Rewind to 2011... I was part of a very small team trying to simplify the department I was teaching in. We were trying to offer online courses, streamline our grading, and organize our resources into a more paperless format == Canvas Free for Teacher. I am not sure what lucky stars crossed my path the day I jumped into the platform, but it transformed my classroom within a year. In the first six months I spent countless hours reading the Guides, experimenting with features, and making a thousand mistakes. I did come out of the experience feeling like I could successfully navigate in Canvas and start creating courses that I would be proud of. Our school officially adopted Canvas as part of a state-wide purchase later on that made it even better with the extra access to the Admin side. I was so impressed that Instructure was willing to offer this software for teachers freely as part of the larger goal being to improve education with a system that supports students and teachers, and that leads to a better educational experience.
Here we are four years later and I still use my Free for Teacher account regularly. Despite having several other official instances, I like to test things out in my FFT account. I can play with tools, integrations, features options, and change course layouts around. I have an alter ego account for myself in which I am enrolled as a student in many of my test courses so I can really try things out and see how user friendly they are for students. Many of the Web 2.0 tools and integrations have been tested out by my demo self before being integrated into a real course so I can be prepared to help my students walk through the necessary steps to be successful. I can look back at more than 150 courses and see how my design has changed over time - hopefully to become more student centered.... Free for Teacher, recommend it to a friend today!