Written in response to this video from Michael Eisenberg defining Information Literacy:
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Two years ago, when I came on board as the Library Director, there was a large bulletin board in our IT Room along with a number of different table-top signs describing and then encouraging our students to use Dynamic 8 in their research process. From what I gather, Dynamic 8 was the creation of our previous librarian in response to the gaps that she saw in the Big 6.
In listening to Michael Eisenberg’s video on the Big 6, I identified two rather minor flaws that I think ultimately led to the lack of use of Dynamic 8 in our school. First, we weren’t using the terminology and creating a common vocabulary across our school. The librarian wasn’t using it in conversations with students or the teachers. And teachers weren’t familiar with it nor were they using it with their students. The Big 6 can become ingrained in the culture if everyone is using the same terms consistently.
Secondly, the fact that there were 8 steps in the process made it all the more intimidating for anyone to adopt it and use it. It was difficult to remember 8 steps. I think 6 steps may be challenging at times with students but 8 is nearly prohibitive. Eisenberg references this fact in that they still carry the Super 3 up to older students by sorting the Big 6 into that same common vocabulary.
I very much appreciated Eisenberg’s recommendation in response to the question “How do I implement the Big 6 when we’re all so busy?” You start tomorrow. You start by using the vocabulary in conversations immediately. Label what you’re already doing. With teachers, you let them know why you’re using that terminology. You start to create a culture of information literacy.
So what am I going to do in my library on Monday? I’m going to start using the vocabulary as I converse with students about their research tasks. I’m going to chat with the Grade 8 English teacher who I know is already using the Big 6 with her students on their major research project and ask how I can collaborate with her to learn how she’s implementing this and continue to spread it around our school.
While not perfect, I think we can definitely use it to help our students learn the INFORMATION LITERACY PROCESS. It is a process and, right now, far too many of our students think of it as “the magical thing that will just happen at 1 am on the night before a major term research paper/project is due.”