Product: BigUniverse.com

BigUniverse is a dynamic online reading, writing, and sharing community that has more than 2,600 excellent fiction and nonfiction books for young readers.
Author:
Publish date:
Social count:
0

Retail price: Classroom one-year subscription, $99.95 (up to 35 students); classroom recurring subscription, $14.95 a month; school site license, $995

By MaryAnn Karre

Image placeholder title

BigUniverse is a dynamic online reading, writing, and sharing community that has more than 2,600 excellent fiction and nonfiction books for young readers.

Quality and Effectiveness: BigUniverse is a learning community that provides a wide variety of attractive books from leading publishers, the tools to create new books easily, and many ways for its members to connect with others to share messages and books. The library of publishers’ books is impressive; it contains many excellent nonfiction titles, and they display beautifully, looking very much like the original books. Even the sound and “feel” of turning pages is similar to that experienced with a printed book. Although it is a broad community of readers and writers in more than 150 countries, contributions and messages are monitored and limited to ensure a safe experience for young members.

Ease of Use: BigUniverse’s bright colors and prominent tabs for reading, writing, and sharing make it easy and fun to navigate. Students love to create a personal page with backgrounds and an avatar chosen from the site’s collections. Even young users can find books with the browse and search features on the first page, or they can use the navigation guides to locate books by grade, reading level, interest age, category, and/ or language. The books can be read, saved to a bookshelf, and shared with others. Creating books is simple and fun too, requiring very little computer expertise.

Image placeholder title

Creative Use of Technology: By allowing members to comment, recommend, and read what others think and to share their original books with the world, BigUniverse has created a safe, fun, and educational social network.

Suitability for Use in a School Environment: BigUniverse is a simple way to add thousands of books, which can be shared by any number of students at the same time, for a fraction of what the print copies would cost, with no wear and tear on the collection, and without filling up valuable classroom and library space. Teachers can assign books to students and assess comprehension with fun quizzes, get scores instantly, and view assessment reports. The books display beautifully on interactive whiteboards, so it’s easy to share with large groups, and the writing aspect is easily adapted to reports, reading responses, and writing workshops; or custom books can be created to support the curriculum. BigUniverse also uses reading levels (Fountas & Pinnell, DRA ), so students can choose books at their reading levels, and educators can use them to differentiate instruction.

Top Features
¦ Readers can locate books by grade, reading level, interest age, category, and language.
¦ BigUniverse is a simple way to integrate and teach technology in the elementary classroom.
¦ The product improves home-school communication, allowing teachers and parents to become involved in students’ reading and writing.

Overall Rating
BigUniverse has an impressively large collection of e-books for the elementary reader, most gratifyingly its nonfiction and foreign-language books. But it is the whole reading-writing-sharing package that sets it above all other e-book products.

Featured

Related

Image placeholder title

Product: Capstone myON Reader

myON reader is a personalized social reading environment that empowers students to choose books according to their interests and skill levels and provides teachers and administrators the tools to track, monitor, and report on students’ growth.

Image placeholder title

Product: Turnitin

“Turnitin is a collaborative online solution for managing writing assignments and delivering multifaceted, rich feedback to students on written work.” —www.iparadigms.com, May 1, 2011

Image placeholder title

Product: Shmoop

The site offers more than 600 free Learning Guides in 10 subjects for grades six through 12.

Image placeholder title

Product: FollettShelf

The FollettShelf is a Web service that enables students and teachers to efficiently search, read, and manage their Follett eBook collection online.

Image placeholder title

Product: SimplyBox

SimplyBox allows customers to clip, capture, save, organize, and share information and Web sites simply by drawing a box with the computer mouse.

Product Review: Boomwriter promo image

Product Review: Boomwriter

BoomWriter is a free and engaging group-writing tool that lets students go online to create stories and other content that can then be converted into published books.

Image placeholder title

Product: Read&Write 10 Gold (Windows)

Designed for students who struggle with reading and writing, the latest version of Read&Write Gold from Texthelp Systems offers a feature-rich assistive-technology tool kit that benefits all students, not just the at-risk or learning disabled.

Image placeholder title

Product: StudySync

StudySync’s electronic course room is a standards-based online learning curriculum that targets classic and modern literary texts in various modes through the use of digital media.