Wednesday, November 21, 2012

@edcanvas An Interactive Lesson Board!


Edcanvas: The one place to organize, present and share knowledge

I recently ran across Edcanvas on Pinterest.  After checking it out, it reminded me of a blend of a few different sites all rolled into one.  The concept seemed great: take your favorite videos, images, documents, and such to add to a single board in effort to have your content easily organized.  I had to try it out to see how easy it was.  If the user-interface was not simple to navigate, no matter how fantastic the idea was, I would not use the site.  

I was able to quickly sign in using my existing Google/Gmail account.  Users can also sign in via their Facebook accounts.  After logging into the site, I was prompted to watch a brief 38 second video.  This impressed me.  So often, I find companies have a massive tutorial system for users to learn from or their demonstration video tends to run longer than four minutes.  In my opinion, videos should stay within 45 - 90 seconds.  Here is the brief demonstration video:


When the video ended, I figured I'd throw a brief example together and see how this new tool could work for me.  I added a website, YouTube video, image, and game website.  I was disappointed when I went to play my canvas.  This is where you see your work come to life; your interactive board plays your content for you.  As soon as the game website came up, I was booted from my canvas.  While I'm sure this has more to do with the game site than the Edcanvas site, I was still frustrated because I use the ABCya Game Site a ton in my classroom.  So, I knew I wouldn't be able to add those websites into my canvas creations.  Frustrated, I decided to view a canvas created by someone else.


As I viewed this example, I clearly began to see the benefit these canvas boards could have for education.  To see the photosynthesis example, click here.  I like how the creator of this board included questions on the right side of the content.  When you push 'play canvas' on the upper left corner, you'll be able to navigate through the content.  This example has a variety of media included so you can see the potential of integrating several pieces of content.  


There are several ways to use this tool.  They mention the following: student assignments, flipped classroom, 1:1 environments, and presentations.  Regardless of your intention with the site, I recommend checking out a few of the gallery examples.  There are some nice boards already created by teachers for you to view and use.  You can click here to connect to the Edcanvas gallery of content (you may have to log in first). 


The more I play around with the tool, the more it reminds me of a presentation tool.  I use SMART Notebook, Educreations, MentorMob, and Claco to create many of my lessons.  This tool seems like another way to curate content and keep topics organized for lessons.  I only wish there was a way to embed the boards into a website or blog and to drag sub boards onto main boards.  For example, it would be nice to be able to have a science board and then layer your photosynthesis boards and other science related boards on top of the main science board.  I guess I'm always thinking of more ways to organize.  Lastly, the sharing and social features are nice, but I didn't see a way to print a board.  I might have missed this, so if it is there, it's not easy to find.  There are many boards that have printable files, like Word Documents or PDFs, but I couldn't figure out how to print the page.  So, if I wanted to use a canvas board another teacher created, I wouldn't be able to access the printable content.  If you've had experience using Edcanvas and have figured out how to access the documents within the boards, please leave a comment below for the readers. 

Update: from Edcanvas
 - thanks to Twitter -

One of the many reasons I love Twitter is the ability to connect, quickly.  Moments after this post went live, one of my dear friends, Lisa Dabbs (@teachingwthsoul) connected me to one of the co-founders of Edcanvas who had immediate answers to my questions within this post.

 
I'm happy to find out that Edcanvas does have printing options.  I figured they did, I just didn't find it quickly enough.  Thanks Amy for your prompt response.  Now users can have full access to any canvas they choose to borrow and use from the gallery of archived content.


 Amy, an Edcanvas co-founder, and Edcanvas both replied with additional information I had questions about.  I'm excited they do have an embed feature to share canvas creations on websites and blogs.  I'm excited to continue exploring this great new site.  I know it has tons of potential!

1 comment:

  1. Hi,
    Great post Erin thanks. I could see this working really well for project based lessons, or as a way of showing differentiated pathways for different leveled students.
    Thanks again.
    Regards
    Agrodut Mandal
    Dissertation Writing

    ReplyDelete

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