If your students are anything like mine, then they will always salivate (figuratively, I hope) at the chance to make something, whether on poster board or a program like Photostory. In today’s classrooms, though, whipping out scissors and glue sticks can seem a little old-fashioned. Enter Smilebox, which offers slide-show and scrapbook-creation options, as well as the ability to make invitations, collages and greeting cards. Fair warning: on some of these pages, music will begin playing automatically, and it’s exactly the kind of digitized music you think it is.
I can certainly see students loving to play with this on their own time, but Smilebox has many applications in the classroom, too. Have you ever asked your students to be Mr. Rochester sending a valentine to Jane Eyre? Or to imagine an afternoon tea that Elizabeth Bennet might have attended with her sisters and the dreaded Miss Bingley? Check out this bridal shower scrapbook for Daisy Buchanan I made as an example.
The site offers the program for free download, which will then open a workspace where you will choose templates, personalize your choices, and access photos and videos from your hard drive. Unfortunately, the finished products are presented with ads and fewer effects if you are using the free version, but to go beyond emailing or posting it on the internet, you must pay, beginning with $2.99 for the individual creation and extending to $39.99 for a year.
Will Smilebox be an everyday tool in your class? Probably not, but it might jazz up an assignment you’ve been meaning to revamp, or protect your eyes from yet another PowerPoint project, and for that, we can all be grateful.