Children's Searching Behavior

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There was an interesting Future Tense story this morning on MPR about a study conducted by Google and the University of Maryland regarding the searching behavior of children.  As the paper describing the research points out, these children are the first generation of what is being called "digital natives," and the next generation of undergraduates that will be attending the U of M. While many of the issues identified by the researchers (especially things like lack of typing and spelling skills) are likely to be less problematic as the children get older, others may be examples of generational differences in search behavior.

Google is using the study to inform the design of search engines optimized for children.  Would the use of such search engines actually hinder the development of more sophisticated searching skills?


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That's an interesting question. I wonder to what degree children's search strategies are tied to their developmental stages. The example of children who could somehow find everything they needed to know using the Spongebob Squarepants website reminded me of children I've known who fixate on things like baseball cards or other sports statistics and are able to process other information in that context.
Ideally, a customized search engine could meet children where they are developmentally while still preparing them to do more sophisticated searching later. It will be interesting to see what Google comes up with.

Also it would be interesting to see when students are ready to or are learning additional search strategies.

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This page contains a single entry by Lara Friedman-Shedlov published on January 6, 2010 4:13 PM.

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