Recent Publications

Learning Basic Astronomy Through an Embodied and Interactive Approach

Shaikh, R., Padalkar, S., Sutar, P. and Kumar, A., “Learning Basic Astronomy Through an Embodied and Interactive Approach”, International Conference to review research in Science Technology and Mathematics Education, 2020. Download PDF file

Students and adults struggle to understand the explanations of simple astronomical phenomena. Research has shown that much of the difficulty lies with students’ difficulty to use visuospatial reasoning. Drawing on research on embodied cognition, multimodality and multimedia learning, a short pedagogic sequence called ‘Basic Astronomy module’ was designed around multiple external representations such as concrete models, gestures, roleplays, animations, interactive digital games and diagrams. In the present study, we closely monitored the implementation of the module by seven teachers in government schools in Jaipur district of Rajasthan, India to study the teaching-learning process through the module and its effectiveness. In this paper,we will document the learning outcomes of the module in terms of conceptual understanding, attitudes and beliefs. Results show that students ’understanding of basic astronomy concepts improved significantly after completion of the module; Additionally, students’ beliefs and attitudes towards science and specifically towards astronomy changed.


Impact of computer-mediated sharing on classroom activities

Shaikh Rafikh, Harita Raval, Harshit Agrawal, and G. Nagarjuna, “Impact of computer-mediated sharing on classroom activities.”, The 14th International Congress on Mathematical Education Shanghai, 2020. Download PDF file

Many teaching-learning applications have a computer-mediated sharing feature and it is important that we study its role in the teaching-learning process in detail. The present study, which is a part of the larger study, probes the impact of the computer-mediated sharing feature on classroom activities. 45 students who belonged to a 4th-grade classroom were divided into two groups. One group has worked on a version of a digital game where each student played with the computer individually, whereas another group has worked on the version where a group of students played with each other mediated by networked computers. One classroom session from each setting was video recorded and analyzed. In this paper, we present the findings of the video analysis.


The STEM Games

Nagarjuna G., “The STEM Games”, ICTS Newsletter, Volume 4, Issue 2, pp.7-9, International Centre for Theoretical Sciences, TIFR, 2018. Download PDF file

We often speak about the sorry state of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) and STEM education in India. We recognize the problem, but do not appear to have a strategy to improve the situation. This is not to say there are no honest attempts at improvement, but they have, at best, worked in minimal conditions. In this short note, we present a model-driven picture with the hope that this may help us understand the problem and, hopefully, find a road toward good STEM policy and practice. [Also published as a blog here, where you can discuss and comment.](https://x.metastudio.org/t/the-stem-games/145)


Zone of Proximal Development in the Era of Connected Computers

Rafikh Shaikh, Amit Dhakulkar, G. Nagarjuna, “Zone of Proximal Development in the Era of Connected Computers”, In S. Ladage and S. Narvekar (Eds.), Proceedings of epiSTEME7: Seventh International Conference to Review Research on Science, TEchnology and Mathematics Education, HBCSE (pp. 214-221). India: CinnamonTeal. 2018 Download PDF file


Distributing Justice in a Digital Society

Nagarjuna G., “Distributing Justice in a Digital Society”, Breakthrough: A Journal for Science and Society, Volume 20, Issue 3, Breakthrough Science Society, 2018. Download PDF file

This article is on the politics of media, covering both digital and non-digital media. The primary purpose of this short article is to bring home the point that the current political powers, all around the world, are using the ‘new’ digital medium to make ‘old’ governing systems more powerful, rather than empowering citizens, although most of the governments of nations themselves claim to sustain and work towards democracy. We will discuss centralised regulation and decentralised regulation of media, and relate this to the concepts of copyright and copy left . A political movement has taken shape to address the issue, which is called free software movement , and this has inescapable implications to several aspects of our lives, wherever digitisation of culture impacts and effects. [Also published as a blog here, where you can discuss and comment.](https://x.metastudio.org/t/distributing-justice-in-a-digital-society/160)


Instant Sharing in Computer Aided Classroom

Rafikh Shaikh, Harshit Agrawal, Nagarjuna G., and Mrunal Nachankar, “Instant Sharing Makes Task More Engaging in Computer Aided Classroom”, Proceedings of CSCL, pp. 609-612 2017. Download PDF file

With the advent of networked computers sharing of information and artifacts have become very convenient. From online multi-player games to social networking sites, instant sharing has become the norm of the day. Educational tools are trying to harness sharing as a potential tool to engage students in learning processes. But, does sharing lead to an improvement in academic performance? The present study investigates the role of instant sharing in the context of learning in a classroom setting. Two groups of students, from a suburban school in Mumbai, India, played an arithmetic game over a period of 7-8 months. The experimental group played on a platform that supported instant sharing, while the platform for the control group was standalone. All other aspects of both platforms were same. Analysis of process data of the two groups reveals that instant sharing increased engagement with the game. Students from control group lost interest in the game after some days, while experimental group students remained active on it till the end of the four-month period.


Slate for every child: rethinking education in the age of computers

Amit Dhakulkar, Rafikh Shaikh, “A slate for every child: rethinking education in the age of computers” Teacher Plus Magazine, 15. 30-33, May-June 2017. Download PDF file

Most of the ideas in this article have come from SeymourPapert, the main proponent of constructionism. Papert passed away in 2016 after meeting with a near fatal accident a fewyears ago. We use parables and ideas from Papert and our experience with children, computers and constructionism to make arguments in this article. A few years ago after a talk which exemplified the use ofcomputers in novel ways, one of the authors (Amit Dhakulkar)was asked this question (not verbatim, but close): “So, considering that the activity that you have designed requires a computer and expEYES (an indigenous hardware for collecting data), how can you scale it up to schools which have millions of children?” The author was expecting this question and the short answer to that was: “You give a million computers to a million children!”


Analyzing Instant Messaging Environment as Learning-Teaching Tool

Rafikh Shaikh, Rachana Katkam, Nagarjuna G., “Analyzing Instant Messaging Environment as a Learning-Teaching Tool”, Proceedings of the Workshop on Computer Based Learning Environments for Deep Learning in Inquiry and Problem Solving Contexts, The Pre-Conference Workshop at ICLS, Singapore, 2016. Download PDF file


Semantic Reference Set of Linking Words for Concept Mapping in Biology

Meena Kharatmal and G. Nagarjuna, “Using Semantic Reference Set of Linking Words for Concept Mapping in Biology”, In A. Canas, P. Reiska & J. Novak (Eds.) Innovating with concept mapping. Communications in computer and information science series (Vol. 635, pp. 315-329). Springer International Publisher., 2016. Download PDF file

Inspired by the semantic network studies we propose additional conventions for choosing linking words and arrive at a Reference Set of semantically well-defined linking words drawn from the Knowledge Representation area of research in the domain of biology. Each linking word in the set is assigned a dimension: part-whole, class-inclusion, spatial-inclusion, function and attribution. We study expert representations by content analysis of biology texts at three levels of increasing subject complexity. We compare the linking words used in these representations with the Reference Set and find an increasing degree of proximity to the latter. This indicates that experts tend touse more well-defined linking words. Regarding this proximity as a characteristic of expertise, we can encourage novices to re-represent their concept maps using the linking words from the Reference Set. We discuss the implications of the approach for science education.


Measuring the mustard seed: measurement and mathematical modelling

Amit Dhakulkar, Nagarjuna G, and Samir Dhurde, “Measuring the mustard seed: an exercise in indirect measurement and mathematical modelling”, School Science Review, Number 356, p. 063-068, 2015. Download PDF file

We designed a simple teaching/learning activity from real life using commonly available mustard seeds as an introduction to mathematical modelling, using a cluster of trans- disciplinary skills and concepts. As a first exercise for middle or high school students in indirect measurement using physical and mathematical modelling, we present here a simple task where students are asked to find the average diameter of mustard seeds. The resulting observations lead to a simple linear mathematical model which has accessible physical basis from the real world. This simple task also provides a rich opportunity and a context to learn several topics in measurement, modelling, graphicacy and statistics. We present this as a template to be used for developing a series of activities for learning indirect measurements, physical and mathematical models.

KeyWords: mathematical modelling, real world data, graphicacy, indirect measurement, graphs,


Finite-size effects in the dependency networks of FOSS

Rajiv Nair, G. Nagarjuna and Arnab K. Ray, “Finite-size effects in the dependency networks of free and open-source software”, Complex Systems, Vol. 23, 2014. Download PDF file

We propose a continuum model for the degree distribution of directed networks in free and open-source software. The degree distributions of links in both the in-directed and out-directed dependency networks follow Zipf’s law for the intermediate nodes, but the heavily linked nodes and the poorly linked nodes deviate from this trend and exhibit finite-size effects. The finite-size parameters make a quantitative distinction between the in-directed and out-directed networks. For the out-degree distribution, the initial condition for a dynamic evolution corresponds to the limiting count of the most heavily liked nodes that the out-directed network can finally have. The number of nodes contributing out-directed links grows with every generation of software release, but this growth ultimately saturates towards a terminal value due tothe finiteness of semantic possibilities in the network.

Keywords: Structures and organization in complex systems;Systems obeying scaling laws; Networks; Computer systems.


Extending Concept Mapping to Lattices for Representing Biology

Meena Kharatmal, “A Proposal to Extend Concept Mapping to Concept Lattices for Representing Biology” in Summer School on “Methodology of task design – How to construct exercises for learning” Technische Universität Dresden, Dresden, Germany , 22 – 27 September 2014. Download PDF file

Textbook biology knowledge is being represented as triples using concept maps. These triples can be extended to create concept lattices by representing objects and attributes in relation. By focusing on the nature of semantic relations, concept neighbourhood lattices can be generated for dependencies, associations. By representing the changes in the attributes of objects in time, concept lattices of dynamic propositions can be generated. As the knowledge base for the study is textbook biology, this research on using concept lattices in school, college biology education can be further developed with focusing on teaching learning, cognitive assessment.

Keywords. Concept mapping, concept lattices, formal concept analysis, assessment, knowledge structure, biology


Towards a Model of Life and Cognition

Nagarjuna G., “Towards a Model of Life and Cognition”, in Foundations of Science, B. V. Sreekantan, Ed. Centre for Studies in Civilizations, Pergamon Press, pp. 694–737, 2014. Download PDF file

This essay is an attempt to answer the question: What should be the ontological foundation/s of the world that makes living and cognitive beings possible? For natural scientists this question can be translated to: What are the basic assumptions needed to build a science of life and cognition? It is possible to deal with the questions pertaining to life and cognition independently, but the point of addressing them together is due to an increasing awareness among scholars that they share a similar if not an identical foundation. Since I consider this connection between life and cognition a great insight, I would like to pursue further to explore the deeper interdependence in this essay. Most of the essay is a description of a hypothetical but a logically possible world with a defined ontological base, followed by indicating how a model based on the alternative foundations can indeed explain the actual world.


Past Publications

Representing Change Using Concept Maps

Meena Kharatmal & Nagarjuna G., “Representing Change Using Concept Maps”, Proceedings of epiSTEME 5, International Conference to Review Research on Science, TEchnology and Mathematics Education 2013. Download PDF file

While concept maps have been quite extensively used to represent static descriptions, it has not been used for its full potential for representing changes or processes. We propose a template and a limited set of linking phrases for representing change, with partial amendments in the concept mapping technique and the CmapTools. Usually, a process is represented in a object-centric manner specifying the object’s role in it. In this proposal, we suggest a process-centric strategy with certain heuristics for representing processes. Considering the view that a process is a name to a change of state of an object involving time, sequence, causes, we make necessary proposals to the vocabulary and the form of representing a process. We end with a discussion on implications of this proposal to science education and concept mapping in general.


Socialising Mathematics: Learning of arithmetic using chat application

Rafikh Shaikh, G. Nagarjuna, Sanjay Chandrasekharan, “Socialising Mathematics: Collaborative, Constructive and Distributed learning of arithmetic using a chat application”, In Nagarjuna G., Arvind Jamakhandi, and Ebie M. Sam (Eds.) Procceedings of epiSTEME-5, pp.321-327, 2013. Download PDF file

We report an exploratory study that examined the educational possibilities through a verbal messaging application (chat), and show that this activity has the potential for effectively teaching mathematical concepts. Communicating in a virtual chat room allows children to become literate, as well as situate themselves in a social environment. Because of the latter possibility, children look forward to this activity with lot of motivation and interest. We modified some rules of the virtual chat room in the Sugar Learning Platform to facilitate development of arithmetic skills like addition, subtraction and multiplication. We present the highlights of this chat room experiment, and outline the insights gained from the analysis of the logs collected over five months from a group of 15 tribal village students (3rd and 4th grade).


Proceedings of epiSTEME 5

Nagarjuna G., Arvind Jamakhandi, Ebie M. Sam, “International Conference to Review Research on Science, TEchnology and Mathematics Education”, 2013. Download PDF file


Measuring the Mustard Seed: First Exercise in Modelling the Real World

Amit Dhakulkar, Samir Dhurde & Nagarjuna G., “Measuring the Mustard Seed: First Exercise in Modelling the Real World”. Proceedings of epiSTEME 5, International Conference to Review Research on Science, TEchnology and Mathematics Education, 2013 Download PDF file

Constructing, reading and understanding graphs is an inter disciplinary and important skill in today’s world. Though being such an important skill students are not taught explicitly to develop this important skill. Also there has been an urge in the literature for the students to use real world data to make sense ofthe concepts that they learn. In general students are not provided with opportunities to make the skill explicit, and link it up with their life experiences the concepts and subjects that they learn. We present here a simple task which provides the students a context in which real world data is collected, and used to construct a simple linear mathematical model. This task connects different skills like measurement, graphicacy, mathematical modelling and at the same time also helps a two way transition between the abstract mathematical world and the concrete physical world.


CUBE: Re-Structuring Undergraduate Biology Education

Shraddha Ghumre, Nagarjuna G. & M. C. Arunan, “Collaborative Undergraduate Biology Research: Re-Structuring Undergraduate Biology Education in India”, Proceedings of epiSTEME 5, International Conference to Review Research on Science, TEchnology and Mathematics Education, 2013 Download PDF file

This work is an effort to convert undergraduate college laboratories into contemporary, open-ended interactive, inquiry-driven and collaborative research laboratories and hence bridge the gap between practice and theory of biology. The programme Collaborative Undergraduate Biology Education (CUBE), as the name suggests, is an invitation to young researchers at the undergraduate level into the nature of scientific inquiry through its essential component of collaboration. Our aim is to design 'functional learning ecologies' by means of simple model systems to facilitate collaborative undergraduate research in the frontiers of biology.


Conceptual Structures for STEM Research and Education

Heather D. Pfeiffer, Dmitry I. Ignatov, Jonas Poelmans, Nagarjuna Gadiraju, “Conceptual Structures for STEM Research and Education” 20th International Conference on Conceptual Structures, 2013. Download PDF file


Features of complex networks in FOSS OS

Rajiv Nair, G Nagarjuna, Arnab K Ray, “Features of complex networks in a free-software operating system” International Conference on Recent Trends in Physics, 2012. Download PDF file

We propose a mathematical model to fit the degree distribution of directed dependency networks in free and open-source software. In this complex system, the intermediate scales of both the in-directed and out-directed dependency networks follow a power-law trend (specifically Zipf’s law). Deviations from this feature are found both for the highly linked nodes, and the poorly linked nodes. This is due to finite-size effects in the networks, and the parameters needed to model finite-size behaviour make a quantitative distinction between the in-directed and out-directed networks. We also provide a model to describe the dynamic evolution of the network, and account for its saturation in the long-time limit.


An analysis of graphs in school textbooks

Amit Dhakulkar and Nagarjuna G, “An analysis of graphs in school textbooks”. Proceedings of epiSTEME 4 International Conference to Review Research on Science, Technology and Mathematics Education, Mumbai, pp. 127–131., 2011 Download PDF file

We present here an analysis of school textbooks with graphs and related activities as the point of focus. The sample textbooks that we have considered for the analysis are NCERT textbooks (from Grade 5 to Grade 10, in the subjects of Science, Mathematics and Social Sciences). A quantitative analysis is done on frequency of occurrence, types and features of the graphs present in the different textbooks. We observe that the graphs are under-represented in the school textbooks. Considering the importance of the ability to read, construct and interpret graphs in science and mathematics education we recommend strongly that in the future edition of textbooks graphs should be properly represented.

Keywords: Critical graphicacy, Textbook analysis, Graphs.


Analysis of Growth of Knowledge based on Concepts and Predicates

M. Kharatmal and G. Nagarjuna, “An Analysis of Growth of Knowledge based on Concepts and Predicates,” in In S. Chunawala and M. Kharatmal (Eds.) Proceedings of epiSTEME 4 International Conference to Review Research on Science, Technology and Mathematics Education, Mumbai, 2011, pp. 144–149. Download PDF file

Using the methodology of Refined Concept Mapping, we re- represent the domain of cell biology of secondary and higher secondary levels of textbooks. In this study, we demonstrate that although the number of concept terms increase progressively, the predicate terms achieve constancy depicting a finite set. This indicates that for acquiring expertise in a domain, a finite set of predicate terms is sufficient. In this paper, we illustrate the methodology and discuss the pedagogical implications of the study.

Keywords: Refined concept map, Predicates, Attributes, Knowledge representation, Cell biology


Epicyclical Astronomy: A case for Geogebra

Amit Dhakulkar and Nagarjuna G., “Epicyclical Astronomy: A case for Geogebra”. Proceedings of epiSTEME 4 International Conference to Review Research on Science, Technology and Mathematics Education, Mumbai, pp. 324–328, 2011 Download PDF file

Epicycles were historically used by the ancient Greeks to explain the retrograde motion of planets. This episode in history of science is used as a case to show how we can use computer simulations to visualize complex, abstract ideas and difficult to imagine constructions. We present here a method developed using the dynamic mathematics software GeoGebra, to teach the concept of epicycles.

Keywords: GeoGebra, Astronomy education, Epicycles,Visualization, Constructionism.


Developing a primer for constructing and analyzing conceptual structures

G.Nagarjuna and M. Kharatmal, “Proposal for developing a primer for constructing and analyzing conceptual structures,” in Proceedings of the 19th international conference on Conceptual structures for discovering knowledge, 2011, pp. 402–405. Download PDF file

A rationale and proposal for developing a primer for teaching-learning of conceptual structures is presented. The skills re- quired and developed by an engagement of constructing and analyzing conceptual structures are richer and easier to be dealt with in school education. The teaching-learning context of CS is fundamental and im- portant enough to introduce the topics from logic, philosophy, computer science and linguistics. A proposal is made for the formation of a special interest group for the primer.

Keywords: primer, conceptual structures, education, knowledge repre- sentation, propositions, logic, philosophy, teaching-learning.


Building Dependency Network for Teaching-Learning of Conceptual Structures

Nagarjuna G., Meena Kharatmal, Rajiv Nair, “Building a Dependency Network for Teaching-Learning of Conceptual Structures”, Proceedings of the International Workshop CS-LTA 2010, The First Conceptual Structures – Learning, Teaching and Assessment Workshop, Kuching, Malaysia 26 July 2010. Download PDF file

We propose in this paper a simple method to construct a machine processable semantic network, called a dependency network, that gathers all the concepts and skills as nodes and the relation type “depends on”, (and its inverse “required for”), as their edges. As a conceptual structure can be used to compute a roadmap of any learning- teaching objective. As a prelude we build and contribute a seed graph for demonstration and introduce a collaborative portal for contributing, publishing and dynamically building dependency networks. A possible generalization of this methodology for knowledge organization is discussed.


Introducing Rigor in Concept Maps

Meena Kharatmal and G. Nagarjuna, “Introducing Rigor in Concept Maps”, M. Croitoru, S. Ferr ́e, and D. Lukose (Eds.): ICCS 2010, LNAI 6208, pp. 199–202, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg, 2010. Download PDF file

Although concept maps have been found to be effective inscience education research, these are critiqued for being informal dueto informal usage of relation and attribute names thereby resulting inambiguity. Refined concept mapping, a development over the regular con-cept mapping is an approach towards introducing rigor and parsimony inrepresenting knowledge. The method proposed suggests to substitute theambiguous relation names with well-defined relation names to conceptsconsistently while mapping a domain. We suggest the use of this methodfor introducing rigor in concept mapping and position it among the othermodels of knowledge representation in an inverse semantic spectrum.

Keywords: concept maps, conceptual structures, disambiguation, education, knowledge representation, rigor.


Dependency Network for Teaching-Learning of Conceptual Structures

Nagarjuna G., Meena Kharatmal, Rajiv Nair, “Building a Dependency Network for Teaching-Learning of Conceptual Structures”, In conjunction with ICCS-2010 18th International Conference on Conceptual Structures,p.13, 2010 Download PDF file

We propose in this paper a simple method to construct a machine processable semantic network, called a dependency network, that gathers all the concepts and skills as nodes and the relation type “depends on”, (and its inverse “required for”), as their edges. As a conceptual structure can be used to compute a roadmap of any learning-teaching objective. As a prelude we build and contribute a seed graph for demonstration and introduce a collaborative portal for contributing, publishing and dynamically building dependency networks. A possible generalization of this methodology for knowledge organization is discussed.


Semantic network in a free-software computer operating system

Rajiv Nair, G. Nagarjuna and Arnab K. Ray, “Semantic network in a free-software computer operating system”, Journal of Information Technology p.53, 2010. Download PDF file

A nonlinear model has been posited for the global analysis of data pertaining to the semantic network of a complex operating system (free and open-source software). While the distribution of links in the dependency network of this system is scale-free for the intermediate nodes, the richest nodes deviate from this trend, and exhibit a nonlinearity-induced saturation effect. This also distinguishes the two directed networks of incoming and outgoing links from each other. The initial condition for a dynamic model, evolving towards the steady dependency distribution, determines the saturation properties of the mature scale-free network

Keywords: Networks; Nonlinear dynamics; Structures and organization in complex systems; Computer science.


GNOWSYS-mode: An Emacs based Text Editor for Editing

Divya Sinha, Alpesh Gajbe, Rajiv Nair, Ganesh Gajre, Nagarjuna G., “GNOWSYS-mode: An Emacs based Text Editor for Semantic and Structured Document Editing”. In Proceedings of Workshop on Collaborative Construction, Management and Linking of Structured Knowledge (CK2009), 2009. Download PDF file

Keeping the requirements of the semantic web in mind we have developed a pure text based collaborative editing environment to create, update and manage knowledge networks and structured documents. It works as a client to the GNOWSYS server. GNOWSYS (Gnowledge Networking and Organizing System) is a frame based triple-store supporting version control, publishing and managing multiple ontologies along with instances.


Concept Mapping for eliciting Students’ understanding of Science

Meena Kharatmal, “Concept Mapping for Eliciting Students’ Understanding of Science, Indian Educational Review Vol. 45, No.2, July 2009. Download PDF file

Students' understanding of science has been of considerable importance in the area of science education research. It tries to focus on issues such as conceptual understanding, teaching of science, students' knowledge structure, tools that can aid in their understanding of science, etc. Concept map is one such tool that is being used to elicit students' knowledge and teaching and learning in a given domain. Concept maps are two-dimensional, hierarchical, node-link diagrams that depict knowledge. This article presents a review of concept maps in science education research with an illustration of a case study on the effectiveness of concept maps for eliciting students' knowledge structure from the domain of cell biology. The study used two different methods---description and concept maps---for depicting students' knowledge. The study depicts a significant increase in the depiction of concepts and propositions using the concept mapping method as compared to the description method.


Refined Concept Maps for Science Education

Meena Kharatmal and Nagarjuna G., “Refined Concept Maps for Science Education: A Feasibility Study”, Proceedings of epiSTEME 3, International Conference to Review Research on Science, TEchnology and Mathematics Education, 2009. Download PDF file

Refined concept map (RCM) is comprised of node names and a well-defined, invariant, minimal set of relation names. Using RCM as a methodology, it can be applied to study the changes in the knowledge structure, as a tool for analysis of forms of representations. In this paper, we discuss the study conducted to test the ease and feasibility of RCM by comparing it with other modes of representation. A homo-geneous sample of school students were assigned the same task from a specific domain. The analysis shows that it was easy and feasible to use RCM by the school students. The fixed set of relation names, does not affect the expression of knowledge and at the same time helps in representing accurate knowledge. The constraints in the RCM served as an anchoring and a facilitator for representing scientific knowledge.


GNOWSYS-mode in Emacs for collaborative construction of knowledge

Divya, Alpesh Gajbe,Rajiv Nair, Ganesh Gajre,Nagarjuna G., “GNOWSYS-mode in Emacs for collaborative construction of knowledge networks in plain text.” in 8th International Semantic Web Conference (ISWC2009), 2009 Download PDF file

GNOWSYS-mode is an Emacs extension package for knowledge networking and ontology management using GNOWSYS(Gnowledge Networking and Organizing SYStem) as a server. The demonstration shows how to collaboratively build ontologies and semantic network in an intuitive plain text without any of the RDF notations, though importing and exporting in RDF is possible.


SELF Platform: A Teacher - Centric Collaborative Authoring System

Meena KHARATMAL, Nagarjuna G., “SELF Platform: A Teacher - Centric Collaborative Authoring System”, Journal of Applied Collaborative Systems, Vol. 1, No. 2, 2009. Download PDF file

SELF Platform is a collaborative authoring system for creating online courses. A free software to build courses on any subject. In this article, we present the architecture, features, and functionality of the Platform. The main components of the Platform are integrated as a collection manager, course manager, organizer, file manager, bookshelf, version manager, etc. The Platform uses LOM, and SCORM metadata for interoperability providing import and export options in SCORM.

Keywords: e-learning, collaboration content management, collaborative authoring system, free knowledge creation, SCORM, LOM, open standards.


Common Roots of Perception, Conception and Conscious Action

Nagarjuna G., “Common Roots of Perception, Conception and Conscious Action”, In Procceedings of International Conference on Language, Mind and Social Construction, IIT Mumbai, p.83-104, 2009. 2009. Download PDF file


Semantic structure in scale-free dependency networks of FOSS

Rajiv Nair, G. Nagarjuna & Arnab K. Ray, “Semantic structure and finite-size saturation in scale-free dependency networks of free software”, Pre-print https://arxiv.org/abs/0901.4904v3, 2009 Download PDF file

A continuum model has been proposed to fit the data pertaining to the directed networks in free and open-source software. While the degree distributions of links in both the in-directed and out-directed dependency networks follow Zipf’s law for the intermediate nodes, the most richly linked nodes, as well as the most poorly linked nodes, deviate from this trend and exhibit finite-size effects. The finite-size parameters make a quantitative distinction between the in-directed and out-directed networks. Dynamic evolution of free software releases shows that the finite-size properties of the in-directed and out-directed networks are opposite in nature. For the out-degree distribution, the initial condition for a dynamic evolution also corresponds to the limiting count of rich nodes that the mature out-directed network can have. The number of nodes contributing out-directed links grows with each passing generation of software release, but this growth ultimately saturates towards a finite value due to the finiteness of semantic possibilities in the network.

Keywords: Networks; Structures and organization in complex systems; Nonlinear dynamics; Computer science.


Collaborative Creation of Teaching-Learning Sequences of Knowledge

Nagarjuna G., “Collaborative Creation of Teaching-Learning Sequences and an Atlas of Knowledge”, Mathematics Teaching-Research Journal 2009. Download PDF file

The article is about a new online resource, a collaborative portal for teachers, which publishes a network of prerequisites for teaching/learning any concept or an activity. A simple and effective method of collaboratively constructing teaching-learning sequences is presented. The special emergent properties of the dependency network and their didactic and epistemic implications are pointed. The article ends with an appeal to the global teaching community to contribute prerequisites of any subject to complete the global roadmap for an altas being built on similar lines as Wikipedia. The portal is launched and waiting for community participation at http://www.gnowledge.org.


Copyleft Society

Nagarjuna G., “Copyleft Society,” https://Gnowgi.org, 2009. Download PDF file

The main purpose of this communication is to orient you to free software and its philosophy, without going into the technical and economic reasons. To begin with I will introduce the special nature of digital resources, and why in this new digital society and what we need to know about it. Later, I will begin by explaining the term ‘free software’ and its relation to the culture of copyleft, followed by the history of free software movement, and how it is different from the open source software. I will then clear the doubts people often have regarding the possibility of a business, and the motivation of the people who come forward to contribute to free software. Then I will turn my attention to the core issue of why software and knowledge should be free, and how dangerous proprietary software is to human culture. We will also see how proprietary software companies are working with Government and educational institutions to take hold of the power, and how we can fight this evil nexus. Free software is an eminent choice for education, and is an ethical and political choice to exercise.


Tracing the Biological Roots of Knowledge

G. Nagarjuna, “Tracing the Biological Roots of Knowledge”, in Life and Organicism, Rangaswamy. N. S., Ed. Centre for Studies in Civilizations, 2009. Download PDF file

Traditionally questions in epistemology took for granted the uniqueness of the human being, and therefore questions were raised about the relationship between the knowing being (subject) and the nature (environment), the object. How does the subject understand/explain the natural phenomena around it? How does the subject establish the true knowledge and how does it arrive at such knowledge? Although were not ill­posed, these questions bank on the wedge between human mind and nature, a dualism. Even though traditional materialist positions denied such dualism, they yet granted that mind as an emergent property is unique and that its emergence is to be understood on a materialist basis. Athough the dominant discourses in philosophy continue to remain in the same mold, ecological and evolutionary approaches of mind began to mature, particularly during the last four decades (Bateson 1979). The ecological approach first considers human being as a component of nature, with other living beings as our cognitive fellow beings. With this standpoint the kind of questions that one may ask in epistemology takes a new turn: How does one part of nature begin to know the other components of nature? How does one part of nature begin to know about itself? What is an object that a subject may know it, and what are the subjects, that they may know an object? These questions thus are based on the assumption that we as cognitive agents are natural: that is Mind in Nature.


Exploring Roots of Rigor:Novice to an Expert

Meena Kharatmal & Nagarjuna G., “Exploring Roots of Rigor: A Proposal of a Methodology for Analyzing the Conceptual Change from a Novice to an Expert”, in Concept Mapping: Connecting Educators Proc. of the Third Int. Conference on Concept Mapping A. J. Cañas, P. Reiska, M. Åhlberg & J. D. Novak, Eds. Tallinn, Estonia & Helsinki, Finland 2008 Download PDF file

During the course of science education one of the recognizable and desirable changes from a novice to an expert is in their language (knowledge representation). One noticeable change is that of weeding out ambiguous expressions bringing in clarity and rigor. However, this happens not by weeding out the concept names but by choosing more and more accurate linking words (relation names). By focusing on the relation names we report the results of a preliminary study that confirms that subject experts increasingly chose relation names (linking words) that come closer to formal descriptions. The significance of this observation to concept mapping community as well as to cognitive development is immense, for it provides a simple and effective method to study conceptual change, validates the use of refined concept maps in place of the traditional technique in science education, and also further strengthens the approach that relationship between nodes determine the semantics, and not the nodes per se.


National Policy on ICTs in School Education

Nagarjuna G., “Consultation on ‘National Policy on ICTs in School Education”, 2008. Download PDF file

The note below develop reasons for adoption of free software exclusively for school science education. Towards the end, a list of policy guidelines and recommendations are provided for discussion. The document does not cover the pros and cons of using ICT for education. I will try to intervene during the deliberations on these issues.


SELF Platform Development: localised and tested system

Nagarjuna G. ,”SELF Platform Development: localised and tested system”, 2008Download PDF file


SELF Plaform Techincal Document

SELF Project Team, “SELF Plaform Techincal Document”, 2007.Download PDF file


Is Ecma OOXML Open Standard?

[Nagarjuna G., “Why Ecma OOXML cannot be regarded as a free/open document standard?”, Note submitted to the Working Committee, Board of Indian Standards on WordprocessingXML, a component of OOXML, 2007 Download PDF file

Let me briefly state the objectives of this note. During the working committee meeting on 7th May 2007 at BIS it was decided that I draft the main arguments for, why free software community thinks that OOXML cannot be regarded as a free / open standard. This draft though is based on a number of resources already published, it is an attempt to bring together a few of the most important objections raised against OOXML along with a few Why OOXML is not a FDS? Nagarjuna G. other additions that came to my notice while studying the 6000+ page proposal submitted by Ecma. Some of the details already published are not included in this document.


Eliciting and Assessing Students’Knowledge Structure

Meena Kharatmal, G. Nagarjuna, “An Alternative Proposal for Eliciting and Assessing Students’Knowledge Structure,” Episteme 2: Second International Conference on Review of Science, Technology and Mathematics education, 2007. Download PDF file

In this paper, we propose an objective assessment technique for evaluating students' knowledge structure. The assessment task is to create propositions based on with constraints i.e. concepts and linking words (relation types). The propositions are validated based on a comparison with an expert's knowledge base. An illustration of the technique is presented from the domain of senior secondary school level biology.


Refining Concept Mapping

Meena Kharatmal and G. Nagarjuna, A Prposal to Refine Concept Mapping for Effective Science Learning, in Concept Maps: Theory, Methodology, Technology Proc. of the Second Int. Conference on Concept Mapping Edited by A. J. Cañas, J. D. Novak, Eds. San José, Costa Rica, 2006. Download PDF file

Concept maps are found to be useful in eliciting knowledge, meaningful learning, evaluation of understanding and in studying the nature of changes taking place during cognitive development, particularly in the for learning science. We agree with the claim, but the effectiveness will improve only if we gradually introduce a certain amount of discipline in constructing the maps. The discipline is warranted, we argue, because science thrives to be an unambiguous and rigorously structured body of knowledge. Since learning science may be seen as a process where a novice is expected to be transformed into an expert, we use the context of learning science for making the proposal. Further, we identify certain anomalies in the evaluation of concept maps, and suggest that the evaluation should be based on semantics of the linking words (relation types) and not on graphical criteria alone.


Proposal to refine concept mapping for effective science learning

Meena Kharatmal & Nagarjuna G., “A proposal to refine concept mapping for effective science learning”, Concept Maps: Theory, Methodology, Technology Proc. of the Second Int. Conference on Concept Mapping, 2006. Download PDF file

Concept maps are found to be useful in eliciting knowledge, meaningful learning, evaluation of understanding and in studying the nature of changes taking place during cognitive development, particularly in the classroom. Several experts have claimed the effectiveness of this tool for learning science. We agree with the claim, but the effectiveness will improve only if we gradually introduce a certain amount of discipline in constructing the maps. The discipline is warranted, we argue, because science thrives to be an unambiguous and rigorously structured body of knowledge. Since learning science may be seen as a process where a novice is expected to be transformed into an expert, we use the context of learning science for making the proposal. Further, we identify certain anomalies in the evaluation of concept maps, and suggest that the evaluation should be based on semantics of the linking words (relation types) and not on graphical criteria alone.


Layers in the Fabric of Mind: A Critical Review of Cognitive Ontogeny

G. Nagarjuna, “Layers in the Fabric of Mind: A Critical Review of Cognitive Ontogeny” , In Research Trends in Science, Technology and Mathematics Education,J. Ramadas and S. Chunawala, Eds. Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education,TIFR, 2006. Download PDF file

The focus in this essay is on metasystem transitions: from biologically rooted procedural knowledge to socially rooted declarative knowledge. Another fundamental transition, from folklore to science, will be alluded to while drawing the picture of the layers in the fabric of mind towards the end.


Muscularity of Mind: Transition from Unconscious to Conscious

Nagarjuna G., “Muscularity of Mind: Towards an Explanation of the Transition from Unconscious to Conscious”, in Annual Conference of European Society for Philosophy and Psychology (ESPS), in Lund, Sweden, http://cogprints.Org/4352, 2005. Download PDF file

The title Muscularity of Mind indicates the point of view that is argued in this essay. I attempt to trace the roots of higher cognitive abilities to the physiological coupling that exists between neuro-sensory and muscular system. Most of the current discourses on the subject base their studies more on the nervous and sensory dimensions, neglecting the most crucial of all, the role of voluntary muscles in shaping the higher cognitive abilities. I make a claim that emancipation of voluntary muscles from the mandatory biological functions to take on the softer habits during the course of evolution played the crucial role in shaping the higher cognitive abilities. I undertake to explain the transition from procedural to declarative representation by hypothesizing that softer operations that a repeculiar to higher cognitive agents in the evolutionary order are rooted in the physiological nexus between neuro-sensory and muscular subsystems of the cognitive agent.The objective of this essay is to indicate that the problem cannot be solved without attending to this nexus.


Information and Knowledge Management Using GNOWSYS

Meena Kharatmal, Sandhya R. and Nagarjuna G., “Information and Knowledge Management Using GNOWSYS”, Conference Proceedings. Recent Advances in Information Technology, p.160, 2005. Download PDF file

GNOWSYS (Gnowledge Networking and Organizing System), a generic system for semantic computing, is a free-software developed at Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education (Tata Institute of Fun- damental Research), and is released as an official GNU project. It is specially made for publishing vocabularies, propositions, ontologies, complex systems, web services, semantic computing and such infor- mative resources including library resources on the web. It is designed keeping in mind the recent developments in semantic computing and knowledge representation. It is a hybrid database system with distributed, hierarchical, object-oriented, relational database support. It can serve as an information grid, it can export data in regular seman- tic web standards such as OWL, XTM, and its native GNOWML. It can be used for creating digital encyclopedia, thesauri, dictionaries, glossaries, multi-lingual databases, for building e-learning applications, etc. A unique feature of GNOWSYS is its potential to publish knowledge at the ultimate granular level (terms and predicates of propositions). In this paper, we shall demonstrate a case study of using GNOWSYS for library management and for knowledge management.

Keywords: Knowledge management, Information management, Digital Library, Knowledge Organization, Semantic Web.


GNOWSYS: A System for Semantic Computing

Nagarjuna G., “GNOWSYS: A System for Semantic Computing”, Homi Bhabha centre for Science Education, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, 2005. Download PDF file

The purpose of this essay is to introduce a heterogeneous computing environment with a possibility of semantic and formal annotations, covering the motivation, architecture, and functionality of the system called GNOWSYS(Gnowledge Networking and Organizing System). GNOWSYS is a system to specify, publish and query about multi-plelogics, ontologies, and epistemologies. Its kernel includes three semantic layers with increasing order of semantic specification, three groups of component classes for storing objects of various complexity in the knowledge base, and three levels of generality with objects belonging to tokens,types and metatypes. It has component classes for representing both declarative and procedural knowledge, and the latter specification is executable enabling semantic and visual computing. It is specially made for publishing vocabularies, propositions, ontologies, complex systems, webservices, with or without formal annotation. Its architecture is not frozen, and is still actively taking shape. Hence a purpose of this communication is also a request for comments.


Understanding Science Through Knowledge Organizers

Meena Kharatmal and Nagarjuna G., “Understanding Science Through Knowledge Organizers: An Introduction”, In Episteme-1: An International Conference to review Research on Science, Technology and Mathematics Education, pp. 13–17, 2004. Download PDF file

We propose, in this paper, a teaching program based on a grammar of scientific language borrowed mostly from the area of knowledge representation in computer science and logic. The paper introduces an operationizable framework for understanding knowledge using knowledge representation(KR) methodology. We start with organizing concepts based on their cognitive function, followed by assigning valid and authentic semantic relations to the concepts. We propose that in science education, students can understand better if they organize their knowledge using the KR principles. The process, we claim, can help them to align their conceptual framework with that of experts 'conceptual framework which we assume is the goal of science education.


An Invitation to History of Science

Nagarjuna G., “An Invitation to History of Science”. Download PDF file


The Role of Inversion in Science

Nagarjuna G., The Role of Inversion in the Genesis, Development and the Structure of Scientific Knowledge, A Thesis Submitted In Partial Fulfilment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Department Of Humanities And Social Sciences Indian Institute Of Technology, Kanpur, September, 1994. Download PDF file