Have you seen the new Zoom backgrounds in Canva? These customizable templates can be a great way to add some visual prompts in a remote learning environment, but they can also be a simple way to inject some fun into an online classroom. In this post I will show you where to get them, how to add them to Zoom, and an easy way to combine multiple backgrounds so that you can quickly change between them when you need to. Here’s what you need to know!
Canva’s Zoom Background Templates
If you have used Canva before, you will know that they have templates for all kinds of useful things, and they have been consistently adding templates to meet the needs of any given trend. Today, Zoom is everywhere, so it makes sense to offer Zoom background templates for virtual backgrounds. You can see a selection of some of the more educational offerings in the gallery below.
As with all Canva templates, the Zoom backgrounds are completely customizable, so don’t worry if they are not exactly what you are looking for. Just click, Use Template, and it will immediately open into the Canva editor where you can add, edit or subtract text, and change the colors and icons to match your mood.
How to Add a Virtual Background in Zoom
When you find the background that you want, and you have customized it to meet your needs, download it as a JPG or a PNG. Next, all you have to do is open your Zoom desktop client, click on the Settings icon, and then add your virtual background to your existing library. You can see all the steps in the video below, as well as some helpful tips to get the best results. Remember, green screens are optional if your computer is powerful enough to do virtual backgrounds without one!
Uses for Virtual Backgrounds
If you are involved in any kind of online instruction, virtual backgrounds can have many great uses, but perhaps their biggest advantage is that you can use them without sharing your screen. Typically, instructors share their screen to show a slide deck during a Zoom call. However, without the addition of a second monitor, that usually means you lose sight of the students in your class.With virtual backgrounds, you can add some of the information that may normally be on a slide deck. They are not going to replace your PowerPoint or Google Slides presentation, but they may help you stay on screen longer before you inevitably do switch to a slide deck. Here are some example uses for virtual background slides:
- Welcome greetings and messages at the start of a lesson
- Norms for your Zoom call
- Lesson objectives
- An outline of your content for this lesson
- School branding (colors and/or logo)
- Relevant images to reinforce your content
- A list of what to do next
- Expectations for an upcoming breakout room
- Reminders of upcoming assignments
- Have a theme day and invite the whole class to choose a background based on a theme of your choice.
Try Canva’s Virtual Backgrounds for Zoom
You can find virtual backgrounds for Zoom simply by searching for them in the search field at Canva.com. Alternatively, you can see the full collection here. Templates like these are not going to turn your Zoom calls into the most engaging experience your students have ever had, but they can help break some of the monotony that comes with Zoom fatigue and add some visual interest. If you have ideas on how to use virtual backgrounds with your students, leave a comment below.
Special thanks to Lynn Kleinmeyer for showing me Canva’s Zoom background templates!