Instructure Launches Canvas for Elementary User Experience for Back to School

New features developed based on teacher and student feedback during the pandemic make Canvas easier for young learners to use

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 students. The new features were developed using feedback collected during the pandemic and thoughtfully designed to more closely mimic an elementary school classroom, supporting both in-person and hybrid learning environments. Among the updates is a new dashboard, subject cards and schedule 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 teaching,” said Trenton Goble, VP of K-12 Strategy at Instructure. “Since hybrid learning will continue to impact schools, our job is to develop resources that enable that amazing teaching and engagement to shine through in a variety of environments. We know that younger learners have different needs and priorities, and this new bundle of features makes it even easier for elementary age students to use Canvas.”

Last week Instructure released new research that explores how the pandemic has impacted K-12 education. The report found that hybrid teaching and learning will continue. 81% of educators say that technology will become increasingly important in teaching and learning moving forward, and 67% believe remote learning will impact classroom practices in the future. At the same time fostering and maintaining 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 simplified interface that allows students to get where they need to be quickly, focus on the learning, and lessen the possibility of getting lost along the way,” said Adam Wiseman, Digital Learning and Innovation Coordinator for McDowell High School in Marion, North Carolina. “Additionally, it aids the teacher in streamlining the learning experience for students, while still giving the teacher access to all the Canvas features and customization they are used to. As a result of the success of Canvas for Elementary, our future goal is to push Canvas district-wide.“

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

Homeroom Dashboard

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

Improved Accessibility & Visual Navigation 

Updated fonts make letters and numbers more distinguishable, while 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 overviews of schedules and grades for all subjects. 

Personalization & Welcome Features

To make learning more personal for the student, the new homeroom dashboard will welcome the student with their name when they log in. For further personalization, teachers are able to add text and video announcements to help orient their students to priorities for the day or week. 

Subject Cards

The Homeroom Dashboard is organized in subjects (instead of courses) to reflect the typical elementary classroom experience where students are in one class, with one teacher, learning multiple subjects each day. Subject cards can easily be renamed and may include valuable information for students, like which assignments are due, any missing assignments, and announcement teasers specific to the subject.


Similar to an agenda students would see every day on a whiteboard, the student schedule is a student overview of their schedule by day. For remote learning and video calls, there will be an easy link to class conferences so students can quickly know where and when to attend. 

Comment Library

The new Comment Library saves teachers time by allowing them to choose from common feedback to submitted student work, so students know how they did and how they can improve.

Student Annotations 

Teachers can upload a file as a student annotation assignment giving students the ability to annotate the assignment within the LMS using Canvas.


Instructure is an education technology company dedicated to elevating 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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