Data Visualisation #2

“A week about COVID & Emotions”

“A week about COVID & Emotions”

(Working on text…) Sorry it’s a bit late… I couldn’t work on this before. 🙁

‘A week about COVID & emotions’ was more difficult to draw than I had expected, not only because I couldn’t draw straight lines (as you can see above!), but also because it meant identifying and recording the emotions I felt at different moments of the week. Who knew I had so many emotions every day? I would just say that this week was ‘more stressful’ than usual, or I was more receptive to stress. I tracked my ‘emotions’ by having a piece of paper next to me on my desk, and every-time I felt ‘strongly’ about something, I would add a colour line. I also added reminders (three times a day) to update the list. Sometimes I added two lines to represent the ‘intensity’ of the emotion, for example, if I felt very frustrated, stressed or happy.

Personal Data

The ‘emotional’ side of this data visualization is the ‘personal data’ I decided to record and share this week. Originally, I thought about sharing an overview of my ‘resting heart rate’ over the past year. I wear an Apple Watch since 2017 and have that data easily available, with nice graphs and colours. After looking last year overview I could see how my ‘resting heart rate’ had increased slowly over the past year (start of the pandemic) until now. I had not noticed this before (physically), but it’s there. I am grateful that COVID has not had a direct effect on my health, or not in the way I expected at least. This week I reflected about how my life style has changed due to the pandemic (what I don’t do anymore and the new things I do now); how my emotions affect my teaching (and learning); and how changes happen, even when they are slow and at first sight insignificant.

About ‘Myth and Enlightenment’

In the news there is often a discussion about the ‘digital divide’ in education, and how this gap is widening especially now while many schools are closed around the world and students and teachers work from home. Often politician see the the problem of teaching and learning online as a problem to be solved by ‘technology’, by devices and software. The thinking is often that if students and teachers had a laptop or tablet to teach and learn, all problems would be solved.

Last week I enjoyed reading Friesen’s (2020) discussion of the ‘myth and enlightenment’ of education, and I thougth about it when drawing this data visualisation. The ‘myth’ could be said to be the idea that ‘devices’ would solve the issues surrounding teaching and learning from home. The myth that students learn in the same way and live the same way. For me this is a myth as I see the contrary evidence everyday at my ‘school’. My school is for privileged students, all students have their private computer (don’t have to share with a sibling), a ‘stable home’, their own room, access to resources, parent involvement and support. All teachers at my school receive a laptop and an iPad to teach, as well as all the online resources we want (almost). However, we still struggle. Maybe not in the same shape or form, but it still is challenging and students struggle ‘visibly’.

Enlightenment could be said to be the ‘dream’ of education, that ideal anyone involved in education aims to achieve. I just wonder if we (I) know what dream is exactly at the moment.


Norm Friesen. 2020. The Technological Imaginary in Education: Myth and Enlightenment in ‘Personalized Learning’. In: Matteo, Stocchetti, ed. The Digital Age and Its Discontents. Helsinki University Press, pp. 141-141.

2 Replies to “Data Visualisation #2”

  1. I’m really intrigued about the commentary you will make on this visualization, and how you think it relates to questions about learning. Of course, the emotional toll of the pandemic on young people and thus on their learning is a major concern. But it will also be affecting adult learners too, and I think your dataviz begins indicating some of those effects. perhaps in your commentary you might explain your observations that ‘pandemic affected student learning (visibly)’.

    I wondered about your colour choices too. Often, semantically resonant colours will be used in visualizations (e.g. darker or redder colours for more ‘negative’ states, lighter and/or greener for ‘positive’). You have a very pastel palette going on here–intentional? Or just a feature of the pen collection you have? The design of a dataviz often does a lot of pre-interpretation for its audience.

  2. I really like your detailed visualisation. It gives great insight into something very personal. It’s quite frightening how COVID is shaping our everyday lives. It’s almost impossible not to think about it all the time as it affects so many aspects: emotions but also studying, work, family life…

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