Data Visualisation #1

“My week in Teams calls” (25.01.2021-29.01.2021)
Each bubble represents one day of the week.

“My week of Teams calls”

Deciding what to track for my first visualisation was more difficult than I thought it would be! I tried to find something personal, but not too personal. In the end I decided to track how my working time has changed since going back to work from home and teaching in a lockdown environment.

My role at the international school I work at allows me to work closely with students & teachers from all subject areas and grade levels. Starting last year, my main responsibility at the school is to support and train teachers using digital tools for teaching face-to-face or online. I also train them on how to create teaching resources and transform more traditional forms of teaching into online learning environments. Sometimes my job involves offering weekly training sessions to the 60+ teachers in the upper school, but the majority of the time I work with smaller groups, usually by subject or level of expertise. This is in addition to teaching to classes and leading the design department

This week was a particularly busy week! As you can see from the diagram above (not to scale), I spent a lot of time this week preparing training resources (tutorials and presentation), and training teachers. Usually my weeks is more balanced.

How has my everyday work changed?

Since working from home again, I’ve tried to reflected about what the new normal for students and teachers is.

  • More meetings than usual! I talk more often and with different colleagues than I would usually do. I really appreciate this, as it allows for better collaboration, communication and planning of projects. Having a 5 min meeting with someone is only possible with online call.
  • I take fewer breaks… Now I have an alarm on my phone to remind me to take a break or stop working. The line dividing the private life and the work life has blurred.
  • Students, parents & teachers are exhausted. Everyone is feeling the pressure of teaching and learning from home. Students are struggling not seeing their friends and learning from behind a screen for 8+ hours every day. Parents feel anxious about their children and their learning (or lack of). Teachers feel overwhelmed by the demands of teaching from home, learning how to use new apps or software, or the demands of their private life.
  • My ‘job’ as a Digital Coach / Learning Technologies has become much more ‘visible’, but I’m not sure it has changed much.

After I finished drawing the first data visualisation, I wished that I had also tracked my ’emotional state’ during the week (relaxed, stress, anxious, etc.) depending on the task I was doing. Next week I will not use the ‘dotted’ paper I printed at home. I feel it limited the visuals I drew, as I felt the need to follow the lines and dots. Maybe a blank piece of paper will help me be more creative 🙂

9 Replies to “Data Visualisation #1”

  1. Wow, that is a lot of time on Teams. Your data visualization is a powerful representation of the transformations in working and social life that we all feel. Your commentary is really interesting too. I think the comment that struck me most was about the use of dotted paper, and how you felt this constrained you. Do you think there might be some resemblance here with how data-centred educational software might constrain how we think about ‘learning’? Like the dotted paper, that software might only be able to ‘fit’ certain sorts of data into its existing formats etc? I also think that engaging next time with the more emotional aspects of these new forms of ‘telepresence’ working, teaching and learning would be productive. Could the ‘affective’ aspects of this be captured without you personally reporting it? Could your emotions be data-mined? Look forward to your next dataviz and commentary.

    1. I know! The social nature of working in a school has been ‘transferred’ (somewhat) into Teams calls. The week represented in this diagram was a particularly busy one, and I wouldn’t say it’s a normal week, but it does happen every few weeks. By the end of this week I was exhausted…

      I did feel quite constrained by the dots 🙂 At first I thought it would help me keep things organised and neat, and I guess it did, but at the same time I felt I needed to follow the dots and didn’t like the feeling.

      I started collecting my data on a piece of paper, but quickly moved it to an excel file where I can arrange the data quickly in a way that my ‘brain’ would recognises easily and the software could add the minutes for me.

      I will record emotions next week, although I was a bit hesitant about doing it, as this is a public blog and anyone could access it! I wonder what my colleagues might think if they knew I was stress/ anxious / upset while completing a particular task! Maybe they already new, and I was the only one not consciously aware of it.

  2. Your visualisation is absolutely beautiful, but your certainly appear very busy! Does the breakdown, in terms of time on different activity types, suprize you?

    1. Thank you! It really was a busy week… but things are better this week 🙂

      It does surprise me! I see that every year my ‘teaching’ time gets smaller and smaller, which I miss. But my new roles have allowed me to try to areas of education that I also find exciting (and other that I really don’t enjoy!).

  3. How pretty!

    10 minutes is a short time. Why did you settle on this number? I feel like this visualisation would be very different if you chose longer periods, say, half an hour. The shapes add to the ‘business’. Was this a conscious choice to show how busy you feel?

    ‘Having a 5 min meeting with someone is only possible with online call.’ – have you heard of standing meeting? Some people adapted this for online calls too, to prevent dragging on.

    1. Thank you! 🙂 10 minutes is a short time… I tracked my time in minutes and ended up with ‘blocks’ of time of 219 minutes o 300 minutes for example. I thought representing the time in 10min blocks would give me more data points to show in the A4 paper. Maybe I should have been clearer when presenting the data that the calls were not 10 min long 😛 just showing the overall time spent. Next time!

      I know a few people that have 5 min standing meetings, although I’ve heard it’s never really 5 min long! I found that the new Teams update that shows a banner 5 min before scheduled meeting ends to be quite useful to prevent the meetings dragging on.

  4. So beautiful !!! Looks like a full schedule !! Seeing that now, do you feel that your agenda is mainly on blue and green and little Yellow and Purple … does it help you prioritise some activities more or dropping them all together since you don’t as much time ? delegation came to mind on some of your blues and greens ?

    1. Thank you Dima! Looking at this made me realise how much time I spent doing more admin work or ‘troubleshooting’, which I don’t enjoy so much… Delegation would be great! I just wish I had someone to delegate it to 😛 Or maybe learning how to say “no”.

  5. Looks very beautiful and insightful to me! Your visualization reminded me of the kaleidoscope I had as a child. You turn the tube, and the magical pattern changes, just as probably the week days change the sequence of your daily tasks…

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