Manual The Information Behavior of a New Generation: Children and Teens in the 21st Century

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The process is complex and multifaceted. Each step requires advanced knowledge and skills, which should be acquired through education and training. She emphasizes the affective factor feelings and investigates the factor's role on users as they move through various stages of the ISP.

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Kuhlthau suggests that uncertainty, and consequently anxiety, are experienced by the students as they move through the third stage of ISP, the exploration stage. At this stage, intervention may be necessary in order to reduce unnecessary anxiety.

Intervention in information seeking through various agents is supported by Vygotsky's theory of the zone of proximal development ZPD [ 13 ]. ZPD may be considered as the bandwidth of competence within which people learn. The lower limit of the zone consists of the tasks that can be accomplished independently, while the upper limit includes more complex tasks requiring interaction with experts.

VEs can provide an interactive, stimulating learning environment sometimes referred to as virtual learning environment or VLE. Children find them highly motivating; by virtue of their interactive nature, children are actively engaged with them; they provide repeated practice; and they include rewards for skillful play.


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These facts make it likely that video games could have large effects, some of which are intended by game designers, and some of which may not be intended. Teens will benefit from VEs which present them with opportunities to experience environments normally inaccessible to them for a number of reasons such as safety, time, distance and scale. The rationale for using VEs in the information context goes beyond their appeal to digital natives. VEs are especially effective in allowing students to experience new worlds where they can develop resources for problem solving and, ultimately, view the environment as a design space that can be engaged and changed.

A focus on engagement is needed to ensure that teenagers remain in virtual environments long enough to investigate and learn the content. VEs have been used successfully in entertainment and gaming worlds with which teenagers are likely to be familiar and enjoy interacting. While many VEs such as Second Life and World of Warcraft are designed for adults, more than virtual worlds have been constructed for teens. Habbo Hotel www. While young people are increasingly using the Internet they are still well acquainted with traditional libraries. This familiarity with the library environment leads us to believe that the VE should represent a physical library.

We utilized a bonded design methodology, where adults and young teens formed an intergenerational design team, to construct the VRLibrary Figure 1 [ 15 ]. We used the metaphor of a physical library with rooms, bookcases and books to design and develop the VE. The user, just as in a physical library, can walk around the library, move among the bookcases, scan the titles of books that are arranged on the bookshelves, select individual books and open them.

We chose the library metaphor because young people are acquainted with traditional libraries and we could capitalize on the navigational affordances of recognized artifacts.

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In multiple experiments, younger teens could easily navigate through the VRLibrary and select appropriate books websites relatively efficiently. Many of the participants in the experiments were also resolute about the help features or an outside intervention agent; they would have liked to receive help if and when needed.

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While technically savvy, many of today's teenagers are most likely to be information illiterate. Under imposed tasks, such as classroom projects, teens require instructions and directions to navigate through the stages of the ISP. Virtual environments, by their nature, are engaging for teenagers and may provide an alternative vehicle for information delivery.

For researchers, the authors pose questions for further investigation in the hope that innovative services will be offered and novel systems will be developed to help the new generation. About the Editors and Contributors. Jamshid Beheshti , J. His areas of expertise are children-computer interaction, and information behaviour.

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