Ms. Holly Kidson

Instructional Technology Specialist at Carrollton-Farmers Branch Independent School District


A super nice member!

I teach ages: 1 to 22


May 28, 2015

This is it. This is the best thing on the internet. We found it, guys.

I work as an instructional technology specialist for my district and have been assigned multiple projects involving graphic design elements. The district doesn’t pay for any kind of design software, so I’d been forking over monthly payments for the Adobe Cloud services until I found Canva.

Canva is a free graphic design tool. It’s incredibly intuitive, provides tons of scaffolding options for those new to design (free graphics, free templates, alignment guides, etc.), and I have yet to encounter a storage limit for my saved work. The Canva gurus are regularly requesting input from users and rolling out new features, so the tool is rapidly becoming extremely powerful. Images can be copied, saved, edited, converted to PDFs, shared, and streamed. The service is cloud-based, so projects I start in the office can be completed at home (and vise-versa). Premium options are available for $1 each, but you don’t even need to make the investment if you’re creative with how you use their hundreds of free images (or you upload your own).

Like Michelle (another reviewer), I have used Canva to create presentation designs, web graphics, icons, social media imagery, infographics, invitations, and fliers.

I have yet to use Canva with students (I believe there may be a Terms of Service age requirement but honestly haven’t checked yet), but intend to share it with high school students involved in creating digital portfolios next school year. I can see it being an incredible tool for promoting student creativity and expression, but also for helping students present their learning, skills, and experiences in an impressive visual format.

Canva is my favorite thing. Ever. Don’t tell my husband.

May 28, 2015

Padlet is excellent for brainstorming and back-channeling. If you take advantage of the ability to upload custom backgrounds, it can be used as a digital collaborative graphic organizer, which is very cool! It has privacy settings to help support moderation and student safety/digital citizenship, but the free version does allow students to enter things anonymously (which can become problematic in older grades, where it’s funny to enter false names or type inappropriate things). Just something to be aware of; you may want to moderate more closely if you suspect your audience might be inclined to abuse the anonymity option.

May 28, 2015

Tackk is my #2 favorite web tool right now (second only to Canva, and when used in kahoots, these two web apps are unstoppable!). Tackk can be used to present information (student presentations, fliers for parents, school newsletters, professional learning, etc.), but they are coming out with new features regularly that support Tackk as a collaborative tool. The stream feature is a great way to have students submit assignments or provide peer-to-peer feedback, and really provides a simple way to publish student work to a global audience. Creating aesthetically pleasing presentations in Tackk is simple and intuitive; aside from Terms of Service limitations, it would be suitable for grades 3 through 12. We are really hoping they’ll come out with an official Tackk EDU version that accommodates younger users. I <3 Tackk!

May 28, 2015

We’ve used ThingLink to curate student work, provide interactive professional learning experiences, and present information to learners systematically. It’s an amazing free tool, with additional paid-feature functionality. Highly recommended for all ages; younger grades do better with the app version of the tool, but I recommend the web version for older students/adults because the interface is more robust.

May 28, 2015

I really like this tool– not as a primary productivity or creativity tool, but as an exploratory tool. There’s definitely a place for quick, creative outlets in the realm of educational technology tools, and I think this one fits that niche.