Canva is releasing a new classroom-focused suite of AI tools, designed to assist time-strapped educators with lesson planning, content editing, document reformatting, image and text editing, multilingual lesson support, and accessibility checking.
Available now to Canva’s more than 50 million education users, the graphic design platform’s Classroom Magic products were created with student use in mind, as well, representing one of the first AI-powered educational tool launches at this scale and suggesting the next wave of AI-assisted learning is knocking at the door.
Earlier this month, Canva announced Magic Studio, a suite of new and upgraded AI tools that let users edit visual media and generate text, images, and even video. Classroom Magic offers educators a similarly robust list of AI products, but with added oversight and educational guidance, including AI use training. The new tools were specifically created for users in educational settings, as part of the company’s Canva for Education offering.
The site launched a free, educator-focused version of its design platform four years ago, providing educators, students, and other users across school districts access to premium design tools, graphics, templates, and collaborative classroom spaces to facilitate student work. Classroom Magic adds AI assistance to Canva for Education functions, and, along with expanded educator features, turns the site into a one-stop shop for classroom lessons, design, and assignments.
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“As the technological revolution unfolds, classrooms worldwide need to meet the moment. With this launch, we’re both giving teachers the easy-to-use, all-in-one platform they want and preparing students for a world that is increasingly visual, and powered by AI,” wrote Jason Wilmot, Canva’s head of education. “We know that Canva’s tools are likely to be the first exposure to AI technology for many teachers and students — and that’s a responsibility we take seriously. We’re committed to being a truly safe partner to schools, teachers and students, now and in the future.”
Carly Daff, Canva’s head of teams and education, told Mashable that the creation of Classroom Magic came from conversations with teachers, students, and district leaders around the world.
“There were two big problems that we saw. The first one is that teachers are really time poor. They’re spending way too many hours outside of the classroom, preparing their lessons and doing prep work, and we want to get them back in the classroom,” said Daff. “The other big thing is AI is here, and it’s here to stay. It’s really changing the way that we’re working at Canva, and we know it’s going to impact students’ careers in the future.”
Canva surveyed 1,000 educators on AI’s use in the classroom ahead of the launch of Classroom Magic. The survey found that while 78 percent of teachers are eager to incorporate AI in lessons and administrative tasks, 93 percent say they don’t know where to begin. The majority of responses highlighted the need for simple and accessible ways to harness AI technology.
Credit: Canva / Morning Consult
“We decided that the best way to do this was to support them in making this decision by making AI accessible to them,” Daff said. “We’ve got professional development courses. We’ve got cheat sheets for how to write the best prompts. And we’ve even got some hands-on workshops happening. So we’ve taken the approach of educating first, making it accessible to them, and teaching teachers how to use it safely.”
Students and teachers make up a significant portion of Canva users, the company reports, with more than 50 million education accounts connected to around 600,000 schools worldwide. As teachers and school administrators around the world navigate the educational implications of generative AI, its effect on learning, and evolving best practices for AI in the classroom, Canva’s expansive reach could be a major step in universalizing the technology for educators.
AI ‘Magic’ for text and images
To facilitate access and help close the AI knowledge gap, Classroom Magic features include a range of design and curriculum-centered tools that can assist both teachers and students. Canva’s Magic Write tool, for example, is a copywriting assistant that can help students start first drafts, summarize complex ideas, and rewrite work, and help teachers generate lesson plans, summarize complex concepts, brainstorm ideas, or rewrite content in seconds, the company explained.
Magic Write utilizes AI language learning models, like OpenAI’s ChatGPT 3.5, with added content moderation and filters designed and implemented by Canva, Daff said.
Canva for Education users can also access Magic Grab Images to generate full images and art in a variety of design styles, and use Magic Animate to add automatic animations to any lesson plan or assignment with a single click.
Designed to help teachers move classroom work online, tools like Magic Switch and Magic Grab Text can help turn whiteboard notes or visual brainstorms into documents and editable text. Magic Switch can also turn text presentations into whole websites or video.
Accessibility checking and translation
Canva’s AI tools also include accessibility features, including multilingual translation support for 100 different languages, alt text generation for images, and a Design Accessibility Checker, which scans designs for common accessibility issues according to the international web accessibility standards (known as the WCAG).
Like other generative AI tools have offered across industries, the automatic accessibility checkers provide a solid starting point for educators, who can then exercise additional oversight to ensure their designs meet the individual needs of diverse learners.
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A library of lesson plans and tools to learn with AI
In addition to Classroom Magic products, Canva for Education is launching the new Lesson Suite, which includes a library of lesson plans and presentations designed by fellow Canva for Education teachers, the Canva team, and outside organizations, including NASA and the New York Times.
Canva lesson plans are designed as digital-first presentations and come paired with additional activity sheets across K-8 subjects, including math, science, art, English language arts, and design, as well as practical and real-world skills lessons. They’re customizable using an educator’s own content or Classroom Magic AI tools, but also printable for classroom use, Daff explained.
The library also includes avenues to teach and train Canva for Education users in the use of AI, including lesson plans for students on AI’s rise in popularity and ethical questions.
Curriculum-based lectures, and AI tools generating those plans, are pulled from the AI’s data sources but designed according to regional standards, Daff told Mashable, such as Common Core educational standards in the United States.
Educators can also use the Lesson Plan Builder to design their own custom presentations, or search for curriculum resources by grade, subject, and topic.
AI safety measures
To address growing concerns about AI misuse, Canva also announced Canva Shield, a combination of several AI trust and safety measures to facilitate school use. Canva Shield includes advanced controls and permissions for school administrators, automatic review of input prompts to prevent inappropriate material, blocked terms and vocabulary to ensure AI content is safe for school, and the ability to report and block potentially unwanted terms or content.
Classroom Magic tools are automatically available to all teachers, but student accounts will be opted out of use by default. Instead, district administrators will have the option of enabling Classroom Magic products for students at their discretion.
Canva has also committed to not using any education data to train AI models.
Educators interested in learning more can visit the Canva for Education site.
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