Network Science and Education Symposium

NetSciEd 2022: The Symposium on Network Science and Education will be held on July 11 and 12 online at the NetSci 2022 Conference, following the previous editions.

NetSciEd 2022 is an online venue to discuss anything related to network science and education, including educational activities to teach/learn network science and applications of network science to understand, model, and improve educational systems and practices. Teachers, students and education researchers are welcome to participate, and we look forward to further discussions about developing a network science curriculum for K-12 students.

Agenda NetSciEd 2022


NetSciEd 2022 will take place on 11–12 July 2022. We understand that some of the time slots may not be convenient for audiences in certain time zones. To increase participation from across the globe, we have picked different time slots for the two days:

1st Session: July 11, at 12 pm – 4 pm EDT (9 am –1 pm PDT; 6 pm –10 pm CEST; 12 am – 4 am CST (July 12))

2nd Session: July 12, at 7 pm –11 pm EDT (4 pm –8 pm PDT; 1 am –5 am CEST (July 13); 7 am – 11 am CST (July 13))

REGISTRATION: Attendees should formally register through the Conference's website:


Contributed oral presentations will be 15 minutes long in total (including both talk and Q & A). We also offer the option of prerecorded talks for participants who cannot make the live times. If you are interested in presenting at NetSciEd 2022, please submit a brief abstract to Evelyn Panagakou ( and Ralucca Gera ( by 17 June 2022. Your abstract should:

* Include the title of your presentation, the list of authors and their affiliations, and the contact information (e-mail address) of the corresponding author.

* Include a summary of your presentation (up to 300 words).

* Be formatted as a single PDF file (maximum 2 pages including figures/tables, if any).

Please indicate if you will be able to attend the Satellite or if your talk will be prerecorded.


Topics to be discussed at the Satellite include but are not limited to:

  • Outreach activities, tools, and materials

  • Curricular development and practices for teaching network science

  • Use of network science concepts and tools to teach traditional subjects in K–12 education

  • Teacher education

  • Informal education

  • Network modeling and analysis of educational systems, curricular materials, classroom/school dynamics

  • Applications of network science for the improvement of education


Catherine Cramer (Woods Hole Institute, USA, )

Ralucca Gera (Naval Postgraduate School, USA, — Main Contact)

Evelyn (Evangelia) Panagakou (Northeastern University, USA — Main Contact)

Mason A. Porter (UCLA, USA, )

Hiroki Sayama (Binghamton University, USA, )

Massimo Stella (University of Exeter, UK,

Stephen Uzzo (New York Hall of Science, USA, )


Title: Applying Network Science to Knowledge Mobilization: The Role of Social Opportunity Spaces
Alan Daly - University of California San Diego; Martin Rehm - University of Education - Weingarten, Germany; Mimi Lockton - University of California San Diego; Anita Caduff - University of California San Diego

A network science approach offers a promising avenue for tackling the ongoing challenge of how to mobilize timely, high-quality knowledge and resources into the hands of educators who need them. Social networks, as a core part of social media channels can be instrumental in mobilizing resources, but the sheer quantity of information and users in online spaces can make it difficult for those producing much-needed resources to effectively reach and engage educators and policy-makers who could most benefit. We use network science to help equity-focused knowledge brokers better access and leverage their Social Opportunity Spaces (SOS), which exist at the intersections of three domains: content, communities, and users. Drawing upon data from Twitter, we combine social network analysis with natural language processing to identify influential online communities and users and the ways in which particular content moves through these networks. By leveraging the networks in these domains, brokers can employ targeted strategies to better engage those who could most benefit from their resources and better mobilize knowledge through networks.

Title: Connecting the Dots: Network Science in the High School Classroom
Kathryn Farley - Sewanhaka High School, Elmont, NY, US

Some of the most meaningful educational experiences allow students the opportunity to engage with high level science on the cutting edge of research and technology. Over the 2021-2022 school year, three teachers from Title 1 public high schools in New York expanded on a summer workshop opportunity to bring Network Science to their everyday classrooms. Through biweekly meetings with NetSciEd members, together they explored relevant terminology, developed introductory activities, and reflected on making graduate level coursework accessible to students of color. This talk explores the entry points, activities, and future goals of the group.

Title: A personalized educational framework and prototype
Ralucca Gera - Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, CA, US

The modern educational ecosystem is not one-size fits all. Students are accustomed to personalization in their everyday life and expect the same from education systems. Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic placed us all in an acute teaching and learning laboratory experimentation which now creates expectations of self-paced learning and interactions with focused educational materials. Consequently, we present a framework that offers content choices and multiple modalities of engagement to support self-paced learning and propose an approach to personalized education based on network science and data mining. This framework brings attention to learning experiences, rather than teaching experiences, by providing the learner engagement and content choices supported by a network of knowledge based on and driven by individual skills and goals. We further discuss a proposed prototype of such a learning platform, called CHUNK Learning.

Title: Using Network Tools for Student Engagement
Ann McCranie & Maksymilian Szostalo - Indiana University, Bloomington IN, US

Net.Create is a web-based collaborative social network analysis data entry and visualization tool that was developed for history classroom use, but can be used in a variety of contexts. We will discuss a recent application of it in a history class about pandemics taught in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic and how it supported group-based remote learning. McCranie and Szostalo, two members of the Net.Create team will talk about the implications for student engagement in the classroom (remote and in-person) and the Net.Create tool in other contexts.

Title: Network science in primary school
Clara Stegehuis - University of Twente, Netherlands

Several papers have highlighted the potential of network science to appeal to high school children. However, network science also provides a great topic for outreach activities for primary school children, though the topics and materials need to be tailored to these age groups. I will present an outreach activity on network science for primary school children aged 8–12 years including experiments, exercises, and quizzes. These can all be used by other scientists interested in popularizing network science. I will then discuss the lessons learned from this material: what works and what does not work?

Title: Complexity and Education: A Network Approach to Curriculum Design

Ashuwin Vaidya - Montclair State University

In this presentation I will argue that education, especially at the scale of curriculum, should be treated as a complex system composed of different ideas and concepts which are inherently connected. The task of a good teacher lies in elucidating these connections and helping students make their own connections. Such a pedagogy allows students to personalize learning and strive to be ‘creative’ and make meaning out of old ideas. To investigate our hypothesis, we take the example of a precalculus course curriculum. Precalculus is an important ‘bridge course’ taken by students in high schools and college alike linking school mathematics curriculum to that of a college course. However, the skills acquired in this course are useful to students in all STEM disciplines. Therefore we feel that an examination of the curricular complexity of such a course can be widely revealing. We treat precalculus textbooks as exemplars of a specific pedagogy and map several texts into networks of isolated (nodes) and interconnected concepts (edges) thereby permitting computations of metrics which have much relevance to the education theorists, teachers and all others involved in the field of education. We contend that these network metrics provide valuable insights to teachers and students about the kind of pedagogy which encourages good teaching and learning. The lessons of this analysis go beyond simply precalculus or even a mathematics course and can be more generally applied to any discipline. Some additional, newer results, on the evolution of teaching and learning networks will also be presented. These evolutionary networks based on the learning curve theory in psychology and classroom student surveys give us clues about how students’ learning trajectories, i.e. how their meaning making improves in time.

Title: Social networks, innovation, and learner-centered education

Devin Vodicka - Learner Centered Collaborative

The diffusion of innovation is impacted by the degree of social connection. Often, the underlying social structures are predictive of the depth and speed of change. This session will focus on building community and how to draw on the collective wisdom that is essential for successful, deep and lasting change. Participants will learn about the benefits that emerge as resources and expertise are exchanged through relationships. Then, they will be shown research and examples that allow for the diffusion of innovation to spread through social networks.


Title: Network Science and Career-Connected LearningSilvia Fierascu - West University of Timisoara, Romania; Ianis Rusitoru - West University of Timisoara, Romania; Alexandra Florea - Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany & West University of Timisoara, Romania

The project ConnecTM (“connect me”) is a career-connected learning program developed with the aim to better prepare undergraduates for data-related careers in research and communication, by crafting a positive learning environment using technology, purpose-driven challenges, collaboration and experiential learning activities together with professionals. The 150+ students enrolled in the Introduction to Network Science class and Analysis of Digital Data class, developed over 70 network and data science projects using original data collected, as well as reusing existing data. Eight student teams were involved in partnerships with local and national civic, public, and research organizations. More than 80% of the students enrolled in the network science class were first semester, first year undergraduates in Digital Media, during the 2021-2022 academic year. Taught entirely online, due to covid restrictions, student projects included network-mapping methodologies for community-discovery and community-building, analyses of thematic ecosystems, financial flows, book & TV-series, videogame (live) mapping, events mapping, twitter hashtag analyses, and many others. Additionally third-year BA students in Digital Media analyzed all public data made available by the Timisoara City Hall in the course Analysis of Digital Data. Consequently, several student teams have further pursued funding applications with projects developed in class, and three teams won grants worth 27.000 € on projects developed in partnership with local organizations, including an RD&I startup on air quality measurement, the local administration, and the civil society. ConnecTM features three elements of promoting student-driven work in the community: a public data visualization exhibition (, a digital platform for exploring projects and student profiles, including students ready for work (ConnecTM), as well as a project and process presentation catalogue (KATA.LOG) dedicated to employers. In this talk, we would like to present the measured effects of one semester of university studies, entirely online, for some of these students, and the overall interaction effects between formal and informal student communities in UVT. We would also like to discuss the teaching methodology and ways to improve the process and program impact in further iterations.

Title: Network Science for All: Strategies for Bridging STEM Research, Education, and Career Development to Improve Student Achievement

Paola Carpio - Sociedad Latina, Roxbury, Massachusetts, USA; Deyja Enriquez - Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Luis Esquivel - Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Kimberly Howard - Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Mica Jadick - Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Cecilia Nardi - Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Chong Myung Park - Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Angelica Rodriguez - Sociedad Latina, Roxbury, Massachusetts, USA; V. Scott Solberg - Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Paul Trunfio - Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts, USA

The Network Science for All initiative aims to complement and expand the longstanding efforts of the NetSciEd Community. The project team redesigned the previously developed Network Science for All curriculum to be suitable for remote or classroom learning contexts. The aim of the project is to develop middle school data science skills self-efficacy as well as to incorporate career development activities that expand their awareness of how data science skills transfer across a wide range (over 500) of future occupations. Our ultimate aim is to increase motivation to engage in high school and out-of-school STEM learning opportunities by helping youth establish a STEM Career Identity. A total of 33 lessons were created, including 15 NetSci and 18 career development lessons that are culturally responsive and available as open-access. The program involves both academic year and summer programs for principally Latin-x middle school students in Boston. At the end of each academic year, students participate in Civic Engagement as a work-based learning project whereby students considered how they can apply what they learned about network science to support their community. As a summative evaluation of the summer experience, 26 youth constructed career narratives about their current goals and plans for the future (15 at pretest and 11 at posttest). At the pretest, youth were unable to provide concrete career or future goals. Sample pretest responses included: “finding my dream job” and “helping my society develop.” At the end of the summer, some of the youth were able to identify clear STEM-related future goals: “being a pediatrician” and “working in NASA.” We also evaluated the students’ social and emotional learning skills at multiple points, including their motivation and engagement with learning. Impacted by the continuing interruptions in their learning due to the pandemic and remote learning, the overall level of motivation among students decreased from fall 2020 (N = 9, M = 2.93) to spring 2021 (N = 16, M = 2.70) to summer 2021 (N = 12, M = 2.55). Responses to an open-ended question on challenges students were experiencing indicated that four out of nine students were concerned about outside factors they could not control (e.g., internet connection, Zoom, distraction at home) in fall 2020. In spring 2021, only one out of 16 students had a COVID-related concern. Students are now expressing concerns related to developing English skills and/or receiving good grades. We will discuss our current efforts to expand the number of middle school students who are able to gain access to our network science and career development lessons. In particular, we are collaborating with Massachusetts’ GEAR-UP, housed in the Department of Higher Education as well as with additional after-school programs in Boston. Through these additional partnerships our aim is to connect with middle school GEAR-UP programs located throughout the state.

Title: Representing the SDGs as a thematic network that supports learning and systemic change

Sharon Zivkovic - Wicked Lab; Community Capacity Builders

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) consist of 17 interlinked global goals that have been designed to provide a blueprint for creating a better and more sustainable future. They were adopted by all 193 Member States of the United Nations in 2015 and it is intended that they be achieved by 2030. While the interconnectivities and synergies between the SDGs is recognised, up until know there has not been an online tool that enables communities to visualise the synergies between SDG targets and address the multiplier effects that action in one area can have on other areas. Wicked Lab’s new Thematic SDGs Network Map software feature is targeting this need: it supports community stakeholders to understand, manage and make use of the interrelations between the SDG targets that they are focusing on and the other SDGs. The Thematic SDGs Network Map is based on Le Blanc’s (2015) ‘The SDGs as a network of targets’ map which focuses on thematic SDGs and thematic SDG targets. Of the 17 SDGs, 16 are thematic goals, and of the 169 SDG targets, 107 cover a thematic area. Le Blanc’s (2015) map shows that the thematic goals and targets can be displayed as a network: the thematic goals and targets are displayed as nodes and the interrelationships between the nodes are displayed as edges. Wicked Lab’s Thematic SDGs Network Map software feature shows the mapping of solution ecosystems to thematic SDG targets as a network graph. A solution ecosystem consists of all the initiatives that are addressing any of the underpinning causal factors of a targeted complex wicked problem in a place. During this presentation Wicked Lab’s software will be introduced. Then a case study will be used to demonstrate how the Thematic SDGs Network Map software feature is being used in practice.

Title Explaining How of COVID-19 Spreads in Physical and Social Networks Using NetworkX and Flourish Studio

Hong Qu - Northeastern University

The COVID-19 pandemic has showcased network science as an essential tool for understanding and forecasting viral infections. It presents a unique opportunity to visually illustrate the core principles of complex networks to a general audience. We created a tutorial and presentation using two software tools, NetworkX and Flourish Studio, to analyze and visualize a variety of graphs models to depict their structure (lattice versus versus random), their representativeness of real world social networks, and their conduciveness to spreading the virus. The main learning goals are to describe how homophily leads to higher than random clustering and how preferential attachment leads to hubs that exhibit scale free degree distribution. NetworkX can be used to generate synthetic graphs and analyze their properties such as degree distribution, clustering coefficient, and centrality. Flourish Studio can be used to visualize these graphs. This tutorial uses interactive Jupyter Notebooks and Flourish Studio visualizations to invite the public to comprehend how the two network properties (clustering and scale free) of social graphs are integral network concepts for modeling epidemic outbreaks.

Title: Addressing stance detection in STEM through development of Mindset Stream Networks

Kieran Brian; Massimo Stella - CogNosco Lab, Department of Computer Science, University of Exeter, Exeter, UK

We propose a versatile and informative network science methodology which detects stance through quantitative results using association data. A component of this methodology is Mindset Stream Networks (MSNs) which model a person’s sequential thought process and extract sentiment using network and cognitive science techniques. We display the effectiveness of MSNs by comparing the stances of 159 students and 59 experts relating to Science Technology Engineering and Maths (STEM) topics. Using a free associations task applied to both groups formulates a dataset of STEM-related keywords and the associative links and emotional perceptions of words present for each group. Using this data, we construct MSNs by taking two conceptual keywords and displaying the associative pathways between them. Through statistical network metrics, which analyse the sentiment composition and influence of associative pathways, we can ascertain the emotional structure of a subject’s “train of thought” and determine concepts which influence stance. Figures 1 and 2 shown below display students’ and experts’ visual and statistical output using “fun” and “physics” as the conceptual targets of interest. Experts show unambivalent positive emotion in their train of thought which is not present in the highly conflicting emotions of students. This study’s results highlight concepts that dictate the stance and, therefore, the involvement of students in STEM environments. Awareness of these concepts may assist with circular reform to improve student perception of STEM.

Note: The figures are available at the end of the page.

Title: Insight-Driven Analysis of Co-authorship Networks in Philippine State Universities and Colleges
Marvee dela Resma; Patrick Guillano La Rosa; Miguel Carlo Pingol; Christian Alfred Soriano; Damian Dailisan; Michael Dorosan; Erika Fille Legara - Asian Institute of Management, Aboitiz School of Innovation, Technology and Entrepreneurship, Makati, Philippines

Here, we present insights into the existing collaboration dynamics of state universities and colleges (SUC) in the Philippines. Ultimately, the objective is to contribute to optimizing the R&D productivity of SUCs, a critical component in the generation of new knowledge, fostering innovation, and the long-term economic development of a developing country. In our approach, we identified three progressive profile sets of SUC co-authorship networks (Figure 1) that can be useful in crafting strategies to further collaborations. To wit, networks in Profile 1 were found to be highly disconnected with no prominent components; instead, they consist of dyads, small star-like networks (ego), and small isolated cliques. We also differentiated between co-authorship networks comparable to small-world networks (Profile 2) and Profile 3, which implicates the emergence of large components from the eventual linkage of smaller components found in both Profile 1 and 2. From here, university-level policies are suggested to improve or develop research collaboration systems. We also performed exploratory network analysis to identify critical entities in the networks, exploring various centrality measures focused on insights-extraction. As part of the descriptive analysis, we also extracted network communities (Figure 2) that may be significant in helping funding agencies identify relevant R&D programs for various SUCs.


The authors would like to acknowledge the Philippine Commission on Higher Education through Dr. Corazon Abansi and Avereen Tibalao for discussions and valuable domain insights.

Note: The figures are available at the end of the page.

Title: Costly Moves: Consequences of School Transitions for Students’ Social Networks and Grades

Diane Felmlee and Haoyang Zhang - Pennsylvania State University

School transitions represent crucial turning points in students’ lives. Extensive research documents declines in adolescents’ grades from middle to high school, with serious academic consequences for a number of individuals. Yet we lack systematic evidence on the influence of school transitions in which direct comparisons are made between students who change schools and those who do not change schools. In this study we investigated the effect of normative, structural transitions to high school on adolescents’ friendship networks and their grades in a quasi-experimental design that contrasts those who change schools from middle to high school with those who remain in the same school (Felmlee, McMillan, Inara Rodis, and Osgood 2018). We drew on data from 14,462 adolescents in 51 networks from 26 districts (PROSPER). Findings demonstrate the difficulties associated with compulsory school changes. According to a three-level Poisson model, students who transition to a new high school between eighth and ninth grade, as compared to those who do not, receive fewer friendship nominations and obtain lower grades following the move. In a follow-up project, here we examine the influence of other types of transitions -- residential location moves and school transfers -- on students’ social networks and academic performance. Our sample of 20,147 consists of students in 5th to 6th grades in 56 schools in New Jersey (Changing Climates of Conflict: A Social Network Experiment in 56 Schools). Academic performance is measured by GPA, with an average of 3.11. Transitions were typically costly for students, with higher GPA’s for those who remained in the same school and location, as compared to those who transferred to a new school or re- located residentially, with some exceptions. Next, we investigate the effect of these transitions on adolescents’ friendship networks. Current findings point to notable costs for many young people associated with school changes.

Title: Network Science for Preservice Elementary Educators

Amanda Beecher; Hannah Salemi; Jessica Gryczko - Ramapo College of New Jersey, Mahwah, NJ

Early in their lives, children learn the concept of relationships between individuals. For many students, they have an intuitive understanding of these relationship connections and their resulting structures (families, friends, neighborhood, etc.) during their elementary school years. This intuition and these informal concepts are sufficient to give educators an exciting and meaningful entre into network science. However, there is a barrier to this opportunity in that few students have teachers that are familiar and comfortable with this growing and important area of science. This talk will discuss preliminary attempts to introduce these concepts in a course Math for Elementary Educators and feature student projects.

Below you can see the figures mentioned in abstract by Kieran Brian and Massimo Stella in Addressing stance detection in STEM through development of Mindset Stream Networks.

Below you can see the figures mentioned in the abstract by Marvee dela Resma, Patrick Guillano La Rosa, Miguel Carlo Pingol, Christian Alfred Soriano, Damian Dailisan, Michael Dorosan, Erika Fille Legara, in Insight-Driven Analysis of Co-authorship Networks in Philippine State Universities and Colleges.

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