Neuroscientist Jorge Moll explores the biology of altruism

The root of altruism has always seem to confound philosophers. Why do we give? What motivates us to give? How does it affect us? Neuroscientists have been studying brain activity to figure out the answers themselves, and their findings may come as a surprise, refer here.

Altruism, according to some neuroscientists, may be biological. Researchers at the Kwansei Gakuin University in Japan did an experiment on rats showing that a rat will forego chocolate 50 – 80% of the time to save another rat. To further this theory, Jorge Moll and Jordan Grafman, neuroscientists at the National Institutes of Health, conducted a 2006 experiment on humans in which 19 subjects were given $128 to give to their charity of choice (or not give). The studies found that when the subjects gave altruistically, a part of their brain lit up, a part usually associated with food or sex.

The question of “survival for the fittest” or “we do things to ensure our own survival” conflicts with the act of helping others. Helping others usually incurs personal or financial costs. Jorge Moll and Jordan Grafman’s 2006 findings, however, seem to shed light on this contradiction. Their paper, “Human fronto–mesolimbic networks guide decisions about charitable donation”, offers startling evidence on the biological basis of selfless giving and begs the question: If the act of giving does provide a kind of physical satisfaction, then altruism isn’t so selfless, after all. Another look into morality is explored in Jorge Moll’s paper, “Morals and the human brain: a working model”. The paper argues that morality is evolutionary and hardwired into the brain. Explore more here.

Jorge Moll is the director of the D’Or Institute for Research and Education. He graduated from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro in 1994 and completed his Neurology residency there. He received his PhD in Experimental Pathophysiology from the University of Sao Paulo, Faculty of Medicine, more information here.

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Ninja Classroom

The name Class Dojo instantly brings to mind ninja training. It is intriguing and makes you want to check out what exactly it is. Class Dojo is training; however, it is not about training in the art of the sneak attack. Class Dojo keeps everyone involved with a child’s education and allows the teacher to connect with the student, and the parents of the student.

Classroom communication is effective when it is a two-way street. Class Dojo is the platform allowing that to happen. A teacher simply sets up a class for free, prints off parent and student activation codes, students take them home, and parents can get connected to their child’s classroom immediately. Class Dojo gives teachers the ability to track behavior, instantly message parents, create a digital portfolio of student work, and is a resource for teaching social emotional behavior. Class Dojo has an app for parents and teachers to use on mobile devices.

Starting on Class Dojo is a step-by-step process. You will need to sign up for a free account. Begin by setting up a class. Once you have done this, you can see if your school is on Class Dojo and join your school. Next comes adding a class. Name your class, and then begin adding students. Class Dojo creates invitations for the parents of students in the class. These invitations contain a parent code and a student code. They can be printed off and sent home, or you also can email invites to parents. When parents and students have the codes, they can activate their own account and begin connecting with their teacher.

Teachers can use Class Dojo as a tool to track student behavior at school. It allows the teacher to set up the behaviors being worked on at school. For example, the class may need to work on being quiet in the hallway. The teacher can set up that behavior, “quiet in the hall”. When the teacher observes students quiet in the hallway, the teacher can give points to students performing this behavior correctly. A teacher can give points by using the Class Dojo app on a mobile device or by using the computer. Students are able to see an avatar with their name and they also have the option to see the point total they have earned for the day. Teachers can also set up behaviors for which the student would lose points. The first behavior mentioned was “quiet in the hall”. The opposite of that behavior would be “noisy in the hall”. Teachers can take a point away in the same way they reward points.

Teachers are able to upload content for parents to see as it is happening in the classroom. Short videos and photos can be uploaded from the teacher app. When that happens, parents receive a notification and can go to Class Dojo and see what is happening in their son’s or daughter’s classroom. Student stories are individual and only seen by the parent, teacher, and student. Classroom stories are seen by all students and all parents of students in the classroom.

Class messaging can be done through Class Dojo. Teachers can individually connect with parents through the message system. By using the app, or the computer, a teacher can compose a message to an individual parent. A teacher can also send a message to all the parents in the class, much like you would send a mass text.

Class Dojo has teamed with Yale University to create resources to help students be more mindful. Mojo teaches kids about growth mindset, perseverance, mindfulness, gratitude and empathy. Printable resources and guides to help implement Class Dojo are available on their website. Class Dojo is the platform that allows teachers to connect with students and parents. It is allowing teachers to build an involved classroom community.


E-governe; Revolutionizing Management in Government

E-governe has completely changed the way governments all over the world carry out their mandate of offering services to their citizens. Brazil has also embraced e-governe. This is the application of information communication technology tools to serve citizens in fields such as education and health. E-governe has offered the public more convenience since its inception about a decade ago. The Instituto Curitiba de Informatica (ICI) implements the e-governe system in the country. Its first tool is dedicated to managing human resources. Some of the municipalities that have embraced the system include Osasco and Teresina. City Hall wants to use it to improve its services to the public. The primary goal of the introduction of this system is to manage the state and municipal health secretariats effectively. It is the best route to take because such tasks give public administrators sleepless nights. E-governe has worked to make everything functional and simpler.


E-governe for Health

E-governe will also change health management in all the health care units as expected. One of the ways through which the system can work to improve health is by integrating all health care sectors, health care units, and a good dental and clinical chart. The system will enable people to schedule appointments quickly and organize the schedules of the professionals in the groups. There will be no queues once the process is completed. Better services to the population will be achieved. E-governe Saúde also controls the stocks and distribution of medication to pharmacies, scheduling of any specialized examinations and consultations, and the application of vaccines. It also performs ambulatory, bed, and hospital control. The operators of the system can leverage it when it is integrated with the e-governe materials.


E-Governe Educação (Education)

E-Governe Educação is used in cities such as Osasco. The system provides a call center for the municipal education department of the town of São Paulo. It will be implemented in all the 138 school units, the headquarters of the municipal education department, and the continuing education center.


Benefits of e-Governe

No one would want to invest in a system that does not offer them any advantages. The fact that municipals are willing to invest in e-governe and train their workers to use it means that it has several benefits aside from just convenience. One of these benefits is that it regionalizes the attendance of patients who come in for services. The system will also control the flow of the patients streaming in from other municipalities. Any financial transfers will be handled efficiently. The e-governe system will also play a vital role in improving the organization of any work processes. A functional system will make it easy to control the flow of patients between the units because there are different health units. E-governe helps in seamless relationships between various municipalities or between the cities and the state. One of the benefits of e-governe in education is to ensure security, uniqueness, and integrity of information. It also allows management reports issuance with real-time access via the internet and avails shared reports. This eliminates and minimizes repetition of the tasks.