The Bottom Line
- Tools and menus are very much like desktop publishing software for adults
- Has basic word processing application (text editor) with formatting
- Can open multiple documents at once
- Customizable preferences based on age / skill of user or teacher preference
- Page border difficult to see without turning on the grid
- Limited text formatting
- No flipping or rotation of text or graphics
- Available in Windows and Mac OS 9 and X versions on G3 or Pentium 3 computers (G4 or Pentium 4 or better recommended).
- Designed specifically for students with customizable features based on age or needs of the student.
- Comes with word processing tool, clip art, templates.
- Has quick access preference settings for teachers. Preferences can be stored locally or on a network server.
- Can create slide shows and QuickTime movies.
- Clip art organized in folders.
- Free demo (no save) is available for download.
Guide Review - Canvastic v2
Canvastic v2 features the same type of menus and tools found in consumer and professional desktop publishing software. A child moving from Canvastic to Microsoft Publisher or even Adobe PageMaker will already be familiar with the use of text frames, color palettes, selecting objects, formating, grids, and basic drawing tools if they used Canvastic in school or at home.
The tools are simplified and stripped down but still provide serious page layout options including transparent text and graphics backgrounds, painting (bitmap) and drawing (vector) tools, layers, some text formatting, and a grid with "snap-to" options. Additionally, the preferences can be customized to suit the age and skills of the student.
I found most of the tools easy to figure out, resorting to the PDF documentation only to get clarification on layers and the drawing objects. Text formatting options are quite basic -- bold, italic, underline, color, font, and size -- but the program uses any fonts you have installed on your system. There is virtually unlimited "undo" for fixing mistakes or making changes.
Canvastic is an excellent desktop publishing tool to allow students to create class newsletters, reports, calendars, and presentations. It exposes K-8 students to real desktop publishing at a level they can grasp easily.