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Innovation

Shmoop will make you a better lover...if you have a Sony Reader?

OK, it's their tagline, but it's catchy, isn't it? For those of you unfamiliar with the company, Shmoop is a company whose mission is "to make learning and writing more fun and relevant for students in the digital age.
Written by Christopher Dawson, Contributor on

OK, it's their tagline, but it's catchy, isn't it? For those of you unfamiliar with the company, Shmoop is a company whose mission is "to make learning and writing more fun and relevant for students in the digital age." The title of this post comes from their slogan, "Shmoop will make you a better lover (of literature, history, life)," offering comprehensive guides and study aids online and on several e-reader platforms. Most recently, Shmoop announced support for Sony's Reader.

Most of the study guides are written in a conversational, accessible format by "educators and experts...from Ph.D. and Masters programs at Stanford, Harvard, UC Berkeley (and other top universities)." Think SparkNotes, only more interesting. While SparkNotes and the like are often seen enemies of the educational state, it's clear that well-written study guides are valuable resources for students struggling through Shakespeare.

A look at the Jobs page on Shmoop gives a sense of the company's direction, as well: they are specifically hiring writers for English/Literature, History, Math, and Science education and translators for Spanish versions of their content. Thus, with Shmoop, we're way beyond Cliffs Notes. Rather, Shmoop provides portable and/or Internet-accessible guides for a variety of topics that can live on iPhones, Nooks, Kindles, and now, Sony Readers.

Struggling to remember important points about the American Revolution? Or just struggling to understand why you should care? Pull up the American Revolution site on Shmoop or whip out your e-reader with the $2.95 e-book version of the site.

Shmoop even offers a teacher resource site, helping instructors integrate Shmoop resources effectively into their classrooms. The site also contains a growing number of teachers' guides with assessment suggestions, classroom activities, and links to relevant current events and culture.

I'm still not sure that dedicated e-readers like the Sony Reader or Kindle can survive in the face of the iPad and the coming onslaught of Android tablets. However, regardless of the platform, Shmoop provides a lot of resources to supplement in-class instruction, all in digitally accessible formats.

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