Thursday, June 11, 2020

Canva Now Has a Desktop App for Windows and Mac

Canva is a tool that I use almost daily for everything from creating YouTube thumbnails to designing full presentations like the one that I'm giving this afternoon. And as I wrote earlier this year, there are at least ten good ways to use Canva in your classroom. That's why I was excited this morning when I read the news that Canva now offers a Windows and Mac desktop app. I've already installed it and it's great! You can get the Windows version here and the Mac version here.

Canva for desktop includes all of the same features that are found in the web browser version. Those features include seemingly endless graphic design templates, image editing tools, animation tools, and simple website publishing tools. You'll also find libraries of high quality pictures, drawings, icons, music, and b-roll video clips.



The aspect of Canva for desktop that I like the most so far is being able to have multiple designs open and quickly switch between them. I'm also excited about being able to run it in the background separate from my web browser. That feature should make it easier to present a slideshow made with Canva and not have to keep flipping between web browser windows when I want to give a demonstration of something outside of the slideshow.

The National Zoo's Activities You Can Do at Home

My daughters are currently obsessed with a book titled On the Loose in Washington D.C. It's a book created in the "Where's Waldo" style, but instead of having to find Waldo you have to find animals. The premise of the book is that all of the animals have escaped from the Smithsonian's National Zoo and you have to find them. The preface to the book encourages readers to visit the National Zoo's website to learn more about the animals. That's what I did this week when I found the Smithsonian's National Zoo's Activities You Can Do at Home.

There are sixteen activities in the Activities You Can Do at Home collection. There are activities suitable for students of all ages. Even though nearly all of the activities could be modified for any age, a target age is listed below each activity in the collection.

Some of the activities in the Activities You Can Do at Home collection include simple games that kids can play on their own, live animal webcams that students can watch and record observations about, and there are some full-blown plans for lessons that you could carry out over the course of a few days.

Here are a few of the activities that stood out to me as I reviewed the Activities You Can Do at Home collection:

  • Rainforest Wonders - this activity features a guide to helping K-2 students explore the world around them through the use of five senses. This could be a great one to recommend to parents who are looking for activities to do at home with their kids.
  • All About Amphibians - this eight-part activity is set-up like a mini online course for elementary school students to learn about the differences between reptiles and amphibians and the role of amphibians in an ecosystem. Kids will also see some neat pictures and videos of amphibians in this activity.
  • National Zoo Webcams - sit back and enjoy watching some of the most popular animals at the zoo. And if you want to encourage kids to document what they see, you can distribute an observation recording sheet.