The Big6 is a proven approach to information problem solving. It helps students succeed in school and in life. Students use the Big6 to find, use, apply, and evaluate information for specific needs or tasks. (Graphic source: http://www.big6.com)
The Big6 Process
1. Task Definition/Questioning
2. Information Seeking Strategies
3. Location and Access
4. Use of Information
5. Synthesis and Sharing
Developed by Mike Eisenberg and Bob Berkowitz, the Big6 is the most widely known and widely used approach to teaching information and technology skills in the world. Used in thousands of K-12 schools, higher education institutions, and corporate and adult training programs, the Big6 information problem-solving model is applicable whenever people need and use information. The Big6 integrates information search and use skills along with technology tools in a systematic process to find, use, apply, and evaluate information for specific needs and tasks.
We all suffer from information overload. There’s just too much “stuff” out there, and it’s not easy to keep up. At the same time, there’s an irony—yes, we are surrounded by information, but we can never seem to find what we want, when we want it, and in a form we want it so that we can use it effectively.
One solution to the information problem—the one that seems to be most often adopted in schools (as well as in business and society in general)—is to speed things up. We try to pack in more and more content, to work faster to get more done. But, this is a losing proposition. Speeding things up can only work for so long. Instead, we need to think about helping students to work smarter, not faster. There is an alternative to speeding things up. It’s the smarter solution—one that helps students develop the skills and understandings they need to find, process, and use information effectively. This smarter solution focuses on process as well as content. Some people call this smarter solution information literacy or information skills instruction. We call it the Big6.
The Big6 Skills are best learned when integrated with classroom curriculum and activities. Teachers and library media specialists can begin to use the Big6 immediately by:
- Using the Big6 terminology when giving various tasks and assignments
- Talking students through the process for a particular assignment
- Asking key questions and focusing attention on specific Big6 actions to accomplish.