Product Review: Shmoop
reviewed by David Kapuler
Shmoop University Inc.
Price: Most of the site is free. The teacher resources are $7/year and the test
prep ranges from $12.95 to $23/year. Schools and districts get a volume rate.
Description: Shmoop is a site designed by educational experts in more than ten
subject areas, including Literature, Poetry, Shakespeare, Bestsellers, US
History, Civics, Economics, Biography, Music, and Pre-Algebra. Shmoop offers free learning guides as well in
depth analysis, questions, quotes and multimedia to help stimulate those
creative juices .
Shmoop offers premium paid services to teachers that includes, quizzes, essay
questions and standard based learning guides.
The unique humorous information provided on this site is what helps
bring back that love of teaching for teachers.
also features test prep courses for ACT, SAT, PSAT, and AP exams. Quality and Effectiveness
is designed by educators who just “get it.”
Many have Ph.D.'s and attended Master Programs at some of the top
universities in the world - Harvard, Stanford, etc. A number of them have taught at the high
school and college level. Their love of learning shines through their online
content in just about every sentence, and it is this passion that inspires
their users to achieve academic success. It’s no surprise that Shmoop is one of
two sites to be nominated for a Webby Award in 2009 & 2010.
parents, and teachers alike rave about how innovative and humorous Shmoop is,
and how it makes complex topics easy to understand. One parent/teacher puts it
best, “As a language arts teacher and homeschooling parent, I can tell you how
hard it is to find Internet activities that won't leave teenagers rolling their eyes. Shmoop has just the right blend
of wit, sarcasm and humor so teens actually "get it." I enjoy the
variety of books you review and the study questions make my job a lot easier.
Keep up the great work!" Marie-Claire Moreau, Ed.D, Jacksonville
Ease of Use
first glance Shmoop’s home page might look a little busy. However, after a few minutes it becomes clear how easy it is to navigate
around the site and gain access to all of its in-depth content. Video tutorials offer guidance on using
Shmoop and integrating it into the classroom.
Creative Use of Technology
really sets Shmoop apart from other similar sites is how innovative, fun, and
engaging it is. For example, users can
earn "Shmoints" -- currency used on Shmoop which may allow the user
to win prizes (ie, t-shirt).
ingenious feature to be found on any analysis/learning guide is the section
called, "Why Should I Care?"
This section helps explain the importance of the analysis and puts the
topic into easy to understand terms.
Shmoop speaks the students’ language and has a knack for pop culture and
connecting emotionally with teens.
Suitability for Use in a School Environment
offers a large variety of resources and multimedia content. Teachers can pick a topic and then find
assignments, quizzes, pop culture events and discussion and essay questions to
use in their lessons. It is very easy to
integrate Shmoop into the classroom and use as a study tool.
can not say enough great things about Shmoop or recommend it any higher. It is
an educator's dream and a product I wish was available when I was going to
school. It is very easy to use, simple
in its approach, yet highly innovative and humorous to keep the user engaged.
While this may
have been designed ideally for higher education, I see Shmoop being useful in a
middle school as well, because of the vital resources available.
three reasons why this product’s
overall features, functionality, and educational value make it a good value for
1. Mobility - Shmoop is the largest cross-platform educational
publisher, with more than 4,000 titles available across the Web, iPhone, iPad,
Android, Kindle, Nook, and Sony Reader. The company helps teachers and
students take their classroom on the road in more ways than ever.
2. Test Prep – Shmoop has a variety of fun, interesting ways to
help students prepare for their future, including ACT, SAT, PSAT and AP prep
exams. It also offers good value for
districts that desperately need to make their dollars go further. Test Prep and
Teacher’s Editions are completely digital and very affordable.
3. Innovation Shmoop
provides an abundance of teacher resources, videos, and photos. By mixing its
analysis with pop culture, it engages students with a unique and fun way to
learn. Its array of online tools not only helps users improve their educational
skills but also helps them increase their technology literacy as well.
David Kapuler is an
educational consultant with more than 10 years of experience working in
the K-12 environment. For more information about his work, contact him
at firstname.lastname@example.org and read his blog at cyber-kap.blogspot.com