Using the Framework of Networks to Enhance Learning and Social Interactions


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Seminar presented at ComplexNetworks LIP6 lab, Paris VI
27 June 2013

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Using the Framework of Networks to Enhance Learning and Social Interactions

  1. 1. Using the Framework of Networks to Enhance Learning and Social Interactions Dmitry Paranyushkin Nodus Labs
  2. 2. 1. the approach
  3. 3. Network Thinking and... • Cognitive Processes (learning, memorizing, etc) • Social Processes (collaborations, relationships, interactions, etc)
  4. 4. Cognition: Associative Thinking The nodes are the concepts, the edges are the associations. visualization
  5. 5. The nodes are the concepts, the edges are the relations. Cognition: Learning visualization: gephi
  6. 6. The nodes are the words, the edges are the cooccurrences. Cognition: Text Network Analysis visualization: & sigma.js
  7. 7. The nodes are the tweets, the connections are retweets. Society: Informational Cascades visualization: the london riots rumours by the guardian, video by nodus labs
  8. 8. The nodes are the people, the edges are collaborations. Society: Collaboration Networks visualization: gephi & nodus labs
  9. 9. People (nodes) at a party interacting (edges). Society: Social Interactions visualization: gephi & nodus labs
  10. 10. scientific discourse social practices, software tools, events writing, performance, visual art • Scientific Research Artistic Practices Social Realm
  11. 11. 2. fields of enquiry
  12. 12. Research Questions: Metastability Metastable dynamics makes it possible for the brain to maintain several states at once and to shift between them easily (Kelso, 2012; Bhowmik, Shanahan 2013; Rabinovich et al 2008).
  13. 13. Research Questions: Metastability Metastable dynamics in human brain makes it adaptable, flexible, and robust against external perturbations. It enables simultaneous segregation between different regions of neural activity and their integration, producing complex cognitive and sensorimotor behavior. Can similar dynamics be found in social processes and if so, how can it be characterized? What would be the results of deviation from metastable dynamics towards more ordered and more chaotic states? If the brain is metastable, what about our cognition? What is the dynamics of learning and communication? Does metastable dynamics mean “healthy” mind? Which network topologies are conducive for metastable dynamics?
  14. 14. Research Questions: Social Dynamics How do social networks evolve over time? How do online tools (recommender systems, online networks, various applications) affect social dynamics and topology of our social networks? Do they create filter bubbles (Pariser 2011)? If so, what are the effects? Does that make social networks less adaptable and more vulnerable? If so, how can those processes be reversed? How can we develop the tools that help us communicate and exchange knowledge, but don’t weaken our social ties? Can better awareness of the social network dynamics affect our social behavior and how? Does it propose a certain kind of ethics?
  15. 15. Research Questions: Cognitive Dynamics How can we represent thinking and learning as a network? What is the dynamics of efficient learning? And what are the different kinds of “efficient”? What is the topology of our knowledge? Are some knowledge structures more open than others, is there any correlation with the network topology? What could be the tools that can enhance the ways we learn, think, and interact? What network dynamics could we consider as healthy? What does the visual representation of information through networks do to our cognition? Does it enhance our perception and how?
  16. 16. Research Questions: Summary • Metastability, Adaptability, Robustness (exploring metastable dynamics in social & cognitive networks) • The dynamics of social and cognitive processes (studying how cognitive and social networks evolve in time) • The patterns of thoughts and interactions (studying topologies of the networks) • Simplifying and visualizing complexity (using the graphs to represent social and cognitive phenomena)
  17. 17. 3. case studies & practical implementations
  18. 18. Textexture: Text Network Visualization The words are the nodes, their co-occurrences are the connections between them.
  19. 19. Textexture: Methodology 1. A text is submitted 2. The stopwords (“are”, “is”, “the” etc.) are removed 3. The words are brought to their morphemes (e.g. looked = look) 4. The first scan represents every word as a node, their co-occurrence as the edge in the graph. 5. The second scan is made using a “window” of 5 words, adding the edges between the words, which are located within the same gap (to account for short-term memory effects when reading). 6. The resulting graph is processed by Gephi, betweenness centrality and community structure is calculated 7. The graph is visualized in Textexture using Sigma.Js (Paranyushkin 2011,
  20. 20. Uses: Quick Text Summary, Excerpts Provides visualization of a text’s or video lecture’s main concepts, clusters of meaning, and how they relate to each other. Click on the nodes, to get the excerpts, click on the timecode to open the video at exactly the place of the excerpt.
  21. 21. Uses: Dynamic Text Analysis Evolution of US president’s inauguration speeches 1969-2013 -
  22. 22. Uses: TNA Group Profiling Visualization of ComplexNetworks lab’s research abstracts, 2010-2013. More on
  23. 23. ThisIsLike – Associative Thinking Net
  24. 24. Recommender System: Amazon Recommender systems are driven by logical, improvement-focused ideology, always proposing things that are “better”, “faster”, “more efficient”. Could something like offer an alternative to this way of thinking? more on
  25. 25. Constructed Social Situations Creating real-life experiences that enact and exemplify various network concepts.
  26. 26. Social Situations: The Chair Game People are invited to play a game, where they have strict rules of following one another. These rules are gradually changing, in order help the participants experience various possibilities for social network constellations in a real-life context.
  27. 27. Social Situations: The Chair Game 1 2 43
  28. 28. Social Situations: Performance “OK” Constant reconfiguration of context through language and gesture. Ok? Ok.... Ok! Ok, ok... Ok! Watch live on
  29. 29. The Concept of “Polysingularity” Network thinking for everyday life situations –
  30. 30. Thank You! Dmitry Paranyushkin Nodus Labs