Productive Technology programs

The tool I have this week is Canva (2017) which is an online software program that allows users to design visuals like that of posters, flyers, presentations, Facebook banners, web banners, ads, and more. Canva is a free tool where users can access tutorials, pictures, and backgrounds to create products. Canva also contains photos and templates that users can pay for, but most products are free. As a program, Canva is easy to use allowing for those who may not be very creative.

Full disclosure: have used Canva a handful of times, but never invested time to investigate what the program has to offer. I have used Canva to create banners for newsletters so as to add a photo to make the newsletter engaging. As I have learned more about the program, I am fascinated by the types of visuals that can be created from one program. The graphics are clean and professional looking. Within the healthcare arena, Canva is a practical tool to use to create nice business appropriate products that can be geared towards multiple audiences.

The downsides to using Canva were challenging to identify only because the software is well packaged. The two downsides I identified. The first is that the free templates allow for multiple users to use them. Users that access the free templates could very well see the same template used by others making the design less unique. The other downside is that Canva only offers online tutorials. Some individuals may need more engagement than clicking through online tutorials. When I visited a couple courses, users are to click through and interact with the program. For those who may be auditory learners, they miss out on listening to someone walk through the tutorials.

After learning more about Canva, I was curious to see what other tools exist for those within the healthcare environment. In my work, I provide training and technical assistance so I lead phone calls, webinars, and in-person meetings. One challenge I encounter is that I try to make webinars engaging but it is difficult at times. The difficulty typically comes with the topic and how much information must be addressed. Poll Everywhere is a free resource that allows for participants to answer questions in real-time using their cell phones. Typically, most staff I am training, have their cell phones with them or they are using their cell phones while I am presenting. I think using Poll Everywhere would be a great way to capitalize on the fact that participants have their phones on them.

Speaking of ways to use phones, I randomly checked out Kahoot which is an online game-based program that allows for learning to be done while making it fun. In Kahoot, questions are entered and once a game is created, participants will get a code to use to log in and answer the questions. I struggle with checking comprehension and making sure that what I am sharing is read by staff. I think Kahoot will help me do my job better.


18 thoughts on “Productive Technology programs

  1. Nice review. In some ways, it seems that the web world is expecting everyone to become their own graphics designer and publisher…which has good and bad aspects. Leaders in the past hired others to do this for them … now should they?


    • Dr. Watwood,
      I think in response to your question it depends upon the organization and their needs. For example, at my nonprofit, there are some projects that are handled internally if they are not overly complicated. Other projects that require more attention to detail and various steps are contracted out to an organization.
      In addition to the organization and their needs, funding is also a very important factor in determining if the graphic work should be handled internally or externally.


  2. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on Canva! It looks like a great tool for those of use who lack both graphic design prowess and the resources to hire/contract (at least on a routine or regular basis) with those who do. I am already anticipating exploring it this weekend in the hopes of designing some infographics to include with presentation materials I’ll deliver later next week. I lead a nonprofit–also in the healthcare arena–and I have long desired to do a better job of communicating important information to stakeholders in creative ways that facilitate engagement. To this end, I am encouraged by this initial and brief encounter with Canva!

    I appreciate the downside you identified, specifically that the tool’s popularity could translate to overuse of templates, therefore limiting the uniqueness of one’s messaging. While I don’t disagree, this may also push us to rely less on a captivating (and perhaps unique) design–or the window dressing of sorts–and spend greater time refining the actual content, making sure that the real meat of our message (and not the presentation alone) are what separates us from others. There could be some inherent good in that, I think.

    Now to actually execute it…



  3. My first thought was how is it different from Microsoft’s Publisher – and then I immediately saw ‘free’ – that always grabs my attention. Good point about the training – so many of us (and certainly every current student K-college) is fully accustomed to watching videos to learn. Side note, our last intern spent the month before she left making vlogs to guide the incoming intern. Everyone has always used the OG in the binder and added or removed as things changed. A recent graduate she informed us that no one learns only from a binder anymore. Both visual, personal AND binder instructions are needed. The Canva site looked enticing and. Based on your coverage supported by the review by Mr. 3HUNDRD at I will plan to play with the free version a bit for a couple upcoming projects. Although premium is only $12.95 a mo. based on some comments on I might be less inclined to purchase the paid version as there were several key complaints about being wrongly charged and having very poor customer service. Maybe they invested all their money in the design!

    Hope you’ll share how you integrate Poll Everywhere. Does seem like some good possibilities. Thanks-Tricia


    • Tricia,
      I will be more than happy to share how my use of Poll Everywhere goes. I keep thinking of the possibilities in the near future. Recently, I had a conversation with my colleague about Poll Everywhere and Kahoot. I think she would have been very skeptical by my crazy idea and it turns out, she has been thinking of trying to integrate technology more into the work we do with our health centers. The biggest challenge is trying to check for comprehension since pertinent information is shared as it becomes available. So, if you couldn’t tell, I am very excited and will let you know how things go.


  4. Good afternoon. Thank you for sharing your view of three different technologies currently available to us. Which of the three do you feel can have the biggest impact for leaders and why? I am always looking for new tools to utilize and in higher education Poll Everywhere can be a game changer. I attended a conference, and the presenter showed us how effective it could be in the classroom, but I did not translate the tool to the office setting. I would be interested to know if you know of others that have tried to use it in that manner? I came across this on the Poll Everywhere website ( explaining the use of the app with Microsoft Office 365. My new employer is a Microsoft Office 365 so with my new realization of the connection Office 365 and Yammer; I may be building a toolbox quicker than expected!



    • I actually spend a lot of time helping customers adopt O365, and my head sometimes spins with the new applications/tools that suddenly become part of the suite. One of them is Sway. Your company would have to let you “see” that app, so it might not be a tile on your O365 screen (you can get it free at as well). It lets you create easy presentations that can leverage lots of different media. But, what I think is cool about it, is that the link to the presentation is for any device, so that if you access with a smartphone versus desktop, the presentation will format for that device. Good luck with your portfolio of tools!


    • Hi Jason,
      I have seen Poll Everywhere used during a live presentation at a conference. When I envision integrating Poll Everywhere, this is how I think I will use it. When I lead conferences, most of the participants have their phones in their hands to where sometimes I feel I must creatively get them to disengage from their phones. One way I have done this is by creating interactive sessions where participants will interact with one another. The most unusual idea I employed was conducting a speed-dating like activity that got all participants to meet one another while learning one idea from each other of work they can do in the coming months. I provided cards that laid out what information they needed to collect from each other and by the end of the session, all participants had a filled card with a variety of ideas they could take back to their job.
      Anyway, going back to Poll Everywhere, you know your organization/department well. I encourage you to think outside the box a little. If there’s anything I can help with, please let me know.


      • Thank you, Keshia. I enjoyed hearing about the use of the tool within your own experiences. The context makes a great deal of sense. As I get to know my team better, I think your suggestion of thinking outside of the box will continue to become more important. I have a veteran staff, which has its positives and negatives. Getting people to think differently and get out of their comfort zones is a challenge. If I am able to get out of my comfort zone and utilize some of the tools that have been presented and discussed this week, it may encourage others to join me in trying new things. Thank you and have a good evening.


        Liked by 1 person

  5. Thanks for the introduction to Canva. When I use graphics within my company, there is a process for approval – and it is all about not violating copyrights and licensing. Do you know if all the Canva graphics are freely useable? Can you load your own graphics into it? Your note about auditory learning made me think of something I just heard from a government customer, when talking about video training that one of my colleagues had produced. The immediate question was whether it was 508 compliant – a reference to that law that protects accessibility for those with handicaps. Although not directly related to the Canva tool, this is one of those constraints that, depending on who you are doing the work for, becomes relevant for lots of new technology tools.
    At our onsite in Omaha, someone used a similar (or maybe it was the same) polling technology. I thought that it was pretty cool that we were immediately surveyed. I have come to appreciate tools like Survey Monkey and Microsoft Forms to knock out quick surveys. Microsoft Forms will likely be the tool I use for my dissertation work.


    • Shawn,
      I haven’t heard of Microsoft forms before-I will have to check this out. Thank you for sharing how you plan to use this tool.
      Secondly, in answering your questions, the graphics within Canva indicate whether or not it is free (typically in the bottom right-hand side).
      Thank you,


  6. Good morning and thank you for your review of Canva. As I read through it, the term “small business” kept popping up in my head. Canva seems like a great tool for a small business that might not employ its own graphic design or marketing department, but is looking for ways to grab the attention of its employees or consumers.

    I think what Jason and Shawn described about the integration of these tools together is a bit of a catch 22. Ideally, the developers of these tools and applications would work together to integrate their products and allow both to thrive. I think what is quite common, however, is that one company will buy another once some useful application is found, sometimes discontinuing use of that tool or application as soon as the purchase is made. There are positives and negatives to that, of course, but I wonder what it does to the development of new and innovative products moving forward.

    -The Ayes Have It


  7. Pingback: Eight Days a Week. – Cat on the Keyboard

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