The textbook for hip introductions

| February 12, 2009

I found Shmoop recently, which is a site that lures young learners with the promise of short, “hip” introductions to everything a student needs to know. It’s a funny site that seems like it’s meant to be a somewhat encyclopedic review of all the topics that might be in a standard curriculum (it calls itself an early beta). So how much better than Wikipedia could it be?

Well, check out the copy, and you’ll find an editorial voice with “young people” in mind. I guess this may be desirable/useful. Time will tell. I wonder how much effort it will take to keep this up to date over time.

I think it’s a good example of a curriculum-like resource being market towards “professional” students. But as a would-be Wikipedia, it’s part of what I’ve been calling the parallel world problem. For that reason, I think Shmoop will be an interesting case to keep an eye on as networked resources continue to replace textbooks.