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Shmoop does econ and goes mobile

This week at ISTE, Shmoop announced a public beta test of a new area of resources for teachers and students.

Shmoop Economics is

a free online resource using humor, current events, pop culture references, and games to capture student interest in economics.  The curriculum includes a series of role-playing games, where students are thrown in the hot seat as a policymaker or business leader facing tough decisions.  By choosing the right path through a game, students can add a Notch – a short cartoon vignette – to their collection of life experiences on their Shmoop Profile.

Developed by master teachers from Stanford and U.C. Berkeley Ph.D. programs, Shmoop content, is largely free.  (Shmoop’s Brady is working on giving me a good price for a school library subscription to the premium AP study guides.)

Economics is the first of the Shmoop guides to include interactive simulations that engage learners in decision making, in this case, as policy makers or business leaders.

Among the game options designed to promote economic literacy are these three:

You’re the President of the United States, and you’ve got a tough decision to make. You want to do something to fight global warming, and you’re considering a government-run cap and trade system to reduce carbon emissions. But you’re on the fence. Cap and trade would launch a big government intervention into the economy, and you have your doubts. Do the environmental benefits justify messing around with the balance between government and free market in our mixed economic system? You’ve got to make a tough choice. But first, you’ve got to listen to the helpful (and not-so-helpful) advice of an army of scientists, politicians, and lobbyists. Play our Economic Systems Game and put yourself in the Oval Office. Make the right choice — the fate of our world and economy may depend on it.

You’re the inventor of the Conequette, “The flirty charcoal that’s too hot to handleTM.” This stuff is hot, hot, hot! Obviously you’ve got skillz around the grill, and you’re a sloganeering genius. But do you have what it takes to get things cookin’ in the marketplace? How many Conequettes should you produce, and for what price? Do you know how to make the laws of supply and demand work for you? Play our Supply & Demand Game to see if you can make your new company catch fire in the charcoal biz.

You’re the Chairman of the Federal Reserve, and you’re facing a serious case of job-related indigestion.  You’re facing every Fed Chairman’s nightmare, the twin monsters of inflation and stagnant growth.  Do you have what it takes to slay those monsters and return the nation to prosperity? Play our Money & Banking Game right and you’ll bring back the good times; a grateful public will lionize you as an economic guru.  Play it wrong and you’ll go down in history as the fool who destroyed the American economy. Choose wisely

Our teachers and students appreciate Shmoops’ decidedly undry edge–its humor,  its references to contemporary culture, its conversational tone. (See previous post.) Teachers frequently remind me to add Smoop links to our pathfinders.  The newly added games, embedded music videos and other media make Shmoop even sweeter.

And it’s newly portable. More than 3,000 Shmoop eBooks and Apps now available for:

My students may just go for this small investment (from .99 and $1.99 for phone apps, to $2.39 for some Kindle books and mashed-up classics) to have the study tools they currently need pocket-ready.
Joyce Valenza About Joyce Valenza

Joyce is an Assistant Professor of Teaching at Rutgers University School of Information and Communication, a technology writer, speaker, blogger and learner. Follow her on Twitter: @joycevalenza

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