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21st Century Digital Storytelling


Smilebox is a free software download that lets you upload photographs, music and video clips to create multimedia projects. Design types include scrapbooks, slideshows, Ecards, photo albums, postcards, recipes and invitations. Finished projects can be emailed, sent to a blog, burned to a DVD or printed.

A premium subscription is also available and grants access to additional designs and music selections, along with other benefits.

The application is designed primarily for personal use, but has many possibilities for school projects, especially in the form of digital storytelling.

Full-time teachers can apply for a free annual subscription to the premium service (a $39.99 value). Members of the Teacher’s Toolbox program have access to hundreds of additional designs and music options, along with a newsletter offering ideas for the classroom. Click here to apply.

21st Century Skills

Students use many 21st century skills creating a multimedia presentation for digital storytelling.

Students become creative and innovative as they work to combine text, images, movement, and music into something that did not previously exist.

As students brainstorm design and layout choices, critical thinking enables them to make the best choices for their projects.

Effective communication is necessary as students write rough drafts of scripts and then edit and revise drafts to refine their writing.

Information literacy skills come in play throughout the process as they focus on the task, select resources, access and record information, and organize facts, graphics and music options to create a final product.

In the Classroom

This web site is a good application for students to use for digital storytelling.

The photo album design templates are a good way to share pictures and information about class projects and field trips with parents.

One of the designs looks like a newspaper and can be used for a weekly classroom paper.

Instead of writing a paragraph about a state/city/country, students can use one of the postcard design templates to include text and graphics about a location they researched.

"The Twin Cities"

An elementary social studies project about local communities

Click to play this Smilebox collage
Create your own collage - Powered by Smilebox
Another free picture collage by Smilebox

"Mystery Genre"

Students collaborated with team members to create a collage about a favorite literary genre that included characteristics of the genre, related vocabulary, early authors of the genre, and favorite books they had read. Collages were posted on their class wiki. When the team presented their genre project to the class, they took turns sharing what they had read and learned by clicking on the appropriate pictures in the collage.

Click to play this Smilebox collage
Create your own collage - Powered by Smilebox
Another collage by Smilebox


Here is a basic video to get you started -"Take a Tour"

Safety Concerns

Remind students not to identify themselves with their full first and last names when posting their work online.

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