My Favorite Design Tools for #Physed

One of my favorite things as a physical educator is having the opportunity to design activities and visual aids for my students use during class. I love to be inventive, and it gives me a sense of ownership and the chance to think deeply about why I am creating the activity or visual aid.  During this blog I will discuss three tools that I often use for design purposes and how they can all work together to create the final product.

Slice 1Sketch is a graphic design application made specifically for Apple. It retails for $100; however, as an educator you can purchase the program for $50. This program has really helped me become a more 2creative designer. I imagine that if you are a professional graphic designer you would use Adobe Illustrator, which is more complex and fairly expensive. For me, a novice, Sketch is significantly easier to use. I use it to design mostly flat icons. The Mario Brothers Charecters to the right are an example of some flat icons I have created using Sketch. I have also begun creating a variety of digital badges for student’s to earn upon completion of physical activity outside of school (below).

I take a great deal of pride in designing my own resources. I find that when I take the time to create my own resources, new ideas and activities pop up into my head throughout the creative process.  If you are interested in flat icons but do not want to design them yourself, take a look at Iconfinder.  Also feel free to use any icons I have created (found here) in your designs.

Slice 1Alright, on to the free stuff. If you haven’t heard of Canva it may just change your life. Canva is anAR Game Board-5 amazing and free cloud-based graphic design program. It is important to note that not everything is free on Canva but it is very easy to design without spending a dime. To use Canva you will need to sign up for a free account. In Canva, you are able to design essentially anything you would like. There are various templates that will allow you to create items such as infographics, posters and presentations. If you don’t find a template you like, you can also create your own. Once you pick a template you can then choose from the variety layouts, icons, charts and pictures to add to your project.  A great thing about Canva is that you don’t have to be anything close to an expert to use it. If you are a person who can search, drag and drop you can make some amazing designs. Once you sign up for an account you’ll be amazed at how expansive the design library is . It will not only help set up your design but also inspire you to come up with different and new ideas. I was able to create my AR Game Board by using Canva.

Slice 1Unsplash is a website designed to share free high resolution photos. Every 10 days, 10 new photographs are uploaded to the website. The point of Unsplash is for visitors to be able to use the photos however they please. For me, this seems to be one of the best places to acquire high resolution modern photos for free. There are no obligations to Unsplash once you download a photo.

Slice 1

For the various projects I design for my students and social media, I like to combine all 3 of these resources to create engaging visuals. Recently, I made a poster to promote my running club at school. At the end of each month, I put on a culminating running event . In November, students will participate in Turkey Trot. Here’s what I did:

Step 1) First, I created a flat icon in Sketch. I often draw inspiration from other flat icons I see on Iconfinder or Google.Slice 1Step 2) I searched Unsplash for a high resolution picture that fit the theme of my design.


Step 3) I imported the high resolution photo and flat icon into the Canva design studio, which as mentioned before is really easy to use. I inserted text, cropped the photo and added the finishing touches to the design. Once it was complete, I downloaded the final product to my computer. Canva allows different download options which will give you the version you want for print or for digital use.

The Jewell Turkey Trot-2

I hope this quick blog was able to inspire you to look at a few new and different ways to create engaging visuals for your student. Please comment with any questions you may have. I would also love to hear what tools you use to design with.

9 Comments on “My Favorite Design Tools for #Physed

  1. Thanks! One of the best blogs I have read lately for sharing ideas. I can’t wait to try them out. Thank you for sharing your resources too!

  2. Great post Collin, some really useful information here. I completely agree with you that when we take the time to design our own resources it helps to take our thinking to new levels. For me blogging itself has always served this purpose as well.

    Thanks for sharing your ideas here in this post. Hope things are going well. Just saw that #Physed Summit 4.0 will be in February. Looking forward to it. Good luck to you and your team at Physedagogy.

    • Thanks Andy! Blogging definitely serves a great purpose for the author. I always feel I’m getting so much out of taking the time to write and organizing my thoughts. PHYSEDsummit 4.0 will be another great experience. I hope your doing well. I know that those attending your workshops are greatly benefiting from your expertise. Take care!

  3. Pingback: The PE Playbook – October 2015 Edition | drowningintheshallow

  4. Thank you so much for the quickie tutorial on how you use Canva and Splash. I’m sharing with my colleagues… just found your blog and love it!

  5. Great blog post collin. I really enjoyed nodding away at some of your comments but at the same time taking in some new and fresh ideas. Like you I love the ownership of design and would rather recreate something to use in my class than print something that someone else has made.

    I will have a good look at the ebook on badges as well that looks like a great read.

    Thanks for sharing and I loved the backgroud on your front cover of that ebook

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