New Product Alert for Parents

Jim Liebelt | Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for the HomeWord Center for Youth and Family at Azusa Pacific University | Monday, August 31, 2009

New Product Alert for Parents

Schmoop - iPhone applications - send your kids to school online.

Think electronic "Cliff Notes."

Shmoop, an online learning tool designed for high-school students, has unveiled several new categories and a whopping 115 iPhone apps.

The site now features study guides on poetry, bestselling books, civics, and biography. It already offered in-depth information on U.S. history and literature.

The timing on Shmoop's announcement is certainly appropriate. School is about to be back in session. Students will be needing Shmoop's online offerings to help them get through class.

But just how they use Shmoop's features is up for debate.

Shmoop does provide a nice resource for kids who have already read a book for literature class, it also provides a fine resource for kids who decide they don't want to read the book and would rather use Shmoop to learn all about it.

Each book listed on Shmoop's site includes a basic summary, in-depth analysis, themes, and other information that practically every teacher is referencing when they ask students to write essays on those topics. Similar to CliffsNotes, Shmoop can be used as a free alternative to actually reading the book. It's an intrinsic issue with Shmoop that I just don't see the company fixing. It's a necessary cost of doing business for a site like this.

Source: CNET News