Search Mastery Speaker Series: Supporting Children’s Online Information Discovery

Event Start Date: Thursday, February 17, 2022 - 11:00 am

Event End Date: Thursday, February 17, 2022 - 12:00 pm

Location: Virtual

Jerry Alan Fails, Boise State University
Sole Pera, PIRET, Boise State University

Children, like adults, frequently turn to the “major” search engines like Google and Bing to find what they want online. However, their interfaces can be challenging even for some adults sometimes. Additionally, these systems were not designed with children in mind. For children to be able to master search, the whole system (interface, interactions, results, etc.) needs to be adapted so that they can better support children’s online information discovery. In this talk, we present advances we have made in supporting children’s particular search needs with regards to query formulation and spelling, and algorithms and approaches to retrieving and ranking search results based on readability and educational value.


Fails, Jerry 2021-selfie-transp

Jerry Alan Fails is an Associate Professor in the Computer Science Department at Boise State University in Boise, Idaho. He has designed technologies with and for children using participatory design methods for the last 19 years. As part of his research, he directs an intergenerational design team called the Kids team. The team consists of young children and adults who work together as partners to improve and design new technologies. He leads research in child adaptive search tools (a Co-PI on NSF 1763649), security and privacy for children, and fitness technologies for children. He serves as the Graduate Coordinator in his department, is the International Interaction Design and Children (ACM) Steering Committee Vice-Chair, and serves as an IJCCI Associate Editor among other editorial and reviewing duties.

SP picSole Pera is an Associate Professor in the Computer Science Department at Boise State University, where she co-directs the People and Information Research Team. Sole’s research strives to bring attention to how non-traditional users interact with systems that enable the completion of usual, yet complex, information access tasks. In the past ten years, she has focused on Children Information Retrieval: understanding how children interact with search and recommendation systems and building the algorithm bridges needed to facilitate those interactions. She is a member of the Steering Committee for ACM RecSys and part of the PC for several conferences on her field of expertise (e.g., SIGIR, RecSys, UMAP, CHIIR). Sole has also co-organized workshops at IDC and SIGIR intended to build community and promote awareness on the value of research about search and recommendation tools for children.

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