This is another post for my professional development. Today, I am reviewing Smore.com. I rather like Smore.com because it is a quick way for me to create virtual handouts for my presentations. When a handout is requested, I post a draft. Then I continue to edit it if needed. The link does not change.
I think Smore.com is a great way to quickly share information. For example, it is easy to email a poster (or newsletter) to a group of people. A link can be embedded on a website or the poster can embedded. If you are teaching online, Smore.com provides an alternative format for providing information.
Access: There are free and paid versions of Smore.com. It is accessible for Windows and Mac users. It works with various tablet browsers. The time that a Smore poster takes to load depends on how much information is embedded in it. Text loads quickly. Videos and extensive graphics may take longer.
Usability: An account is needed to create a poster. However, once the account is created, it is easy to make a poster. Software does not need to be downloaded. In fact, I switched from another poster maker to this one because I can create posters quicker with Smore.com. The time needed to create a polished product is important to me. While the site is primarily self-explanatory, there is a help section built into the website. I have been able to view, edit, and publish posters with my tablet without downloading an App.
Privacy and Intellectual Property: If a poster is made with a paid account, it can be downloaded as an image or a PDF. Posters can be made public or private. If they are private, one must share the link for them to be viewed. If an educator uses the classroom setting, student posters are private and only shared with the instructor. Because the classroom setting is primarily for K-12 students, this means that posters created with student accounts cannot be shared on social media.
I always add a copyright statement to the work that I want to retain the rights to. Information about intellectual property rights and terms of service are on this page: https://www.smore.com/93z8-terms-of-service. The agreement includes the following statements. “Our service is designed to give you as much control and ownership over what goes on your flyers as possible and encourage you to express yourself freely.” “By submitting Content to Fireplace for inclusion on your Website, you grant Fireplace a world-wide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive license to reproduce, modify, adapt and publish the Content solely for the purpose of displaying, distributing and promoting your flyer.”
Workload and Time Management: Smore posters can be embedded in a course management system website such as Blackboard. On the contrary, the tool itself exists outside of the course management system. I was not able to find evidence of a RSS feed option. Readers can decide to subscribe to updates.
Fun Factor: If one finds curating and sharing information fun, they are likely to enjoy using Smore. Individuals with advanced graphic design skills might prefer using an infographics tool instead. Smore allows subscribers to embed various elements such as videos, graphics, and text. Social media buttons and contact information can be shared as well.
Overall, I believe that Smore.com offers a great tool. I don’t have criticisms. The website does what it states it will do. This activity prompted me to think about ways to use Smore to increase collaboration in class. Although students should have separate accounts, collaboration can be achieved by having students to work together to decide about the elements that can be placed on a poster.
I think that students enjoy being able to access a poster created by the instructor that can be printed later. They can also share the information quickly with a link. Here is an example of a poster that I created for a presentation: https://www.smore.com/fhgg4 . Enjoy!