Skip navigation
All Places > K-12 > Blog > 2017 > June > 27


June 27, 2017 Previous day Next day

As a former K12 teacher, I was always looking for Web 2.0 tools to use with my students. Imagine my excitement when I learned that the HTML editor allows for me to embed some of my favorite websites on a content page in Canvas. Even more excited, when I learned that students could interact with those websites without leaving Canvas platform. All the websites listed below have a "share" button which allows you to copy and paste the embed code inside a Canvas page. Not only a page, but anywhere you see the HTML editor. By the way, that lives in Announcements, Discussions, Quizzes, Assignments, Pages, and the Syllabus. Imagine the power these tools can bring to instruction. 


My top 5 favorite websites.

padlet logo Padlet is a free, online "virtual wall" where users can post notes. It's a great place to collect media, thoughts and files from students. The best part is that you can copy the share code and embed on a content page inside of Canvas. 

It works like a piece of paper. We give you an empty page - a padlet - and you can put whatever you like on it. Upload a video, add a recording, snap a selfie, add your own text, or upload documents, and voilà! A padlet is born. Make it even more beautiful by choosing custom wallpapers and themes or add your own. 

Ways to Use Padlet in the Classroom:

  • Brainstorm topics of study
  • Collaborate on group projects
  • Thinking maps
  • Responses to reading assignment
  • Word wall
  • Exit tickets/Check-in or check-out
  • Classroom stations
  • Showcase work
  • Gather feedback


smore logoDesign beautiful online flyers and publish instantly. The days of posting a flyer around the neighborhood are over. Smore helps you create amazing pages that you’d be proud to share. Smore pages work flawlessly on your smartphone and tablet are interactive and beautiful inside of Canvas.
There is a free and paid version of Smore. There is also special pricing for educators, $59 a year. With a paid version of Smore, one can use custom backgrounds, make flyers private, see reports, make unlimited flyers, and access the Educator Hive for sharing and with other educators.

Ways to Use Smore in the Classroom:

  • Class Newsletters

  • Weekly Email for Students

  • Multimedia Presentations

  • Projects 


thinglink logoImagine taking students on a virtual tour of the San Diego Zoo, watching the stages of the butterfly life cycle, or listening to excerpts of Romeo and Juliet. All that is possible with ThingLink. ThingLink technology lets teachers create interactive images by embedding audio, video and rich media links. 
ThingLink has a free and paid version. There is a plan for educators, $35 a year. The paid version allows for more classes (5 vs. 1), custom icons, and full-screen presentation mode.

Ways to Use ThingLink in the Classroom:

  • Projects
  • Presentations
  • Virtual Tours
  • Professional Development


symbaloo logoSymbaloo is a visual bookmarking tool that makes it simple and fun to organize the best of the web. You have all your favorite websites at your fingertips. With an account you can access your bookmarks from everywhere with any device and share your online resources with others. Teachers can create a free user account using SymbalooEDU.

Ways to use Symbaloo in the Classroom:

  • Project resources
  • Unit of Study resources
  • Course Resources
  • Teacher Resources
  • Library Database Resources
  • Professional Development Resources


poll everywhere logoPoll Everywhere is a platform that allows teachers to create polls that students can respond to via Poll Everywhere app, web browser, text message, or Twitter. Teachers can create and display questions on the fly, including Q&A and multiple choice polls. Questions can be presented from inside of Canvas.
Audience responses are displayed in real-time. Poll Everywhere has a free and paid version. NOTE: The paid version allows for censoring. 

Ways to Use Poll Everywhere in the Classroom:

  • Exit tickets
  • Lesson feedback
  • Subject matter review
  • Lesson starter/Bell ringer
  • Classroom decisions
  • Student progress (assignment completed)

Types of Polls Available for Embedding:

  • Multiple Choice polls
  • Word Cloud polls
  • Q&A polls
  • Rank Order polls
  • Open-Ended polls
  • NOT available for embedding: Clickable Image poll and Survey poll


If you are interested in seeing these five websites in action, be sure to go to the Commons and search for Interactive Webtools. The module contains other websites beside these five, so be sure to import the module into a course. Feel free to participate with the content. Next time you create instructional pages inside of Canvas, consider one of these five websites. 

The first year teacher is full of questions: Is my classroom organized properly? Have I mastered content standards well enough to teach them effectively? How will I contribute to my PLC? In the midst of question whirlwinds, teachers have initiatives sent down the pipeline that must be integrated into the classroom each year; some stick and others do not. My first year teaching, that initiative was Personalize Learning. I was not new to the concept but the application certainly posed some questions.


I spent hours working and reworking how a pathway would look in my head and how I could share my vision with my students. My first attempt involved making paper copies of each playlist task. As you can imagine, it did not take long before I realized I was killing my motivation and a small forest of trees. It was then that I attended a Canvas training at my school. The presenter was modeling a new feature called Mastery Pathways. Immediately, I fell in love. Not only were Mastery Paths a way to incorporate Personalized Learning, but it was fast and easy to grade!


Today I use Mastery Pathways for various classroom activities. However, my favorite use of this incredible tool is for re-looping a unit of study. The concept of a Mastery Pathway is pretty simple. You create an assessment (Quiz) in Canvas that you want to use as your benchmark. Students complete the quiz to the best of their ability and are given a score that shows their mastery. Then, based on their Quiz score, students are populated into pathways. The upper pathway is designed for students who have mastered the identified target. This pathway will involve an enrichment activity that you create in Canvas Assignments. I like to make this activity an introduction to our next unit of study. The middle pathway is designed for students who did not quite meet mastery. In this pathway you would add an assignment that reviews more abstract concepts these students might have missed. The lower pathway is designed for students who need more intensive review of the identified target. You would assign an overall review of unit concepts to this pathway. 


You can adjust the ranges of each pathway group using the points cut-off bars in the Mastery Pathways tab. To add an assignment to a particular pathway, you simply click the "+" button and find the assignment that you created. For my lower pathway, I also include a retest (Quiz) that is to be completed after the review assignment. This way students have a second opportunity to master content before building on it in another unit.


Attached are images of Mastery Paths built inside of a Quiz and the sequence of the Pathways as they appear in a Canvas Module. I hope you find success in  your Mastery Path journey!

Erica Starr

Incorporating Math Tools

Posted by Erica Starr Jun 27, 2017

I have begun to learn new math tools to incorporate within the Canvas platform.  One useful tool I have found is when I want to add equations to a quiz, they often come out looking clunky and incoherent.  However, using the app Equatio has helped my formulas to look the same as the way they are presented in the classroom.  The tool has a handwriting app that allows almost any mathematical formula to embed in the question.


Another tool that has been helpful for me to use has been the feature on the quizzes where you can assign a variable in an equation that is different for each student. Under the "quizzes" tab, click on "questions."  From there, you can add a new question type as "Formula Question."  Once you set the parameters for the variable, it will create a new variable for each student.  This will limit student cheating and allow for true demonstration of mastery for your students.


Canvas is also a unique place to import other technology tools into the website.  You may create a blend space and allow students to access different materials of review or practice problem sets.  I also like the features that allow you to build mastery paths in your course.  Many of my students require remediation, and I have a difficult time pushing students who have mastered a concept while still addressing students in need of remediation.  This feature will allow your students to get an individualized path that would benefit their needs.  

Marjorie Frick

Flipping Technology PD

Posted by Marjorie Frick Jun 27, 2017

   My position as as Technology Associate is one of staff support.  I am a resource to help teachers integrate all types of technology into their classrooms.  One of my favorite ways to use Canvas is to flip technology PD. I respect my teachers time and don't want to create a burden on them.

   Canvas offers an excellent opportunity to flip PD.  By creating content in advance and allowing teachers to work through a PD course on their own, you are differentiating instruction.  Teachers are at all different levels when it comes to their ability to understand and use technology.  They may be very tech savvy and pick up on new concepts quickly or they may be very hesitant to change their ways and embrace new ideas. I prefer to allow my teachers to have an advance exposure to technology PD.  Some of my teachers will be able to take off running on their own.  Others will need to have their hands held and a more in-dept face-to-face training.  At least these teachers will have a basic knowledge of what we are working on when we meet.  They can have specific questions prepared in advance.  Often they will send me these by email so that I can have additional materials ready to work with them.  

    I have found that my staff appreciates the opportunity to learn at their own pace and on their own time.  If they are not interested in learning a tool at all, they can just skip this PD.  I try to be open to my teachers' needs and not force any new tool on them.  However, I have seen that once one teacher on a team starts using something new, often others will be impressed and want to know more.  Setting up Conferences within Canvas is an excellent tool to assist with flipping PD.  I can schedule a time to meet individually or as a group.  Canvas offers me so many different ways to present information such as video, documents, audio, etc.

   Flipping the classroom is not just for students!  It works really well for teacher PD.

   types of locks

   Lately, I have heard about teachers using "Escape Room" type activities to increase student engagement for group practice of content information.  This can be done through Canvas using the module settings and very simple quiz questions.  (Fill in the blank can allow your answers to be anything!)

   To begin the teacher needs to decide how many "boxes" the students need to "unlock", this will determine the number of modules needed.  From here students will be given "clues" on paper or in a page in canvas.  The clues are designed to have the students practice a set skill on a set objective.  Once the students have solved the clue they will go to the quiz and put in their answer.  If the answer is not correct the quiz will give the students a grade of zero/not complete and this does not allow them to go on to the next "clue" in the next module.  The goal would be to have the groups competing against other groups to solve all the clues first.  

   Another layer could be added to this my using the mastery paths tool and let the quiz sent the students to a "time out page" that has a counter when they do not answer the quiz question correctly.  This idea is only limited by the designer's imagination.  So grab a friend and get it a try.

Filter Blog

By date: By tag: