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Using Network Analysis to Study Classroom Communities

Fri., Jan. 18, 2019 3:30 p.m. - Fri., Jan. 18, 2019 4:30 p.m.

Location: CL 410

Contact: Pierre-Philippe Ouimet - 3063372238

Abstract: Community is key to learning in the participationist framework. The central premise of this perspective has been described by Rogoff, Matusov and White as “the idea that learning and development occur as people participate in the sociocultural activities of their community.” This view of learning is well supported by current research even if it has important limitations. To promote better student outcomes we, therefore, need to understand how classroom communities form and what factors influence their growth and development. Past work in Physics Education Research (PER) has shown that Social Network Analysis (SNA) is a tool that allows us to characterize classroom communities quantitatively. For example, using SNA it is possible to demonstrate a strong correlations between students’ class performance and features of their classroom social network. A correlation can also be demonstrated between features of the social network and student persistence in their programs. In this talk, I will describe a novel application of SNA using classroom video data that was explored in an attempt to understand the evolution of classroom community dynamics. I will begin by introducing Social Network Analysis and reviewing past work on SNA in the PER context. I will also discuss some of the legal, technical and intellectual challenges of human involved research and of the use of classroom video data specifically before discussing our work on combining video data with SNA. While the method proved in the end to have limited use I will argue that important lessons can still be drawn from the attempt.

Speaker: Dr. Pierre-Philippe Ouimet, Department of Physics, University of Regina