Links from today’s calmingtech class

Fresh from Wisdom 2.0, these are links we referenced in class (examples of calming technologies):
(Sherry Turkle’s talk, a highlight at Wisdom 2.0) (they will come talk in class) - viral app maker Alex Tew’s latest project (he’ll also come to class) - powered by bLife, content by Oprah - GPS for the Soul - HuffingtonPost, HeartMath, bLife

AffectAura from MSR


Interesting paper from MSR in Redmond looking at monitoring emotional states to enable reflection over relatively long periods of time (i.e., weeks).

d.compress Winter 2013 started today

We will have almost double the amount of students this year compared to last year. The syllabus is available on the course site:

This is going to be fun :)

d.compress: Designing Calm (Winter 2012-2013,


Advertisement for the Winter 2013 class, courtesy of TA Cindy and our teaching team.

*One week away* Conversations on Compassion with Lisa Kristine, humanitarian photographer

The latest CCARE email shows the relevant Stanford courses and d.compress is listed there.

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Wisdom 2.0 
CCARE is partnered with Wisdom 2.0 on their fourth annual conference, February 21st - 24th, 2013 in San Francisco. 

Join Twitter co-founders Evan Williams and Biz Stone; Huffington Post founder Arianna Huffington; LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner; author Marianne Williamson; and many others at Wisdom 2.0 2013

Happy new year to all our supporters! We just wanted to remind you all that Conversations on Compassion with Lisa Kristine is less than a week away - our events fill up and priority is given to those who have pre-reserved so do reserve your space immediately if you wish to attend. We look forward to seeing you there.

To stay updated on the latest developments in compassion research, connect with us via Facebook, Twitter and Linked In.  
Coming Up…Conversations on Compassion with James Doty, MD, and Lisa Kristine, photographer and humanitarian

Lisa KristineJanuary 10, 2013

Cubberley Auditorium

Stanford University 

Acclaimed humanitarian photographer Lisa Kristine specializes in images of remote indigenous cultures in more than 100 countries on six continents. Her mission is to awaken a force in those who view her images… to raise awareness, ignite ideas and incite people to action.

Lisa’s work has been auctioned by Christie’s New York to benefit the United Nations with Kofi Annan, and she was the sole exhibitor at the 2009 Vancouver Peace Summit with His Holiness the Dalai Lama and award winning Nobel Laureates. She has been endorsed by a number of dignitaries and organizations, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the Queen Mother of Bhutan and Amnesty International.
Lisa’s most recent focus was in documenting modern day slavery and collaborating with NGO’s such as Free the Slaves. She has traveled into the heart of broiling brick kilns, down rickety mine shafts, and into hidden lairs of sex slavery. Her recent book, Slavery, has received global attention across several media platforms, including CNN and AOL, and enabled the application of new social and financial capital for eliminating slavery.

In addition to Slavery, she has published four other books of photography, produced three documentaries, and given lectures around the world in a variety of venues. Lisa’s broad experience in developing countries, her sensitivities and sensibilities about the human condition, and her finely tuned artistic genius, provides a compassionate storytelling framework.

Lisa will be presenting some of her photographs and will sign copies of her books at the end of the event. 
Event webpage
Available Courses for Stanford University Students 
The Stanford Calming Technology Lab is offering the d.compress course in design and mindfulness this winter. Design technology for mindfulness, inner peace, combat stress, and much more! Applications are due Jan 3, 2013. Apply here.

YES+ Empowerment Course, MED 130
Stanford YES+, offered by the Stanford Happiness Collective, is a transformative workshop for that teaches tools for effective stress-reduction, success, fulfillment & service! Apply here.
The Pursuit of Happiness and Health, PEDS 106/206
Create a life of happiness, meaning and connection to others. Explore recent research that offers new and somtimes surprising perspectives that underlie happine, well being, and accomplishment. Learn skills to help you thrive. For questions, email


Guided Knowledge Transfer (GroK-X)

Grok: (1) Understand (something) intuitively or by empathy; (2)Empathize or communicate sympathetically; establish a rapport.

For the past couple years I’ve been experimenting with using guided meditation as a medium for teaching students and designers. That is, I’ve found that students are able to learn effectively when the mental model is described clearly and slowly, while minimizing cognitive, emotional, and sociocultural distractions.

We’ve seen that the optimal means of reducing distraction in a classroom is to sit and close one’s eyes in a room where others are known to be doing the same. When I conduct a Grok-X session, I also close my eyes at the front of the class (i.e., not walking around in a manner that can seem threatening or draw attention; not watching them).  It is crucial that teacher is (appropriately) seen as a guide, not an authority figure to be feared.  In this way I am then able to guide the student’s own creation of a mental model that resembles my own - while also ensuring the possibility exists for students to manipulate, add to, or subtract (or even destroy) that model in their own minds.
Grok-X has been described as “class lecture meets guided meditation”.

From the instructor’s perspective, it also requires a very calm mind - to be able to describe insights in a manner that can be constructed in the student’s own mind - rather than simply memorized.
I’ve been recently referring to this process as “Guided Knowledge Transfer” (Grok-X for short) and plan to continue experimenting with it in more detail in our Winter 2013 course, d.compress: Designing Calm (blog).

I’ve been inspired by work on Contemplative Pedagogy at Vanderbilt, which “involves teaching methods designed to cultivate deepened awareness, concentration, and insight" except that Grok-X is meant for transmitting subject-specific content, not deepening general awareness.
One of the tenants of Grok-X is context. I.e., laying down the context for each ‘layer’ of understanding the instructor wishes to communicate is very important. Context can be construed as specifiying the assumptions we are making, the societal, emotional, scientific, or sociocultural contextual cues that are necessary to understand in order for the content to result in a clear mental image and/or emotion.

When the learner’s eyes are closed, their expeirence is of a different matter than if their eyes are open. Visual images, scenes, animations, sounds, and a constellation of emotions and impulses can be inwardly ‘observed’. This is what the instructor is working with. The instructor aims to create in their own mind the conditions for clear observation of the content - then describe this in such a way so as to allow the learner to create this setting in their own mind.
Ultimately, the instructor must have a ‘clear head’ if they wish to instill clear-headedness in their students, especially about a new content area. This requires the instructor to not necessarily teach things they know intellectually to be true/relevant but to have such an intuitive grasp of the content that they can describe relevant but non-obvious contextual factors.

How is Grok-X related to calming technology? The state and quality of the body-mind is very important when considering how readily a learner is able to create the inner circumstances that allow for “clear-headed” learning.

Review article: how mobiles can support in-person therapy


d.compress: Designing Calm (Winter 2012-2013,

Course application ready for Winter 2012-2013

Stanford grad and undergrad students wishing to enroll in d.compress this year can apply now:

Interesting new paper on calm+feedback


From our friend Erik Peper at UCSF.