Sunday, November 3, 2013

White House Browsing Challenge

Since most of the Search Challenges on 21cif require using a search engine, it was time to create a browsing challenge.

Email Challenge

What makes browsing challenging is keeping keywords in mind that you are searching for and skimming for links that are relevant. In this case, the challenge is to find the URL of the page where you can write an email to the President.

The challenge starts at the home page of the White House. From there the solution is three clicks (actually four if you count the anti-spam control feature). This shouldn't take a careful reader more than a couple of minutes, which is how the timer is set.

Browsing presents novice searchers with problems. It's easy to click on useless links and get lost. One of the most challenging assessment tasks a couple years ago on Information Researcher 4.0 was a browsing task where the answer was only two clicks away. I was surprised how many students and parents couldn't find their way.

Fortunately, browsing can be accomplished using multiple routes. Some are longer; the goal is to be efficient, taking as little time as possible.

This is a good activity to see what keywords students have in mind for finding a way to write to the President. In this challenge, students can find a form to use to write to the President. Interestingly, the email address of the White House is elusive!

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