Site URL: www.big6.com
Content: Developed by educators Mike Eisenberg and Bob Berkowitz, the Big 6 is an approach to teaching information and technology skills. In a nutshell, the Big 6 “information literacy” process involves identifying information research goals; seeking, using, and assembling relevant information; and reflecting on whether the final product is effective. The Big 6 model has been implemented in many K-12 schools.
The site's creators explain that the “Big 6” steps enhance student efficiency and productivity by helping them understand assignments, complete research projects or decision-making activities, self-assess work before turning it in for grading, and recognize credible information and cite sources.
Design: The site’s design is strictly business, with little in the way of visual appeal. On the homepage, the lefthand navigation list includes items such as free resources (organizers, worksheets and handouts; an information, communications and technology [ICT] skills curriculum, etc.), lessons, and a large section that contains background information, research, information on workshops and other items.
Clicking on items in the navigation list brings up a list of articles and documents that the user will need to sort through. Once inside a piece of content, however, the reader will find handy link lists organized under the headings “People who looked at this item also looked at…” and “Related items.”
Review: Navigating around Big6.com is like exploring a quirky professor’s file cabinet—there’s a lot of useful information here, it just requires a bit of digging. For example, a school interested in implementing the Big 6 approach would have to browse through articles and piece together various ideas based on lessons, handouts and descriptions of model projects undertaken by other schools. Thankfully, the ICT Skills Curriculum document does provide an outline.
The “Big 6 Kids” area falls short in terms of both design and content variety. Most of the content seems to already be represented in the main site, and the navigation links often feature content that has already appeared in other sections of the Kids area. This part of the site also does not seem to be updated frequently, as an item from 2003 appears under the heading “Recent Posts.” Visitors will, however, find useful games, a version of the Big6 for younger students called “Super3,” and nice tools such as a Writing Process Organizer.
Bottom Line: The Big6.com offers a worthwhile approach to helping students get organized and monitor their work. The site provides a variety of free resources, including checklists and printables, for teachers to use in the classroom. Determining how these parts add up to a cohesive approach, however, will require a bit of patience on the part of site visitors.