Archive for June, 2012


Announcing the Ashoka Activating Empathy Winners

BrainBot is a consumer neurotechnology company based in CaliforniaCongratulations to BrainBot, winner of the 1440 Foundation special-focus prize in the Activating Empathy competition. BrainBot’s entry, Mindful Brains in School, was just what we were looking for to promote empathy in education through technology of social media.

Back in January, Ashoka’s Changemakers launched the Activating Empathy competition to fund big ideas looking to advance empathy in education. 1440 Foundation was excited to sponsor a portion of the competition focused on activating empathy, using consumer technology or social media, in education.

Why does empathy deserve a whole contest? The simple answer: Empathy is fundamental to life. It is about understanding, sensitivity, communication, resolution, listening, learning and awareness. Empathy should be activated every time we interact with someone. The challenge: Empathy is one of the most important skills many of us were never taught in school. Society often expects that children will grow up learning how to relate to others, but more people are finding themselves not wanting or knowing how to relate to others.

The Activating Empathy competition was born out of concern for this dangerous digital trend with one goal: Transforming schools to teach what matters. Applicants were asked to identify solutions that enable children to be effective citizens, leaders, and changemakers by equipping them with the skills to understand the perspectives of others while demonstrating the sustainability of their idea.

Out of 628 entries 15 finalists were selected and 14 won prizes: two judges picks, a People’s Choice pick, one special focus prize awarded by 1440 Foundation, four from Mattel,five from Townsend Press and DonorsChoose.org and three from Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. So here — in addition to BrainBot — are  all the winners. A hearty congratulations and thanks to everyone who participated!

Judges choice:


People’s choice:


Mattel Prize for Play:


Donorschoose.org and Townsend Press Prize:


Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Prize




Blaise Pascal on Mindfulness…

“All of the troubles of life come upon us because we refuse to sit quietly for a while each day in our rooms.” — Blaise Pascal