Instructure launches Canvas for the basic back-to-school user experience


SALT LAKE CITYJune 28, 2021 – Today, at ISTE Live 2021, Instructure launched the Canvas for Elementary user experience, a combination of features that make Canvas more user-friendly for elementary school students. The new features were developed using feedback gathered during the pandemic and carefully designed to more closely mimic an elementary school classroom, supporting in-person and hybrid learning environments. Updates include a new dashboard, subject sheets, and a timeline to orient the student when logging in and help them focus on what needs to be accomplished.

“The most important factor in any educational setting is high quality instruction,” said Trenton Goble, vice president of K-12 strategy at Instructure. “As blended learning will continue to impact schools, our job is to develop resources that allow this incredible teaching and engagement to shine through in a variety of environments. We know that young learners have different needs and priorities, and this new set of features makes it even easier for elementary school students to use Canvas.

Last week, Instructure released new research that explores the impact of the pandemic on K-12 education. The report found that hybrid teaching and learning will continue. 81% of educators say technology will become increasingly important in teaching and learning, and 67% believe distance learning will impact classroom practices in the future. At the same time, fostering and sustaining student engagement is critical, with 92% of teachers ranking it as the number one priority.

“Canvas for Elementary will provide our students and teachers with a streamlined interface that will allow students to go where they need to be fast, focus on learning and reduce the risk of getting lost along the way,” said Adam Wiseman, Digital Learning and Innovation Coordinator for McDowell High School in Marion, NC. “Plus, it helps the teacher streamline the learning experience for students, while also giving the ‘Teaching access to all of Canvas’s features and customization they are used to. Following the success of Canvas Elementary, our future goal is to grow Canvas district-wide. “

Canvas for Elementary is now available to all Canvas users at no additional cost, and includes:

Main room dashboard

The new visual dashboard creates a digital classroom that more closely reflects the physical classroom experience for elementary school students, giving them confidence to use Canvas LMS online tools.

Improved accessibility and visual navigation

Updated fonts make letters and numbers more distinguishable, while still meeting accessibility guidelines. All tabs include an icon that makes it easier for young readers to navigate with visual cues. Easy-to-access tabs provide time overviews and grades for all subjects.

Personalization and welcome features

To make learning more personal for the student, the new dashboard in the main room will greet the student with their name when they log on. For further personalization, teachers can add text and video ads to help orient their students to the priorities of the day or week.

Topic Cards

The Homeroom dashboard is organized by subjects (instead of lessons) to reflect the typical experience of an elementary classroom where students are in a classroom, with a teacher, learning multiple subjects each day. Topic cards can easily be renamed and can contain valuable information for students, such as homework assignments, missing homework, and topic-specific announcement teasers.


Similar to an agenda that students would see on a whiteboard each day, the student schedule is a snapshot of their daily schedule. For distance learning and video calling, there will be an easy link to class lectures so students can quickly know when and where to attend.

Comment Library

The new Comments Library saves teachers time by allowing them to choose from comments common to student submissions, so students know how they have done and how they can improve.

Student annotations

Teachers can upload a file as an annotation assignment for students, which allows students to annotate the assignment in the LMS using Canvas.


Instructure is an educational technology company dedicated to improving student success, amplifying the power of teaching, and inspiring everyone to learn together. Today, the Instructure learning platform supports more than 30 million educators and learners around the world. Learn more at

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