Skype with Amy from Edcanvas – Edcanvas is App of the Day!

We took a little deviation from Scratch and the like in yesterday’s Code Club.  We looked instead at Edcanvas.com and thought about how we could use this to build projects and as an organiser for online our research. I have mentioned Edcanvas on this blog before, it is essentially a tool to create and share online presentations. It is a browser-based web app and can be used across all devices, which makes it super mobile. The presentations can be made up of  text, Flickr images, web clips , embedded Youtube videos and any items from your desktop/dropbox or google drive. The finished product is a sort of hybrid of a website and presentation or as the site describes itself:

The one place to organize, present and share knowledge

When I started using Edcanvas I saw it as a tool to create versatile presentations, which I could share with my class using a simple url link and viewed on our iPads. Since then the tool has continued to evolve and today members of code club were able to create their own canvases. It is now open to pupils as well as teachers!.

Code Club members and my year 6 class now have access to a new and flexible tool for organising and presenting  research work, both at home and at school. As a teacher I can view all of my classes canvases and enrol my pupils as users via a simple and memorable code, rather than getting them to sign up with an email, this makes the service both easy to use and safe. A further feature development to mention is the ability to embed the canvases in websites and blogs. This is great news for my class who are creating World War 2 themed sites using Weebly to build  websites from the ground up. They  will (I hope) be able to embed a canvas/presentation within a page of their site.

Here is an example of one Edcanvas created by one of my girls, it shows the beginnings of a canvas around the theme of Roald Dahl.

Back to yesterday, and our club just had a 20 minute play with the tool and so it was all a bit artificial and unusual as the children devised their own ares of interest to build canvases on, rather than a specific class topic. It was amazing though to see how in just a few minutes everyone had at least 6  slides of either text , images or embedded items.

Following their initial play with the tool, the group were privileged and excited to find themselves having a Skype conversation with Amy – one of the developers of Edcanvas. They passed on their thoughts about usage and feature requests while Amy listened attentively.

Aside from Edcanvas, it was also great to hear Amy’s advice for my young programmers, which to paraphrase went something like this:

You have the ability to easily create something amazing and have it online . Don’t lose that !

Big thanks to Amy for being a responsive and attentive developer and taking on board the suggestions of teachers like myself. Edcanvas is shaping up to being a very powerful tool.

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