- Digital Lesson Creation and Sharing
Usability:- EdCanvas is an online platform to create powerful, interactive and fluidic digital content that can be used to teach students. The platform offers very simple to use drag and drop features and resource selection. Any teacher can simply search for resources from platforms like google web search, google images search, youtube videos and more to add them in their edcanvas. EdCanvas can be used by teachers to create effective class lectures and assignments by using the resources and options like embedding web pages, text, images, videos, multiple choice questions and more. Also, the platform can be very easily used for flipping classes and tracking student progress. The platform also supports voice and text based commenting in addition to sharing options like embedding the ‘edcanvas’ to a webpage or directly share it on edmodo , twitter or facebook.
EdCanvas also supports class creation and management to create and support better virtual class environment and track student progress.
Walk-Through:- To kick start with Edcanvas, a user can either register as a teacher or as a student. For teachers, the system allows login via facebook also, in addition to login via google and the traditional registration form as in the case of students.
As a teacher, the user can access ‘My Canvases’ page which is a default landing page just after login. Here the teachers get a list of all their canvases along with the additional suggestions by the system listed under the featured canvases name. The teachers can use the big ‘+’ button with blue background to create a new canvas. On the right hand side of the main screen, there is a small column with widgets that contain a search bar, teachers’ classes and system’s announcements. The search bar can be used to search for all canvases on the platform that are open for people to see. The class manager can be used to create and manage classes and also manage students of each class. To add students, the teacher can either invite them through e-mail or can just distribute the class code for them to mention while registering on the platform.
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Once a user clicks on the create new canvas button, the system takes them to the work area where the actual designing of canvas takes place. The first popup option asks the user to enter the name for the canvas and suggests names if the user is not sure what to put in. Also, the user can click the link at the bottom of the popup to see canvases created by other users. The title of the canvas appears at the top of the canvas editing area and by clicking on the name users can easily edit the name of the canvas.
The canvas is basically a tile based layout. By default the system loads the square template, which is nothing but 3x3 square tiles arranged closely together to start off with. Within the editing screen, a toolbar at the top offers features to change the template (change the layout of the tiles), theme (to switch between a black and white or coloured theme), play (to preview how the canvas will actually look when someone views it), printing (to take a print of the canvas in a slide layout), subject (to add a canvas to a particular pre-defined subject and also assign a grade level to it) and share (to share the canvas across the web through URL, code embedding, sharing over facebook and twitter and through e-mail). Additionally, there is an option to share directly on Edmodo and also the user can use the QR Code to share the canvas. Also, if the teacher has already created a class, the canvas can be shared with the class also. This share button also provides an option to set different view permissions for the canvas like only me, public or for people with the link.
Talking about the actual digital content creation using edcanvas, the user can use the simple drag-drop feature of the platform to add different multimedia content from the right resource panel where all the links to different resources are present. The right column allows the user to search and select content like videos, images, web-pages, web-search results, bookmarks, multimedia files and more not only from the local PC of the user but also from the most popular platforms like Google, Flicker, Youtube, Educreations, Gooru, Dropbox and Google Drive .
At the bottom right corner of the screen, there is a ‘settings’ button that allows the user to either allow viewers to comment on the canvas or not. Also within this, there is an option to “Track Views on this Lesson” along with a sorting option to only track views from a particular class.
On the canvas, the tiles are very neatly arranged and as a user hovers the pointer over a tile, the utility option pops up. Using this option a user can add, delete or edit (name and description of the tile) a tile. One of the best features of this platform is the ‘Add Quiz’, which is a default system functionality of the system and can be used for any tile. Though the Quizzes are only multiple choice based, but they can be very useful for the teacher to keep a check on the students while they are going through the canvases as the questions will keep them focused on the content. Also the questions help the teachers to keep track of the students understanding of the topics being covered and also help focus on the progress of each student. Additionally, a canvas is autosaved on every edit, therefore the user need not worry about saving the contents after making changes.
Once a canvas is ready, the teacher can use the ‘Play’ button from the top menu to view how exactly the canvas looks.
For a viewer, the canvas comes up in a neat tile based format. When a user clicks on the tile of any tile, the contents of the tile are shown in a full screen mode with an option to go to the next tile and with an option to add comments in text or voice format if the creator of the canvas has enabled commenting.
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As a student, they not only get canvases created by their teachers for the class, but also get an option to create their own canvases. Also, the students can create canvases under classes that get shared with others of the same class. While going through the contents of a canvas, the students can show their like or dislike towards the canvas by using the like and dislike button from the option just below the comments.
As a teacher, while tracking a student’s progress, the system offers a variety of options for tracking students’ activities over the canvas. For every canvas, the system shows who all viewed the canvas from the class and who didn’t along with the total number of students who viewed and their average view duration. The overview panel also shows the number of likes, dislikes and comments on a canvas. By selecting a class from the top right hand side, a teacher can drill into the details of if any student for the class is seeking help from the teacher or not.
The Quiz results are very neatly displayed and are very descriptive. The system offers a quiz view, where the number of correct and incorrect answers are displayed for each question and by clicking on each option the teacher can actually see who all have selected that particular option as an answer. Alternatively, the teacher can have a tabular view of the result where every student’s name is listed with the answers given by each against their name.
Our Review:- Edcanvas is a very intense and powerful tool to facilitate the digital learning in or out of a classroom along with providing collaboration between teachers and students. Additionally, the system offers students’ progress tracking to make things easy for teachers in terms of monitoring students’ performance. All these features help in creating a very interactive environment for studies and increase student engagement. Moreover, this facilitated formative assessment in the class helps students get more personalized feedback and attention from the teachers. Ability for the students to have their own personal canvas space in addition to the class canvas space allows them to experiment with their knowledge and share the same with others. Also, the teachers can use this feature of the system for assignment submissions and help the students online itself and still have the students’ talent being shared with everyone.
The drag-drop feature makes things very easy while creating a canvas and the ability to switch the positions of the tile also comes handy.
Not to forget, the ability to make voice comments of 30 sec each is another good feature of the tool. Though the maximum length for each voice comment is only 30 seconds but as a comment, 30 seconds are enough.
We really like the quiz feature and the way how the results are shown to the students when they submit their quizzes. Also, the tracking system of the platform is very impressive. We think that edcanvas could really be a key tool for flipping the classrooms, formative assessment, creating personalized learning and collaborative environment. We really loved using the tool while reviewing it.
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