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Mapping interactions as a network model

http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2011/08/school-visualized/#more-71043

In a study published in Public Library of Science One, researchers followed a group of 232 students from a French school and mapped their interactions as a network model. RFID tags were placed onto these children, ages 6-12, as well as 10 teachers at the beginning of school and their interactions were tracked for a single day. The duration, location, and time of contact were recorded and analyzed. A visual model of interactions was made using this data; however, only interactions which were longer than 2 minutes were included. Students in the model were color-coded by class. Unsurprisingly, it was found that there were significantly more interactions among students in the same grade than there were among students in different grades.

The network model produced by this study can have important potential applications. For epidemiologists, it could provide a model to assess disease spread and to contain outbreaks of many diseases. Because this model tracks person-to-person interactions, it would allow epidemiologists to calculate how many people have been in contact with a carrier and the number of potential people infected. This model of interactions among students is also very reminiscent of our study of the interactions among nodes (students from different grades) in a network and strong triadic closure. Although this study did not look at whether ties between students were strong or weak, it did track the amount of time students were in contact with each other and how many times they interacted. This study found various instances of exclusive cliques, in which the students were only interacting with those in the group and generally not with those outside – this is particularly evident in the 5th graders, who only rarely interacted with anyone else from other grades. From this model, we can obtain a lot of social information about hierarchy in the school.

http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2011/08/school-visualized/#more-71043

In a study published in Public Library of Science One, researchers followed a group of 232 students from a French school and mapped their interactions as a network model. RFID tags were placed onto these children, ages 6-12, as well as 10 teachers at the beginning of school and their interactions were tracked for a single day. The duration, location, and time of contact were recorded and analyzed. A visual model of interactions was made using this data; however, only interactions which were longer than 2 minutes were included. Students in the model were color-coded by class. Unsurprisingly, it was found that there were significantly more interactions among students in the same grade than there were among students in different grades.

The network model produced by this study can have important potential applications. For epidemiologists, it could provide a model to assess disease spread and to contain outbreaks of many diseases. Because this model tracks person-to-person interactions, it would allow epidemiologists to calculate how many people have been in contact with a carrier and the number of potential people infected. This model of interactions among students is also very reminiscent of our study of the interactions among nodes (students from different grades) in a network and strong triadic closure. Although this study did not look at whether ties between students were strong or weak, it did track the amount of time students were in contact with each other and how many times they interacted. This study found various instances of exclusive cliques, in which the students were only interacting with those in the group and generally not with those outside – this is particularly evident in the 5th graders, who only rarely interacted with anyone else from other grades. From this model, we can obtain a lot of social information about hierarchy in the school.

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