Visualized: A School Day as Data

Brandon Keim:

By putting RFIDs on children and monitoring their interactions over a single day, researchers have produced one of the most detailed analyses ever of the roiling, boiling social free-for-all that is school.
The findings, published August 16 in Public Library of Science One, document the minute-by-minute interactions and locations of 232 children aged 6 to 12 and 10 teachers.
Reconfigured as pulsing network maps and flows of color are the universal experiences of middle school: the between-class rush, playground cliques, snatched hallway conversation and the fifth-graders who are too cool for everyone else.
“We can compare different types of assumptions or modeling with a model that takes into account all interactions,” said Alain Barrat, who studies complex networks at the Institute of Scientific Interchange in Turin, Italy.