21cif menu



Search Challenge

Why Internet Search Challenges?

Nothing develops information fluency better than practice. By design, Search Challenges combine live Internet searching and a game-like format. The result is an authentic experience that gives learners a reasonable assessment of their digital searching skills.

Each Search Challenge is developed around one or more search techniques or strategies. For example:

By engaging in a number of search Challenges, a learner is exposed to the range of skills required by digital searching today.  The incorporation of a timer and an answer key provide immediate feedback that typically motivates learners to improve.  Learners are less likely to overestimate their abilities after taking several Search Challenges. Consequently, they are more aware of their areas of weakness.

How to use Search Challenges

Each Search Challenge is connected to an intervention, usually a MicroModule that features tips and strategies incorporated in the Challenge. The application that is recommended is to let learners try a Search Challenge followed by a MicroModule, followed by another Search Challenge. The cycle constitutes a basic curriculum of searching. As new Search Challenges are added each month, the curriculum becomes more extensive:

curricular flow image

How NOT to use Search Challenges

It is not recommended that Search Challenges be used for any type of grading. Search Challenges were developed with formative assessment in mind--not summative assessment. The fact that they depend on the live Internet makes them subject to web site and search engine changes. The live Internet is too fluid of an environment for reliable testing. As formative assessments, Search Challenges are limited to making suggestions where skills may be improved

Avoid using Search Challenges to cultivate frustration. Spending more than 10 minutes on a search can lead to frustration, high levels of which may be counterproductive. We have observed students and teachers alike spend up to 45 minutes on an unsuccessful search, only to storm away. Ten minutes would have been just as instructive.