Product: Shmoop

Product: Shmoop ¦ Retail price: Most of the site is free. Teacher resources, $7 a year; test prep (for ACT, SAT, PSAT, AP), $12.95 to $23 a year. Schools and districts can purchase a site license at discounted rates.

By David Kapuler

The site offers more than 600 free Learning Guides in 10 subjects for grades six through 12. Shmoop also offers premium paid services: Teacher’s Editions and online Test Prep (for ACT , SAT , PSAT , and AP ). You can also buy Shmoop guides in mobile app or e-book form.

Quality and Effectiveness: Shmoop is thorough and well thought out in its detail. It also has great teacher resources for an affordable price, including assignments, quizzes, photos, and timelines. The test-review section alone makes it worth the cost of admission. There is so much to be found here that an educator can teach the same topic a number of ways on mobile devices, such as iPad, iPhone, Android, and Blackberry.

Ease of Use: At first glance, Shmoop’s home page may look a little busy. After a few minutes, however, it’s easy to navigate the site and gain access to all its in-depth content. The site includes a number of video tutorials.

Creative Use of Technology: Shmoop is innovative, fun, and engaging. For example, users can earn Shmoints, the currency used on Shmoop, which may in turn earn them prizes. Also, the Why Should I Care? section of the analysis/ learning guide helps explain the importance of the analysis and puts the topic in simple terms. Shmoop incorporates pop culture into its learning guides and makes learning interesting and fun.

Suitability for Use in a School Environment: A teacher can use Shmoop to pick a topic and then find assignments, quizzes, pop-culture events, and discussion and essay questions and use these in their teaching. The site is easily integrated into the classroom and used as a study tool.

Top Features

¦ Mobility: Shmoop is a large crossplatform educational publisher that has more than 4,000 titles available across the Web, iPhone, iPad, Android, Kindle, Nook, and Sony Reader.
¦ Test prep: Shmoop includes ACT, SAT, PSAT, and AP prep exams. Test-prep and teacher editions are completely digital and affordable.
¦ Innovation: Everything can be found here, from an abundance of teacher resources, videos, and photos to a great array of online tools.

Overall Rating
Shmoop is easy to use and simple in its approach yet highly innovative and humorous so as to keep the user engaged.