Shmoop provides users with a modern way to look at history and literature. The goal of the site is to present important literary works, historic information and other educational resources in a way that is relevant in an ever-changing digital age. The tools found here are intended as a way to feed a hungry mind with information in an interesting, entertaining way. Shmoop presents the argument that learning doesn’t have to be a dull, boring chore. Instead, it can be an enlightening task that is engaging and fun.Show more screenshots »
For a few years now, Shmoop has grown in popularity among anxious learners and educators. The site is maintained and updated by actual teachers and professors, including experts from masters programs at Harvard, Stanford, and UC Berkeley as well as many other well known universities. Many of the contributors have taught high school and college classes. Unlike the stereotypical “educational” resource, Shmoop makes learning fun and relevant. The focus remains on promoting education with a resource that evolves along with the times.
There are many information resources available all over the internet, so what makes Shmoop different? The approach taken by contributors and the creators is the main variation. Rather than simply presenting information for whoever happens by, Shmoop makes learning interesting and relevant. The dialogue is far from text book, yet provides a wealth of information found in hundreds of book resources. The wide range of experts that contribute to Shmoop also help to make it a single resource for research on topics that are historic and/or literary in nature.
With a far from dull attitude, the look of Shmoop helps paint an image of what visitors can find here. Right on the homepage, the logo offers a playful orange huge with rounded letters that compliment the personality of the website. There are a few advertisements, but they are minimal and do little to detract from the Shmoop experience. The main categories are found in buttons across the homepage and offer users quick access to information.
Although the blue sign up link is small and may be difficult to find at first, the registration process is simple. New users must select the radio button that corresponds with what type of account they want. The options include student, teacher and other. A note states that teacher accounts are given access to protected materials and verification will be required for this type of account. After that, a username, first and last name, email address and password must be entered.
The creators of Shmoop have stayed true to their word and offer access to this helpful online resource for free. No premium account currently exists. As was stated, a teacher account may require verification of credentials, but access is free. There are a few ad banners present to help offset the cost of the site, but these do little to take away from site navigation. It is fair trade off for the information provided to all visitors. It is also important to note here that Shmoop is still in beta and whether or not a premium account option will become available has not been mentioned.
Students in need of a new resource for history or literature themed projects as well as educators looking for something new to give to their students. The no cost price tag makes Shmoop easily accessible no matter how little money a college student may have. Plus, the easy online access makes Shmoop available to anyone with a computer and an internet connection. Students can research topics even after the library has closed for the evening, weekend or holiday. Plus, the unique presentation of the information makes it easier to understand when viewed through modern eyes.