Pages

Monday, July 6, 2020

Three Alternatives to Smore

Over the weekend I answered an email from a reader who was looking for an alternative to using Smore to create online posters and newsletters to share with teachers and parents. Smore is great for some people, but it can get a little too pricey for some people. Here are a few alternatives to using Smore to create online posters and newsletters.

ConvertKit is the service that I use for my Practical Ed Tech Newsletter. ConvertKit offers some nice templates for formatting your emails. I don't use those templates because I prefer to send plain text email, but it's nice to know that I could use those templates. The real reason that I use Convert Kit is because I can easily create different segments within my mailing list to send personalized emails to different groups within my mailing list. That function could be useful to schools who want to send different personalized emails to parents based on the grade that their children are in. ConvertKit has a free plan that allows you to have up to 1,000 people on your mailing list, use all of the templates, and send as many emails as you like.

Canva doesn't offer a mailing list component, but it does offer lots of templates for making online posters and simple webpages to announce events. Once you've published your poster or page, you can email the link to it or post it on your LMS. Here's a video about how to use Canva to create and publish a multimedia poster.


Adobe Spark, like Canva, offers an easy way to design and publish simple webpages to use for announcements and updates to share with your school community. One of the things that I like about Adobe Spark is that you can share your designs directly into Google Classroom. Here's my short video on how to use Adobe Spark to create simple webpages.

How to Create Your Own Online Board Game

Those of you who have followed my blog for a while probably know that Flippity is one of my go-to recommendations for anyone looking to make games, flashcards, and timelines with Google Sheets. Recently, Flippity introduced a new template for making your own online board game through Google Sheets.

With Flippity's new board game template you can create a game that includes up to eight players, has up to three dice to roll, and interactive game squares. You game can also include videos, pictures, Google Drawings, and graphs. And your students can play your game without an email address or having to create any kind of online account. Take a look at my short video below to see how you can create and play your own online board game.


Key points from the video:

  • You can customize the player markers and use pictures instead of the default markers. 
  • You can include pictures in each game square. 
  • You can use up to three dice in your game. 
  • You can have each square on the board give a different direction or prompt. 
  • Your deck of cards can include videos, pictures, links, and graphs. 
Applications for Education
Flippity's new board game template could be great for developing a fun review activity for your students to play in your online or in-person classroom. If you were to have students use it remotely, I might have one student screenshare it via Google Meet or Zoom and then move the pieces for each player. Since you can link to just about anything in the game cards, I'd put links to digital flashcards where students have to answer a question correctly in order to advance on the game board.