Where else can we find unexpectedly rich communication?

I just finished reading this article about research that investigated the use of machine learning to analyze communication between Egyptian fruit bats.

This finding really struck me:

The results, he says, reveals that even everyday calls are rich in information. “We have shown that a big bulk of bat vocalisations that previously were thought to all mean the same thing, something like ‘get out of here!’ actually contain a lot of information,” said Yovel, adding that analysing further aspects of the bats’ calls, such as their patterns and stresses, could reveal even more detail encoded in the squeaks.

This made me think about other places where the ordinary "noise" actually reveals complexity. And, given my current research, I immediately thought of examining communication between students in a learning setting. To the ordinary observer, so much of this seems like mundane noise. I am now wondering how rich it might actually be.

In my dissertation research, I looked at communication in a set of 5th grade classrooms in an attempt to demonstrate the development of student autonomy as a result of their extended use of OLPC XO Laptops and a autonomy supportive learning environment. I now wonder if there were other types of communication happening that would have revealed even more about what was happening there.

I need to think more on this.

cover image by MEDIACRAT. Reused under CC BY-SA 3.0