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June 12, 2001

The class started off with learning about search engines. "What's a search engine?" Jon asked the class. The class was quick to respond. They then proceeded to use a search engine to look up "bats." Jon asked the class if there was any way for them to type in their search "bats" and have the result be only about baseball bats and not animal bats. The class then typed the phrase "Who's afraid of the big bad wolf" into a natural language search engine to see if whole phrases would come up. Then there was a challenge. The class assignment was to find the original author of the "Three Little Pigs." Many answers to that question came up which proved that different search engines get different results for sites because of the strategy they use. For example, some search engines use an index while others use what is called a crawler. Class response to many of the activities was positive, although some found it frustrating when the results to their search were not what they wanted. During break one of the interns unraveled a spool of thread and randomly handed a part of the it to any student. The end result was a web. Then 3 students were asked to let go of thier end of the rope. This was to show how the internet is like a web, tangled but connected. One server malfunction can cause a big problem.

After this activity Cornelia brought the students disks that allowed them to explore the world of email. In the beginning the students seemed to have a hard time understanding exactly what to do in order to send email. The students could email each other, interns, staff,and even their parents. After the students finished that exercise Garrett gave the students a challenge to find his picture on the internet and email him the URL to that site. These are two of the things that the students have learned in the workshop. The team that got it first would each get a reward of three dollars per person. This challenge kept the students working hard. At the conclusion of the class one pair of students had completed the challenge.

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