Software for creating (visual) teaching material

I thought I would start a discussion about the state of software for creating teaching material. I have been very interested lately in visual learning and design in order to make my teaching material more “chewable” for everyone. My topic is learning Swedes the danish language, and therefore, there is a lot of dry comparative grammar that they need to learn. So I have been looking into different kinds of apps for creating teaching material, and this is what I have found:

  • Explain everything for whiteboards and presentations
  • Canva for presentations and handouts/teaching material and posters
  • Goodnotes/Notability/Nebo - You all know these. Me, I prefer to use Nebo for the infinite canvas and the text recognition (which I know Goodnotes also has through Nebo’s MyScript)
  • - I have been thinking a lot about using Craft for easily creating lesson pages and handouts/teaching material. It is very easy to create aesthetically nice material
  • Curio - I tried using Curio, but can’t really get it to look aesthetically beautiful and easy-chewable for my students, unfortunately.
  • Genially - My latest find, and one I am very interested in using, since it seems so easy to create nice looking material

So do you have any experiences with this, and maybe use some software that are not listed here? Please share!


Watched a presentation by @MacSparky yesterday and he use Procreate to creat animations of his presentation that ws quite interesting. I’d actually like a quick presentation on how to do that myself.

Thanks for sharing these—I’m also a language teacher. However, my focus is primarily on academic reading/writing, so students are mostly engaging with texts rather than visual materials.

For visual content, I typically rely on Keynote (and once upon a time Deckset), but I’m intrigued by some of these tools, like Explain everything, Canva, and Genially. What makes these different from one another exactly? Or, to put it another way, do these tools have particular strengths you could elucidate? One tool that is visual that I use a lot is MindNode for facilitating brainstorming and then organizing of written texts produced by students.

I also saw the webinar @OogieM mentioned and found Procreate to look like a useful tool in this category.

I use different tools for different purposes, as a Physics teacher.

Firstly, I use slides from wherever as my main teaching aid. It’s currently a mess of Google Slides, PowerPoint and KeyNote. I export the slides to pdf, then move to…

My favourite resources are my Lesson Videos, which are scripted. I record myself using Explain Everything as the digital whiteboard, using the slides or blank pages to write on. The writing is not as nice as GoodNotes etc, but the ability to record, edit, re-record etc is fantastic. I then export to do final editing in Final Cut Pro.

For really quick videos, such as how to answer a question, I either use Explain Everything, GoodNotes, or my school PC with Loom. Whatever is to hand really.

I used Craft to put together a beautiful learning resource for Particle Physics, and students loved it, but I moved away because I didn’t want to be tied to a subscription. The ability to publish to a lovely website was great, though.

I’m now committing myself to OneNote for the next academic year since I can create nice looking landing pages, insert pdfs, and distribute work for marking. I’m not convinced the Mac experience is up to the job, though online might be fine.

I have used OneNote extensively, but it is frustrating that the Mac client is still a second class citizen. Even on Windows they still have a mix (mess?) of functionality between the Windows and Office365 versions. I’m not entirely sure Microsoft know what to do with it.

Shame - it’s a very capable product which got me through two years of college, and great if you already have an Office subscription.

I often use Keynote, but I though it’d be fun to mix this one up. I’ve done the technique a few times over the years. I just drew each graphic and then saved the Procreate animation to my Mac. (Airdrop to the rescue) then I dropped them into Keynote with a little processing.

I’m planning a labs video showing the enter process. Stay tuned.


I also teach academic reading/writing and rhetorics, and I completely agree with you that we are engaging with text rather than visual materials. So often when we talk about visual learning, we actually talk about STEM. But this has become an interest for me lately, that I really wan’t to examine whether or not it is possible to create visual learning material (that are at least aesthetically pleasing to look at) for students that focuses on text/grammar/reading/writing/speaking. We could take this discussion somewhere else.

To answer your question, what Explain everything does, is easily creating some interactive presentations or handouts or even recordings. Canva and Genially seems to be an easy way to create visual pleasing learning material easily. And this is just what I wan’t to do - instead of using the template that my university offers for the teachers powerpoints/keynotes, I would like to deliver the boring tables of noun inflections in some more aesthetically pleasing way. I have to say that right now I am on paternal leave, so I haven’t had a chance yet to use any of these products in my teaching, but it is something I’m looking into, and might wan’t to do some research on eventually.

I will look into Procreate - I also saw the presentation and thought it looked very pleasing!