App-Smashing and Embedding EdTech Tools into Canvas to Amplify Student Learning

 In my capacity as an Instructional and Technology Leader and Coach, we have been gearing up towards working with several of our teams to further build capacity in using Canvas. Canvas is a learning management system, which helps teachers and students create content to support learning and to demonstrate learning, communicate, provide feedback, and interact within any classroom setting. Beyond just using Canvas’ features, we can do many things with Canvas along with integrating various other EdTech tools to amplify learning.

For this post, we will be discussing how we can embed and app-smash various tools within Canvas to provide multi-modal and engaging opportunities for students to learn. By integrating, we mean embedding and app-smashing. Embedding means taking the code of the website where that interface is located and then placing it into another web interface. In this case, we will be taking one website and embedding it, and smashing it into a Canvas page or assignment. Ultimately, through embedding and app-smashing these tools by integrating them into Canvas, it centralizes and consolidates the tools accessible to students and provides multi-modal (i.e., listening, speaking, collaborating, and creating) learning opportunities for students to build content and skills you are teaching them. 

Get ready to see examples of how Google Docs/Slides, Flipgrid, and Canva (among others) can be integrated into Canvas in an App-Smash. An App-Smash involves two tools being synthesized together in a sequence for students to access and utilize simultaneously. What you will notice there are two patterns to note: Embedding Google Apps Using the Google Embed Option and Other Applications Using Embed Code. Let’s first talk about how to do this before discussing the instructional applications. 

Embedding Google Docs and Slides

The first pattern includes embedding from Google Workspace onto a Canvas page. You will notice that we must share the document or slideshow to everyone with a link can view before embedding it into Canvas using the Google Drive embed icon. 

Embedding Outside Tools Using Embed Codes

The second pattern you will notice is that for Flipgrid, Canva, and Edpuzzle (along with several other applications), you will have to take the “embed code” when you share content you have created on those applications, which then can be pasted into Canvas.

LTI Google Docs and Slides

As illustrated above, we must share our Google Docs and Slides to anyone with a link before they can be embedded directly into Canvas. There are many instructional implications with the ability to embed Google Docs and Slides. Both can be utilized as mechanisms to share all of the courses content, weekly slideshows, and examples of student work. They can also be interactive with audio, video, and hyperlinks to content you would like students to access within and outside of Canvas. 

(The Art of Education, 2022)

Some instruction applications include frontloading information for asynchronous instruction, embedding important information for students, 

Note: Remember, for the LTI integration for assignments, ensuring they are shared in this manner is also important because it will only recognize those types of documents with those shared capabilities. 

Flipgrid

Flipgrid is a tool where students can record their voices and video, which can then be customized and edited with many student-friendly customization options. Additionally, students and teachers can reply, assess, and provide feedback on each recording students produce.  With the Canvas embed opportunity open to us, we can create our own Flipgrid topic on Flipgrid and then directly place it onto Canvas so students can record it on that page where the assignment has been placed. With this embed in place, it consolidates where Flipgrid responses can be housed and reviewed by students and teachers alike.

Canva

Canva allows us to create many types of graphics, videos, and templates that can be embedded into our Canvas courses. They can be informational and interactive. Short GIFs, infographics, videos, and graphics can be embedded directly. 

Note: Be sure to share to anyone with “anyone with the link” before embedding the code or will not appear for your students. 

Other Tools That Can Be Embed Into Canvas

Other tools such as Pear Deck, Nearpod, Padlet, Edpuzzle,  and more can use the same methodology to embed them directly into your Canvas pages for your students. Additionally, if the embeds do not work, you can hyperlink directly to the application for students to access from Canvas through a link or a button. 

Published by Matthew Rhoads, Ed.D.

Innovator, EdTech Trainer and Leader, University Lecturer & Teacher Candidate Supervisor, Consultant, Author, and Podcaster

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