off, you need to upload the base of your lesson plan into Canva. For example, if you’ve assigned students an activity (e.g. math worksheet) you can start by uploading the PDF into Canva by clicking on “Create a design” and selecting the “Import file” option. If this is your first time using the PDF import tool in Canva, you’re in for a treat because Canva automatically creates an editable version so you can modify text directly or translate(opens in a new tab or window) in Canva! Once you have the base of your lesson plan ready to go, it’s time to create your instructional video.

2. Second, we’re going to be doing a screen share within Canva. Here’s a tip for you — open your same Canva project in two different windows. This may sound strange, but you’re going to be “recording” in one window and “drawing” in the other.

  • To start setting up the screen share, on the left window, select the “Video” tab. On the right window, select the “Draw” tab.
  • Next, on the left window, with the “Video” tab selected, choose “Record Yourself”. Choose “Screen share” > “Window” and then choose the other Canva window that you have open. Meanwhile, on the right window, with the “Draw” tab selected and your recording started, pick your desired writing tool, adjust the size, and choose your preferred color.
  • Then, it’s time to get to drawing anywhere on your Canva creation. Canva’s recording tool will pick up everything you write on the screen along with your voice. Press “Record” when you are ready.
  • Pro tip: As you use Canva’s Draw tool to write on your PDF, I suggest you press the Done key between problems or sections. The reason for this is that each drawing will then be created as its own object that you can be resized and moved around.

3. Finally, when you’re done recording, end the recording and press “save and exit”. You’ll see your video recording added to Canva. I advise adding an additional page either to the beginning or end of your document, depending on the purpose of the video, and moving the video to a page on its own.

4. That’s it! When you share the video with your students, they’ll be able to play, pause, and rewind the recording as needed. There’s no need to upload the video to another platform, no need to worry about YouTube being blocked in your school or ad blockers, and no need to assign multiple links as everything is all in one place for you and your students. Many educators find they can communicate so much more clearly through video and it adds a layer of personalization to the content you’re creating whilst being extremely engaging.

Keep Learning with Canva for Education

For more inspiration and step-by-step instructions for getting going with Canva in your classroom check out this free mini-course by Stacey Roshan: Design, Sketch, and Draw with Canva for Education(opens in a new tab or window) or follow along with Canva’s Design School(opens in a new tab or window) courses to learn how to create, communicate and engage your students with Canva for Education(opens in a new tab or window).

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