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SOL - Scaffolding to foster independence when children search Online for Learning



Landoni M.



Project SOL, Scaffolding to foster independence when searching Online for Learning, aims to explore how to leverage the scaffolding metaphor to create a theoretical framework to extend the Search-As-Learning (SAL) paradigm to an understudied community of users–children–and bring it into the primary school classroom. This framework will serve as a foundation to shape co- designed, innovative, human-driven Child Interactive Information Retrieval (CIIR) technologies fostering learning to search and searching to learn that can be seamlessly integrated with a range of search tools to ease information access for learning for specific target audiences and contexts.

With SOL, we answer the following RQ: what is the scaffolding needed to enable search for learning while learning to search in the classroom, regardless of the search tools enabling access to information?. This is a vital endeavour since, despite the common practice of seeking and using online resources for school assignments, children of varying ages and literacy levels still face challenges to effectively utilise search tools to locate and recognise useful materials. To ensure progress towards successful completion, we focus on children aged 9 to 12, who are in a similar stage of development and have acquired reading and writing skills and define 3 research objectives: (i) Identify children’s needs when searching for learning; (ii) Translate user and context requirements into a CIIR design framework & technologies; and (iii) Study the impact of scaffolding on SAL.

We envision a highly collaborative process that iteratively identifies the needs of users and the context via co-design with children and teachers (as a proxy of the context) and leverages both Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) and Information Retrieval (IR) expertise on every iteration. This human-driven, iterative approach to design borrowed from HCI will be deeply transformative in driving the creation of cutting-edge Interactive Information Retrieval (IIR) solutions and enabling innovative and effective search experiences for and with children. Consequently, we anticipate outcomes from project SOL to include a suite of interfaces and algorithms tailored to the needs of specific audiences and contexts, in our case children and the educational environment, and a theoretical framework, for the most part lacking in the literature when children are the primary stakeholders, which would drive future advances in CIIR and act as a blueprint for the design of IIR

technologies to support SAL in the classroom based on the scaffolding metaphor. The framework will include criteria and measures to assess the overall SAL experience (including the level of independence in SAL and search competence plus usability and engagement). While findings will also serve as indicators of the effectiveness of the framework.

Besides HCI, IR, and IIR communities, findings from this project will benefit Child-Computer Interaction, search as learning, user modelling, and personalization, to name a few. We believe that CIIR is a research area deserving more attention as it could turn into the driving force for mainstream IIR. Also, the insights gained from this work can prompt research advances in other contexts where learning takes place (e.g. museums, libraries, after-school programs), target audiences (e.g. children of all ages, other audiences poorly served by search tools, such as individuals with cognitive disabilities and low-literacy individuals), and other information access tools beyond search (e.g. recommendation and question answering).

Informazioni aggiuntive

Data d'inizio
Data di fine
48 Mesi
Enti finanziatori
In corso
Swiss National Science Foundation / Interdisciplinary projects