Right now, popular search engines work best for a general audience who is already good at using them. However, anyone who isn’t familiar or comfortable in a search environment — like children — can be excluded. Learning to navigate the internet using a search engine is a critical skill for students. Without it, their belief in their own ability to find answers, and their sense of curiosity itself, will suffer. Without the desire to engage in an online search, their future education and employment will be consequently limited. The goal of this research project is to improve the resources presented to children so they better match their experience and vocabulary. Our current project involves designing and developing software modules that can interpret a child’s search intent, offer child friendly query suggestions, and provide suitable web results in response to queries written by children. This will remove the obstacles separating children from the resources they require, creating more successful searches and more successful students. The implicit belief of this research is that the only prerequisite to a search should be curiosity.

Publications

Mohammad Aliannejadi, Emiliana Murgia, Monica Landoni, Theo Huibers, and Maria Soledad Pera. 2021. “Right Way, Right Time: The Need for Interfaces That Can Better Support Children Searching for Learning”. Short paper in Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on User Modeling, Adaptation and Personalization (UMAP ‘21). ACM, 95-100 pp. DOI:10.1145/3340631.3394847.

Monica Landoni, Theo Huibers, Emiliana Murgia, Mohammad Aliannejadi, and Maria Soledad Pera. 2021. “Somewhere over the Rainbow: Exploring the Sense for Relevance in Children”. Short paper in Proceedings of the European Conference on Cognitive Ergonomics 2021 (ECCE 2021). ACM, to appear. DOI:10.1145/3452853.3452885.

Garrett Allen, Brody Downs, Aprajita Shukla, Casey Kennington, Jerry Alan Fails, Katherine Landau Wright, and Maria Soledad Pera. 2021. “BiG-BERT: Classifying Educational Web Resources for Kindergarten-12th Grades”. Short paper in Proceedings of the 43rd European Conference on Information Retrieval (ECIR ‘21). ACM, to appear.

Mohammad Aliannejadi, Monica Landoni, Theo Huibers, Emiliana Murgia, and Maria Soledad Pera. 2021. “Children’s Perspective on How Emojis Help Them to Recognise Relevant Results: Do Actions Speak Louder Than Words?”. Short paper in Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Human Information Interaction and Retrieval (CHIIR ‘21). ACM, to appear. DOI:10.1145/3406522.3446058.

Ashlee Milton, Oghenemaro Anuyah, Lawrence Spear, Katherine Landau Wright, and Maria Soledad Pera. 2020. “A Ranking Strategy to Promote Resources Supporting the Classroom Environment”. Long Paper in Proceedings of the 2020 IEEE/WIC/ACM International Joint Conference on Web Intelligence and Intelligent Agent Technology (WI-AIT ‘20). IEEE/WIC/ACM, to appear.

Brody Downs, Aprajita Shukla, Mikey Krentz, Maria Soledad Pera, Katherine Landau Wright, Casey Kennington, and Jerry Fails. 2020. “Guiding the selection of child spellchecker suggestions using audio and visual cues”. Proceedings of the Interaction Design and Children Conference. DOI:10.1145/3392063.3394390.

Ashlee Milton and Maria Soledad Pera. 2020. “The Horror: Evaluating Information Retrieval Systems for Kids”. In Proceedings of the 4th International and Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Children & Recommender and Information Retrieval Systems (KidRec 2020), co-located with ACM IDC 2020.

Brody Downs, Oghenemaro Anuyah, Aprajita Shukla, Jerry Alan Fails, Maria Soledad Pera, Katherine Wright, and Casey Kennington. 2020. “KidSpell: A Child-Oriented, Rule-Based, Phonetic Spellchecker”. In Proceedings of the 12th Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation (LREC 2020).

Jerry Alan Fails, Maria Soledad Pera, Oghenemaro Anuyah, Casey Kennington, Katherine Landau Wright, and William Bigirimana. 2019. “Query formulation assistance for kids: What is available, when to help & what kids want”. In Proceedings of the 18th ACM International Conference on Interaction Design and Children (IDC 2019).

Brody Downs, Tyler French, Katherine Landau Wright, Maria Soledad Pera, Casey Kennington, and Jerry Alan Fails. 2019. “Children and search tools: Evaluation remains unclear”. In Proceedings of the 3rd International and Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Children & Recommender and Information Retrieval Systems (KidRec 2019), co-located with ACM IDC 2019.

Brody Downs, Tyler French, Maria Soledad Pera, Katherine Landau Wright, Casey Kennington, and Jerry Alan Fails. 2019. “Searching for spellcheckers: What kids want, what kids need”. In Proceedings of the 18th ACM International Conference on Interaction Design and Children (IDC 2019).

Theo Huibers, Natalia Kucirkova, Emiliana Murgia, Jerry Alan Fails, Monica Landoni, and Maria Soledad Pera. 2019. “3rd KidRec Workshop: What does good look like?”. In Proceedings of the 18th ACM International Conference on Interaction Design and Children (IDC 2019).