Educational Survival Kit for COVID-19

All it takes is some ambition, meaningful information, and aesthetically pleasing graphics to assist in the school system’s abrupt need for distance learning.

Graphic by Ayonnah Tinsley
Graphic by Ayonnah Tinsley

Welcome to our special section, Thrive Global on Campus, devoted to covering student mental health, well-being, and redefining success from all angles. If you are a college student, we invite you to apply to be an Editor-at-Large, or to simply contribute (please tag your pieces ThriveOnCampus). We welcome faculty, clinicians, and graduates to contribute as well. Read more here.

Four weeks. It only took four weeks for coronavirus to be seen as a harmless flu in the United States to being the cause of all 50 states put under the pressure of making the choice to close down schools and developing online curricula (from Education Week). Reality seems like a dystopian novel to be honest. With schools being closed, people hoarding supplies, job strikes, and more. All of the classic characteristics of one are there! Even the cliche where teenagers are trying to help save the day.

The amount of access to technology many students have available to them in the United States is a privilege and it’s so empowering seeing people find ways to make quarantine more bearable. Whether it is sewing or 3D printing face masks, creating uplifting content on TikTok, or using an obsession with Canva to your advantage. Which is what I did! 

Seriously, I find so many ways to try to use Canva for anything.

I decided one day that since I got the chance to help teachers with programs and websites when I am at school, that I could help them just as much while I am at home. This is how I started making tutorials and posting them as free downloads onto my website, YaYaStars.com. Teachers are the underrated leaders of influencing and educating our future engineers, artists, and more. The least I could do was help them transition through these unprecedented circumstances. Therefore, making the adversity of the abrupt end of traditional classroom teaching into more opportunities. However, one of my teachers discussed with our class that a lot of details about online learning can be described as “fluid” and a bit uncertain. This can raise the question if technology should have a larger role in education to prevent this amount of unpredictability ever happening again.

My priorities when creating these tutorials on Canva is to only include details that are absolutely necessary. An element that is also essential is making them pretty. An aspect of any tutorial that I believe becomes lost in the information. People receive information better when the graphics are relevant and eye-catching. Even the Greek word of aesthetics correlates with the study of sensory values. The Interaction Design Foundation has found that aesthetics directly leads to better reader usability and receptiveness with the material. And I strive to show that with a little bit of trust, all-digital educational resources can be vital in helping remote learning.

I wanted to share this so hopefully, this can show other students in the same position as me (with no clear idea how the rest of the “school year” will workout) how they can help out others while staying at home. Showing to not be afraid and reach out to teachers you really miss! Also, I wanted to show the importance of how technology is what helps keep our routines as normal as they can possibly be. By keeping the connections between teachers and students. 

The effects of the novel coronavirus on education have left an inclined chance of putting public school systems through a digital transformation we may not know we need. But the situation we are all stuck in should only make us focus on the present right now. Reduce your stress and anxiety by helping others. Push doubt and second-thoughts out the window and pursue passion projects you’ve never had time for. Or even take more time than you would normally have to do nothing and relax (it feels great). Most importantly, only control what you can control and stay home for healthcare workers and the rest of our community. 

More Thrive Global on Campus:

What Campus Mental Health Centers Are Doing to Keep Up With Student Need

If You’re a Student Who’s Struggling With Mental Health, These 7 Tips Will Help

The Hidden Stress of RAs in the Student Mental Health Crisis

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