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SoNIA - Streaming Classroom Interactions
Dan McFarland, Skye Bender-deMoll
Stanford University
Project Description:
SoNIA (Social Network Image Animator) is a java package for making animations of dynamic networks. Networks in SoNIA are not limited to the standard notion of a set of relations among a set of entities at a given point in time. Instead, consider the entities (or nodes and individuals) as a stream of events. Every event has a real-valued time coordinate indicating when it occurs. If the event is not instantaneous, it also has an ending coordinate to indicate its duration. A node-event, for example, can describe a company that comes into existence on Jan 1, 1990 and then dissolves on June 1, 1996. Alternatively, a node event might describe a single observation of a node, such as an individual in a friendship survey wave done in 1995.

These images represent a movie of a classroom attention network built from a streaming record of interactions collected by Dan McFarland. The dataset consists of repeated observations of social interactions in over 150 high school classrooms during the 1996-97 school-year. In the network movie, the interaction was depicted from one of these class periods using 2.5 minute time slices (average tie value in each), a .5 minute delta, and multi-component Kamada-Kawai layout process. As such, there is a sliding window of 2.5 minutes of interaction always being shown. The authors selected this time-window because it is wide enough to capture enough of the interaction to represent fluid patterns or network forms, and narrow enough so as to not merge a variety of interaction routines together, thereby confounding meaningful configurations.

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