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Shmoop: The Future of Writing Education?

Whether we like it or not, online resources that students use for their writing assignments (e.g., Wikipedia, Fact Monster, Awesome Library, The Futures Channel) certainly enable them to get quickly to an output or outcome for a class and are continuing to grow in number.

In numerous in-person and online (e.g., Classroom 2.0) conversations with teachers of courses where writing is core to their term deliverables, I’ve found that many are becoming overwhelmed with the accelerating number of online resources that students can leverage and approving or disapproving of their use of these resources is burning up more and more of their time.

Besides vetting the sites and their appropriateness for use as sources for papers, the receipt of the student writings cause teachers to invest time in policing plagiarism, ensuring source citing has actually been done and is accurate, and that their students actually enjoyed the process and learned the material.

There is a resource that has continually impressed me with their keen engagement of students as well as the way in which they deliver rich content for teachers, streamlined processes, content and policies that radically reduce those feelings of being overwhelmed with assurances student work hasn’t plagiarized, been cited accurately and that students have likely enjoyed the writing experience. That resource is Shmoop.

Targeted at high school and college students, Shmoop is a site focused on helping students become, ”…a better lover (of literature, history, life). See many sides to the argument. Find your writing groove. Understand how lit and history are relevant today. We want to show your brain a good time.

Our mission: To make learning and writing more fun and relevant for students in the digital age.”

From the Shmoop tour, here are four screenshots of some of the capabilities of this online resource:

With a clear stand on plagiarism, writers from Ph.D. and Masters programs at Stanford, Harvard, UC Berkeley, and other top universities, a citing methodology for their content as well as instructions on how to cite Schmoop, its an impressive and holistic offering that will undoubtedly provide your students with an empowering writing model.

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in Accelerating Change are strictly those of the author and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Scholastic, Inc.