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Power in Literature: Web Literacy

Power, fame, and the Internet.

This Power in Literature course is all about Hollywood celebrities. We can stop there, right? After all, do we really have to convince you that a course about Hollywood celebrities is super fun and relevant? You've pretty much already decided you're so registering for it. Right. Now. Right? But just in case you don't share Shmoop's love for Hollywood gossip, here are some other cool things you'll do in this course:

  • learn how to tell whether an internet source is totes legit, or full of baloney.
  • make your web searches faster and smarter using our quick and easy techniques. They're so quick and easy you could almost call them "tricks."
  • become a more savvy web reader. That means staying away from those sites with the flashing marquee headers and links to nowhere.
  • show your readers where you've been and what you've been doing by citing your sources. All the cool kids are doing it.

As you can see, this course is chock-full of useful information. It's also full of Hollywood gossip. Need we say more?

The Power in Literature Series

Have you ever wondered what makes you keep turning the pages of the latest page-turner? Why those "Happy Anniversary" Hallmark cards come with cheesy love poems inside? Or maybe you're curious about why, when you get on the internet to find out how tall Tom Cruise is (because he looks really short next to Katie Holmes, and she wasn't even wearing heels), you emerge three hours later an expert on the mating habits of ducks. What gives language in all its forms—whether prose, poetry, or on a web page—its power to entertain, persuade, and make us lose all sense of time and decency?

Shmoop's Power in Literature nano-series investigates this question by taking apart some literature genres—short stories, poems, nonfiction, and web reading—to figure out what makes them go. Each twelve-lesson, fully Common Core-aligned course for grades 9–10 introduces students to the basic nuts and bolts of the genre. And just to make things really interesting, we look at the power of money, love, freedom, and fame while we're doing it.

Course Breakdown

Unit 1. The Power of Fame (Web Literacy)

This nano course teaches about a mega-important concept—web literacy—through teaching about a concept which plagues the web: the power of fame. Students will learn about the accuracy of websites while sinking deep into the mires of celebrity gossip and scandal.

Sample Lesson - Introduction

Lesson 1: The Power of Fame

Hey Shmooper, would you believe that Kim Kardashian and Kanye West were offered 3 million dollars for a picture of their kid? It's true: we are borderline obsessed with what celebrities are up to, including the little rug rats they produce in their spare time. Famous people just seem cooler. They wear better clothes. They own more cars. Their dogs have diamond collars.

And to all of that, Shmoop says, so what? Sure, celebrities have enough money to party with the cool kids and buy expensive stuff, but so does your Great Aunt Wanda, and you don't see anyone camping out under her front porch to get a picture of her in her skivvies. Nope, there's more to this fame thing than money. The allure of fame draws us in. You might even say it has a strange power over us.

The power of fame can leave you all empty inside.

Fame has a strange power over the people who chase it, too. Your average everyday person who chases fame may find the ultimate reward—or the ultimate destruction. The allure of fame can lead people down an ugly road of self-indulgence, isolation and potentially, death.

On the other hand, there is a bright, rarely publicized positive side to the power of fame: Some people are able to harness fame's power and use it for good (Brangelina, anyone?).

So, Shmoop wants to know: what gives fame its strange power over us? Why are some people sucked into its swirling vortex of destruction, while others are able to harness its power for good? What would you do if you were famous? Let's find out.