Crystal Tompkins
UX Designer | Product Designer | Illustrator | Educator

Remote Learning & SEL

Addressing social and emotional learning needs during remote learning for students.

Remote Learning was hard.

Many of you know students who struggled in the 2020-2021 school year. Teachers did, too. During our remote learning time, I identified that my students lacked a method for expressing their emotions and individual needs. I built a tool that gave them agency, choice, an expectation of privacy, and a quick response time.

  • I generally have a caseload of 145-150 students per semester.

  • We had a low rate of participation in our district for remote learning. My classes had between a 40-60% attendance rate for each live class session.

  • The school found that we had an average of 55% submission rate on assignments during remote learning across the board.

  • Some students never attended a live class, nor ever made contact in any way.

  • In a meeting of 15 students at a time, I would only have 1-2 that would turn on their cameras. (Cameras were encouraged in our district, but not required.)

  • Students also were very hesitant to speak aloud on camera. Some were comfortable typing in the chat, but not all.

It was hugely isolating for everyone involved.

I wanted to not only give students an appropriate amount of content, and make good use of their time with me, but also address their SEL (social emotional learning) needs.

I created a Google Form, along with a emotional identification chart I illustrated, to use as a daily check-in form with each of my live classes.

I created a Google Form, along with a emotional identification chart I illustrated, to use as a daily check-in form with each of my live classes.

Daily Check-in Form

Thoughts in Construction:

  • I originally was going to use copyright-free imagery, but none of the emotion illustrations had the breadth of the emotions I wanted, and most of the illustration styles were too immature for high school students.

  • I created a base shape, and iterated off of known emoticon ideas, trying to keep the illustrations as clean and consistent as possible.

  • I also included questions about other mental and physical well-being concerns.

  • I added spaces for free form answers as well.

  • I posted this for each group of students I met with during our live sessions, but the form also lived on our Google Classroom page so students that did not attend a live session could also complete this.

Front End: student-facing
back end: data collection

This was an incredibly useful tool.

One of my biggest concerns was the lack of communication and feedback I was getting from students. This allowed me to gather information in a non-threatening way, that wouldn't put them on the spot nor embarrass them.

  • The information I received from student allowed me to immediately follow-up with them as individuals, or to contact their guardians, coach, and/or counselor.

  • I found about 82% of the students attending live sessions used this form consistently.

  • Students who did not attend live sessions also used the form.

  • I received written and verbal feedback from students stating they appreciated this option for communication.

  • This was another pathway to building rapport and trust with my students. If they told me something via the form, they knew that I would get back to them within 24 hours.

  • I was able to connect at least 3 students with their counselor, who got them into mental health supports asap, as well as alerting their guardians to the issues.

  • I was also able to provide this graphic to Oregon Teen Librarians for their use.