I read about Smore on AASL’s page for the Best Websites for Teaching and Learning 2013. Smore, according to AASL, is a media sharing tool that supports two standards from the Standards for the 21st-Century Learner:
- 3.1.4 Use technology and other information tools to organize and display knowledge and understanding in ways that others can view, use and assess.
- 3.3.4 Create products that apply to authentic, real-world context
In addition to those, I believe it could easily support the following standards as well:
- 4.1.8 Use creative and artistic formats to express personal learning.
- 4.3.1 Participate in the social exchange of ideas, both electronically and in person.
- 2.1.2 Organize knowledge so that it is useful.
- 2.1.4 Use technology and other information tools to analyze and organize information.
- 4.1.7 Use social networks and information tools to gather and share information.
- 1.3.4 Contribute to the exchange of ideas within a learning community
One of the reasons I chose this tool is that it allows users to beautiful, attention-grabbing products with little effort. There are hundreds of virtual flyers one can use for inspiration, but Smore’s many templates, styles, pre-coordinated colors, and other design features mean even those who might not be the most artistic or computer-literate can create a professional-looking flyer within minutes. (The website suggests this tool for 6th to 12th graders, but it is so simple my second grader was able to create her own flyer without much direction.) In addition to text and pictures, one can add links, audio, video, and other components to the flyer. The finished product can be shared via social media or email (to an individual or to a distribution list); viewers can post comments according to flyer settings.
I would recommend this tech tool for use in classrooms and school library media centers – it’s a fun way to communicate information as well as showcase student learning. Due to concerns for privacy and appropriateness of ads/featured flyers, I would recommend an upgraded educator account ($59/year). It offers unlimited flyers, education-themed and custom backgrounds, as well as enhanced privacy, no ads, 5,000 monthly emails (free version has a monthly allowance of 200), and analytics for the flyers.
Possible uses in classrooms/school library media centers:
- Classroom newsletters: teachers can create these as way of communicating with parents/guardians (newsletters can be sent via email)
- Book posters – these can be created by a librarian, teacher, or student to promote a favorite book and support reading/literacy; finished product can include a booktalk, booktrailer, book reviews (text or video), images (book jacket, perhaps), links to author interviews, etc.
- Student research projects – rather than traditional research posters, students can make virtual ones to present their findings and reflect on their learning
- History, geography, science posters; “mock business” posters for math/economic classes
- Virtual “show and tell” – students can create a virtual “show and tell” about their activities/hobbies, heritage, vacations, etc. and share with their classmates
- Event announcements: can be created by a librarian, teacher, school staff, or student to announcement upcoming events
- Flyers for clubs, extracurricular activities, etc.
This is a sample product that I created, as if I were a 4th grade student, about the state of Tennessee: https://smore.com/usqf
This is a flyer my 2nd grade daughter created, with minimal direction and help from me, about pumpkins, which she and her classmates are learning about right now: https://smore.com/seae
 I contacted a Smore customer representative concerning the possibility of students being exposed to age- or content-inappropriate flyers while using the site. I assume that flyers featured on the free version are “ads” and are therefore absent on an upgraded educator account, but I have yet to hear back from the Smore team to confirm this.