Children's Internet Search

Using Roles to Understand Children

Elizabeth Foss, Allison Druin
ISBN: 9781608454433 | PDF ISBN: 9781608454440
Copyright © 2015 | 106 Pages | Publication Date: 09/01/2014

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Searching the Internet and the ability to competently use search engines are increasingly becoming an important part of children's daily lives. Whether mobile or at home, children use search interfaces to explore personal interests, complete academic assignments, and have social interaction. However, engaging with search also means engaging with an ever-changing and evolving search landscape. There are continual software updates, multiple devices used to search (e.g., phones, tablets), an increasing use of social media, and constantly updated Internet content. For young searchers, this can require infinite adaptability or mean being hopelessly confused.

This book offers a perspective centered on children's search experiences as a whole instead of thinking of search as a process with separate and potentially problematic steps. Reading the prior literature with a child-centered view of search reveals that children have been remarkably consistent over time as searchers, displaying the same search strategies regardless of the landscape of search. However, no research has synthesized these consistent patterns in children's search across the literature, and only recently have these patterns been uncovered as distinct search roles, or searcher types. Based on a four-year longitudinal study on children's search experiences, this book weaves together the disparate evidence in the literature through the use of 9 search roles for children ages 7-15. The search role framework has a distinct advantage because it encourages adult stakeholders to design children's search tools to support and educate children at their existing levels of search strength and deficit, rather than expecting children to adapt to a transient search landscape.

Table of Contents

Existing Research
University of Maryland's Children and Internet Search Studies and the Search Role Framework
Roles of Reaction: Developing and Non-MOtivated Searchers
Roles of Preference: Rule-Bound, Domain-Specific, and Visual Searchers
Roles of Proficiency: Power and Social Searchers

About the Author(s)

Elizabeth Foss, College of Information Studies, Human-Computer Interaction Lab, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland
Elizabeth Foss is a graduate of the University of Maryland, College Park. As a Ph.D. student, she conducted research in the areas of youth Internet search and designed technology with children in the Human-Computer Interaction Lab and College of Information Studies at UMD. Her dissertation research focused longitudinally on how youth, ages 7-15, search the Internet. Starting in 2008, and revisiting the same participants in 2013, she conducted field interviews with youths who demonstrated their Internet search habits. The goal of this research was for educators, technology designers parents, and researchers to use the search role framework to better support youths as searchers and to encourage better searching habits. Foss also worked with an intergenerational design team in the HCIL, called Kidsteam, which used Cooperative Inquiry methods to create new technologies, and improve existing ones, for children by working directly with children throughout the entire design process.

Allison Druin, College of Information Studies, Human-Computer Interaction Lab, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland
Allison Druin is Chief Futurist for the University of Maryland's Division of Research and is a Professor in the iSchool as well as a researcher in the Human-Computer Interaction Lab. As the University's first Chief Futurist, she works with faculty throughout campus on research strategic planning and partnership
development. In her own research over the last 20 years, she has led design teams of children, computer scientists, educators, and more to develop new educational technologies with co-design methods for children. Her research focus has been to understand how children can search, access, use, and create information by developing new technologies. Her team has created a variety of new technologies which have included new mobile storytelling devices, digital libraries to support cultural tolerance, and robotic toys for active learning. Her co-design team has partnered with numerous organizations over the years, including the U.S. National Park Service, UNICEF, National Geographic, and Nickelodeon (where they won an Emmy for their shared design, "the do not touch" button). When she is not leading research, for the last seven years Druin has been a monthly technology radio correspondent on the local DC National Public Radio Station, WAMU (88.5). On the Kojo Nnamdi Show's Tech Tuesday she discusses the latest tech trends. Druin received a B.F.A in Graphic Design from Rhode Island School of Design in 1985. She then went on to complete a Master's Degree from the MIT Media Lab in 1987, and was awarded her Ph.D. in 1997 from the
University of New Mexico.

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