Using technology in the classroom with our littlest learners can be a daunting task for teachers. Thinking of teaching our little ones basic skills like letters and numbers is hard enough, so to incorporate technology skills can be a scary thought! It doesn’t have to be though.

Digital Natives

These little learners are digital natives and are now growing up with a variety of devices and a basic knowledge of how to use them. Sometimes they even teach us a few things. Many young students go home and go straight to their smart devices. They seem to instinctively know how to use these and are easily engaged. Why should we take away that engagement when they come to school? Studies, such as Project CHILD (Computers Helping Instruction and Learning Development), proves that our youngest students are more engaged when technology is incorporated into lessons. The growth of technology is inevitable, so as educators we have the opportunity to enhance our students' learning experience by embracing technology and taking the time to teach them safe technology skills.

Canvas in Preschool

This is where Canvas comes in. Canvas with our Preschoolers?! Absolutely! Just like from K-12 to HigherEd, Canvas looks different across all institutions and grade levels; this is the same when it comes to Pre-K. While some of the more advanced features may be a better fit for older students, it can be an excellent tool in Pre-K for communicating with parents and housing resources that are used every day in the classroom.


In Pre-K, students are learning the basics: the alphabet, numbers, letter sounds, etc. A lot of these skills can be practiced through games and activities that can be embedded, linked, or added through an external tool within Canvas. These external resources are engaging for students! For example:

  • Websites like Starfall can be added right into the course’s navigation using the simple Redirect Tool
  • External tools like FunBrain and Nearpod can be easily added to course content for young learners. 
  • Activities can be created by educators on external programs, just like in SMART Learning Suite can be linked in Canvas.

Here is a resource with some ideas on Best Practices in Canvas with Pre-K students.


I was able to work with a Pre-K teacher recently who created amazing learning games for her students in the SMART Learning Suite. Her challenge after she created these games was getting the links to her students without having to have them type in a long and complex URL. I was able to show her how to add all of the games she created as external tool links in her new “Games ”  module. She also LOVED the fact she could add emojis (check out Emojipedia) to titles! Emojis are great for those little ones who are still learning how to read. 

Games Module

After showing her the steps to add the links into her course, she told me it was a game-changer! The students and parents are easily able to access these activities.

Why use Canvas in Preschool

But why Canvas? If they are able to get to these engaging academic games on the internet - why even bother with Canvas? Great questions and they are questions I get a lot when I am giving workshops with these lower grade-levels. These are the reasons I typically give to teachers:

  1. It is a one-stop-shop: Students don’t need to be wandering around the vast internet searching for the resources we want them to access.
  2. It is a safe place for students: To go along with the first reason, students can access all resources from the teacher without accidentally getting to an inappropriate site or search.
  3. Teaching 21st century skills: These students are digital-natives; Canvas can help teach them the skills they need to be able to be successful academically in the 21st century.
  4. Parents have resources for their students at home: As a former teacher, it was so easy to keep all these awesome resources in one place so the parents can have their little ones play these fun learning games and activities at home without having to search and research all of the games and apps out there. As well as a great place to communicate with parents and guardians.
  5. It is a place that teachers can build and keep building for years to come: Teachers will not have to reinvent the wheel each year they have a new group of little ones. They can continue to build on the courses they have made in previous years.


I would love to hear from anyone out there who has experience with Canvas and Pre-K or any of the primary grade levels. What are your favorite ways to use Canvas with your students? What are your favorite apps to add in Canvas? Can’t wait to hear from you!


Attached you will find a resource that will help you with additional ideas and best practices to using Canvas with our littlest learners.


Sarah M. Butzin (2001) Using Instructional Technology in Transformed Learning Environments, Journal of Research on Computing in Education, 33:4, 367-373, DOI: 10.1080/08886504.2001.10782321

If you would like to explore more about using Canvas to connect with our youngest learners, check out this blog by  @mwilliams1 , Yes They Can.

4 2 4,640
Community Participant

Here are the Advanced Tips in this infographic series.


Advanced, Part 1

Advanced, Part 2

Advanced, Part 3

Advanced, Part 4

Advanced, Part 5

Other infographics you might find helpful:

Infographic Bonanza

2 0 2,796
Community Participant

I couldn't think of a better title for these infographics. These are just small chunks of info for teachers to consider as they get their courses established. They sort of follow an order of operations, but I feel like the Essentials series does a better job of a good work-flow. The Essentials are a rebrand of these small tips. But, I like them and think smaller is better...sometimes. You'd have to know me to know that is a big, fat lie. Bigger and more is ALWAYS better. 

Beginner, Part 1

Beginner, Part 2

Beginner, Part 3

Beginner, Part 4

Beginner, Part 5

Beginner, Part 6

Beginner, Part 7

Beginner, Part 8

Beginner, Part 9

Beginner, Part 10

Attached are interactive PDF's you can use as well! 

11 2 9,396
Community Participant

You can probably tell, I like a series. Here is the Cool Things Series that includes some basic and not-so-basic uses for some of the great Canvas features. I've included these features so far:

  • Assignments
  • Grade book
  • Modules
  • Calendar
  • Quizzes
  • Discussions

I'll add a few more as I think of them. I put these in my newsletter for teachers on my high school campuses. Hoping to win more over to use Canvas to help their students! 

Cool Things You Can Do with Assignments

Cool Things You Can Do with the Grade Book

Cool Things You Can Do with Modules

Cool Things You Can Do with the Calendar

Cool Things You Can Do with Quizzes

Cool Things You Can Do with Discussions


Please let me know if you see mistakes or have anything to add! 

17 0 9,420
Community Participant

To complete the Essentials Series, I came up with two Phases for some Advanced tools instructors can use in their courses. I'm sure there are some other interesting Advanced tools out there I haven't thought of so I'd love to hear from some of you. I can compile them (giving you credit!) into a Phase 3. 


In these you'll find links on how to:

  1. Use Conferences
  2. Use an iFrame to Embed Sites
  3. Use Thinglinks for a Cool Homepage
  4. Use the Style Guide
  5. Try Mastery Paths
  6. Use the Redirect App
  7. Add a FlipGrid Assignment
  8. Use PowToon
  9. Mass Delete Calendar Events
  10. Use Quiz Statistics
  11. Weight Assignments
  12. Add Your Own Apps
  13. Export Grades
  14. Use Peer Review Discussions
  15. Print a Quiz
  16. Add Sound to Pages


I've attached interactive PDF versions as well as the links to the infographics. Feel free to use and share! 

Power Up Your Canvas Course Advanced Essentials: Phase 1

Power Up Your Canvas Course Advanced Essentials: Phase 2

10 1 4,503
Instructure Alumni
Instructure Alumni

Thanks to everyone who was able to join us during the Canvas Live event.  Linked here is the recording from the session attached is the chat transcript from the session.  We wanted to move the discussion, connections and conversations to the Engagement Space where you can start your own discussions, continue to post to this thread and to the video as well. 


We hope you all enjoyed hearing what Forney ISD has done as much as we have.  

Here is a link to the fabulous presentation by Stacy Joseph, Stormy Lemond, & Sherrie Watson


For more resources around our community on Elementary Usage here are some very handy links: 

INSTCON Videos: 

A few other fun and handy resources: 

12 7 39.4K
Instructure Alumni
Instructure Alumni

The following is a CanvasLive session presented on May 7, 2019 by Forney ISD.  

2 1 4,095
Community Participant

Deciding what constitutes as "intermediate" essentials is such a gray area. I've come up with 24 items that I think may fit. There are three documents in this series and here is the list of what you'll find:

  1. Add a File in a Content Page
  2. Create a Hyperlink to a File
  3. Use Auto-Inline Preview
  4. Enable Attachments for Discussions
  5. Use a File Upload Question
  6. Import ExamView Quizzes
  7. Use Collaborations
  8. Create a Rubric
  9. Add a Course End Date
  10. Provide Media Feedback
  11. Use Question Banks
  12. Subscribe to the Calendar
  13. Set a Default Grade
  14. Filter Gradebook by Section
  15. Pin a Discussion
  16. Set the Liking Option
  17. Moderate a Quiz
  18. Delay Discussion Posts
  19. Curve Grades
  20. Sort Assignments by Missing
  21. Add a Recurring Event
  22. Use Undelete
  23. View Page History
  24. Use CTRL+K

I've added the links to the Infographics and attached interactive PDF's below. Hope you find these useful! 


Power Up Your Canvas Course, Intermediate Essentials: Phase 1 - by Stephenie Jordan [Infographic]

Power Up Your Canvas Course, Intermediate Essentials: Phase 2 - by Stephenie Jordan [Infographic]

Power Up Your Canvas Course, Intermediate Essentials: Phase 3 - by Stephenie Jordan [Infographic]

13 2 4,047
Community Participant

After Year Five of our Canvas implementation, teachers are still reluctant to really dive in and use it to its fullest. These Beginner Essentials take a brand new user

or one who has had it on the back shelf for years
                  ...and years...
                             and some more years.... 

from how to add a professional profile picture to using the scheduler. 

I've tried to think through a "best practices" flow for teachers to follow. These are just my ideas and how I think teachers can take steps to use Canvas. Feel free to post your ideas and how I might make adjustments!   

Power Up Your Canvas Course, Beginner Essentials: Phase 1 - by Stephenie Jordan [Infographic] 

Power Up Your Canvas Course, Beginner Essentials: Phase 2 - by Stephenie Jordan [Infographic] 

Power Up Your Canvas Course, Beginner Essentials: Phase 3 - by Stephenie Jordan [Infographic] 

Power Up Your Canvas Course, Beginner Essentials: Phase 4 - by Stephenie Jordan [Infographic] 

34 9 10.7K
Coach Emeritus


Our Department of Education have had the foresight to acknowledge the support schools require when aiming to leverage learning through the use of digital technologies. In my new role as a Blended Learning Leader our team have the privilege of being able to provide this support to schools.

Now that the official end of our previous LMS has come to pass we will be sinking our teeth into using Canvas as a tool to enhance what we already do really well. Last term we spent a lot of time out in schools demonstrating how to use Canvas and highlighting some of the potential it has for teaching and learning.

The new school year is about to start and I am keen to see how Canvas will be used in our schools. I am genuinely excited about the support we can provide and networks we can help build while keeping in mind Creating a purpose and Don't be a slave to your LMS. Make it work for you.  

How have other coaches reached out to schools?

What sorts of support have you provided?

What cool projects have you come across?

As  @kmeeusen suggested I never start with, "This is what this tech can do for you." or with "You can do this with this tech." I always start with, "What would you like to be able to do?" Then I show them how it can be done with that tech or some other tech.’

Wise words. Cart before the horse!





11 13 3,739