Nov 15, 2006
By: Alvaro Fernandez
Technology & Learning magazine, widely read among school administrators, has just published a good article Take a Deep Breath: Biofeedback software is helping students calm down for better test performance.
– (School principal says) “It just goes to show that the emotional state can really affect a child’s performance on the test,” says Lagozzino, who practices the same exercises himself after an initial bout of skepticism. “If they have tools to calm themselves so they can focus on the task at hand, then it’s something we should do for all students.”
– The training exercise usually lasts five to seven minutes, and students can use it at a PC in the back of a classroom or in a lab. Alvaro Fernandez (yes, that is me!), managing director of SharpBrains, a San Francisco-based reseller of the program, known as FreezeFramer, which has been sold to 80 schools nationwide, says the $300 price tag for a sensor (Note: and the software that comes with it) breaks new ground. Until just a few years ago, a biofeedback session cost $100 an hour because of the required equipment, unavailable outside a doctor’s office. Now, “these sensors are less expensive to produce,” he says. “The big innovation is there’s more solid science behind heart rate volatility (sic, it should have said Heart rate Variability) as a key predictor of stress levels, and the price is reasonable.”
– Lagozzino is looking to train more of his students. “When I first heard about this, I thought, okay, this is a little too far out there for me,” he says. “I didn’t think you could control any of your own physiology and that it would have any impact on your thinking. [But] it really does.”
Jeff and I had similar experiences. First, biofeedback programs may sound a bit “out there”. But we tried it ourselves, saw how much it helped us identify and manage our emotions real-time, discovered a lot of research on it over the last 20 years, and became advocates for it, as an example of a Brain Fitness Program.
Have a nice breath!