With a name like Shmoop you automatically have to think that some bright youngster sought out a Google, Yahoo kind of name, and came up with Shmoop. OK, so what is this daft sounding app? It’s a learning method system that integrates an audio-visual experience with “a point of view” as they like to state. This basically means that the app is made to make you laugh, think and learn all at the same time.
Shmoop University, Inc. is the owner of an educational website for college and high school students and teachers. It provides online guides and resources for literature, poetry, music, U.S. history, civics, and economics. They also created a series of test preparation courses. Shmoop University, Inc. is located and contacted via P.O. Box 70186, Sunnyvale, CA 94086, United States
The site address is: www.shmoop.com
The company President and CEO is 50 yr old Ellen F. Siminoff, and the company co-founder and CCO is 53 yr old David E. C. Siminoff. I wonder what the connection is between these two.
The Concept (Vision)
The Siminoff clan decided that education was just too boring and hard for many individuals, and in my opinion based on National Lampoons Animal house, created a unique environment that presents an alternative learning environment for everyone.
Apart from the heavily featured website, they recently released a plethora of smartphone apps to complement the web-based technology and now has over 115 iPhone apps online.
Shmoop in Numbers
Taken from their site, here is an infographic of the numbers they claim to support:
- 13 courses with 400 subjects
- A guide for every book of the Bible (Old & New)
- Over 2,500 learning guides
- Over 1,000 career profiles
- Infinite math drills (I think they don’t understand the concept of infinity, but we will rest on that)
- Over 100 Science and Technology Learning guides
- 12 Grammar guides
- Over 6,00 videos
- …much more, look at the infographic, will you!
Shmoop is an online study resource. According to its co-founder and CEO Ellen Siminoff, the site provides an online textbook for all high school curricula in the US. For many subjects not on the curricula, it provides an in-depth review of data.
The Shmoop app starts out every section with a ‘Why you should care,’ item. This is based on the fact that this is a reading app, with video support and provides basic access to online knowledge. These boils don’t lead to two things: 1) Getting students to read their literature, and 2) getting students to comprehend what they have read.
Reading is one thing, we all went through school reading, but did we learn? Did we comprehend? Many don’t, and this is where Shmoop comes in to play.
The book’s listed by Shmoop come with the same format:
- Basic summary,
- in-depth analysis,
- Relevant information to support the content comprehension
Apart from the dry and sometimes slapstick humor approach, Shmoop is an exceptional library of information. Most of the content is written by freelancers, Ph.D. and MBA students contracted to write about all the subjects on the site, with more being added daily.
The site is concentrating on soft subjects; these are all the non-technological and exact sciences, such as math’s, physics, chemistry, and biology. This limits the attraction of the site but also focuses its core readers.
The market that Shmoop targets are the high school sector. These are students that do not need to provide bibliographical sources from online peer-review journals. What a high school student needs to prove is the ability to understand a subject, deliver the core concepts and write an in-depth essay or project. This is why the site will concentrate on literature, which is a “soft” subject, subjective with perceptional views.
I guess I will have to claim that Shmoop is suffering from a bipolar disorder. It provides an excellent core of knowledge and very well written aids to students. On the other hand, it lacks in hard facts and core features that would make this a comprehensive site fir for every subject matter studied in high school. The subjects it does provide, are delivered with every possible attachment, in-depth review, and detail that will make it fully understood by anyone using the app.
Using the Site/App
Shmoop is actually very well designed, the GUI is easy to understand, and the navigation is straightforward.
There are two dashboards in Shmoop:
There is one at shmoop.com/my/shmoop. This the general dashboard and is used to navigate the practical applications of Shmoop. The second dashboard is shmoop.com/my/home/, and this is the ShmoopYou peer-to-peer network.
The Practical Dashboard
The main dashboard that most of you will use is the practical one found at shmoop.com/my/shmoop. Here are the tabs you will find when navigating this screen. Some of the tabs are for teachers, the rest for all subscribers.
This stab shows you the different licenses you have to access the site and all its features. The tabs in this section include navigation to tests, teaching guides, courses and also to the Shmoop university page.
This tab is only accessible if you are a subscriber. In this case, you can click on to your account info page as well as manage members which is open to Teachers to view their students and manage them.
In the profile tab, you can update your info, add photos and generally have fun. You can build a profile page, also create a resume and follow the list of badges you have earned by using the app.
This is for teachers, and here you can create and edit classrooms. You can also view current classrooms and view the students.
This is where you create, browse, or study flashcards. You can create your own or use any number of flashcards from the library made up of hundreds of thousands of flashcards that are already available for you on every topic that Shmoop covers. You can view the flashcards you use by clicking on “study your sets.”
This is where you can view all your essays, old and new and read them, edit them and just about do anything with them.
This is misleading; settings actually mean how to prepare for a test prep express program. Essentially, you can order videos to your e-mail address and learn how to [prepare for an exam.
This is a comprehensive help section with great videos, and a must to use when starting out as well as when using it for a while.
In the following three screens you can see how a book is presented and what online questions, an outline, and other cool stuff all aimed at giving the reader extra aids to comprehend the book and remember key actions within the story.
There are 6 subscription plans, three for students and three for teachers.
Month to month: $24.68 Complete Access
College Plus: $87.68 Complete Access plus the ACE CREDIT® recommended courses
Yearly: $150.00 Complete Access
Month to month: $24.68 Complete Access includes Teaching Guides, Answer keys, Custom assignments, Virtual classrooms, Online grade book
Teacher Yearly $150.00 Complete Access as above
Teacher Yearly (Up to 10 students) $300.00 Complete Access with 10 free students added
Shmoop is a complex it is a great library, a test center, a classroom, and an online app system all rolled into one. Shmoop is underestimated, and it is not reaching its full potential. This is a great add-on to any high school curricula and the concept of a teacher’s aide add-on for lit. students are great. If they expanded out to the sciences, it would become a global hit overnight.