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Hopkins Researchers Release App Aimed At Tracking Student Anxiety

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- Two Johns Hopkins University researchers have released an app that aims to track student anxiety.

Though WellCheq wasn't created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, university officials said it has helped educators keep tabs on students' emotional health during an unprecedented time.

"When they come back it will be a new normal they don't know what's going to happen," the app's co-creator, Lieny Jeon, said in a statement. "Some students will be very nervous or anxious and teachers may be too because they don't know what to expect for students. This app could provide a platform for both students and teachers to understand each other."

Jeon is an associate professor in the university's school of education.

In the coming school year, the app will be used in schools in Maryland and four other states. Several schools in Spain and Chile will also be using the app.

It works a bit like health questionnaires some workplaces have used in the past year. Each day, students register their feelings on the app, choosing from emojis for feeling like optimism, stress, frustration and anger. They then log how they are doing on a scale of 1 to 10. Teachers get reports for each student and class and can tailor their lesson plans accordingly.

Co-creator Jodi Miller, a doctoral student and former Philadelphia teacher, said virtual learning can make it difficult for teachers to glean whether a student is struggling.

"It's so hard to look an adult in the eye and tell them how you're feeling," Miller said. "If we give them a space to say something other than "happy" or "great," then maybe teachers can use that as a jumping-off point for conversations."

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