“The mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be ignited.”

Professional Development

Teachers and administrators are increasingly determined to apply new knowledge about the brain to create classrooms and lessons that are brain-friendly and more effective.  But often the available information about brain research is esoteric and difficult to apply.  And just as important, most training doesn’t itself model good brain-friendly education.  If we want to effect real change in the way teaching and learning develop in the classroom, the principles of brain-compatible teaching must be incorporated into the training itself.  After all, teachers have brains too!

From Synapses to Strategies

Now quality online training on the application of neuroscience to classroom practice is available to any teacher anywhere!

Learn about the implications of brain research in the classroom at your own pace and on your own schedule.

Years of neuroscience research have given us some important insights into how our brains learn and what helps or impairs learning.  This course provides an introduction to what we know about the brain from neuroscience research.  It dispels myths and provides a solid foundation of brain structure and function upon which to build brain-compatible practices.  Participants will incorporate their learning as they explore a portfolio of brain-compatible instructional strategies and develop a strategy of their own.

Educators who complete From Synapses to Strategies will, at the most fundamental level, gain an appreciation for learning as a biological process in which the brain is constantly changing.  The course will provide an understanding of the mental processes that get information through the attention filters of our brains, and what enables informaton to be encoded in long-term memory.  Participants will apply the differences between different types of long-term memory to the learning tasks in their subjects.  They will recognize and learn to affect the emotional aspects of learning.

The estimated time to complete the course is 10 hours, so each recipient receives credit for 10 professional development credits.  The course is designed to be completed on the individual participant's own schedule, but incorporates engaging feedback from an acclaimed instructor so that learning is relevant and personalized.

Previous participants commented:

"Very inspiring to continue exploring this topic."

"It is invaluable to have gained insight into which areas of the brain are activated for different learning and the variety of tools we now have to strengthen learning in the classroom."

Cost:  $250 per participant.  Purchase now.

For school and districts:

Brains On Lesson Design Course

The “Brains On Lesson Design Course” is a comprehensive, highly interactive professional development program.  The course extends over three months with an initial day on-site, a second day on-site mid-way through, and a half-day wrap-up at the end. An Internet-based learning platform and individualized coaching for participants extends learning beyond the on-site workshops to develop teachers’ skills and to enable new ideas to become new habits.

The course provides a thorough grounding in how the brain works and how students learn, based on competent neuroscience.  Participants explore the fundamentals of brain-compatible lesson design, including the indentification of concepts and enduring principles, planning based on prior knowledge and beliefs, setting learning targets, designing appropriate brain-compatible instructional strategies, planning activities to ensure new information is consolidated in long-term memory, and assessment of learning targets.  While teachers often perform these activities, they may not be cognizant of the implications of brain science in getting the most out of lesson design.

The focus of the course is on hands-on (actually brains on!) practice and coaching in incorporating what they are learning into the development of brain-compatible lesson plans. The schedule is set around providing a cycle of practice, feedback and refinement and building a community of practitioners of brain-compatible teaching/learning that supports ongoing application and refinement of the skills developed in the course.

Each cohort is comprised of 20-30 teachers.

Brains On Workshops

Full-day or half-day Brains On Workshops are available on a variety of topics related to applying brain research to classroom practice, including:

• Neuroscience Basics for Teachers

• Teaching students about their brains – why and how.

• Brain-compatible instructional strategies that create meaning and more enduring learning.

• The role of emotion in learning.

• Scaffolding thinking skills for the Common Core Standards.

• The impact of technology on our brains.

• Developing students’ cognitive capacity, emotional intelligence and executive functions.

• The role of executive functions

Brains On Faculty

Betsy Hill

Betsy Hill is an experienced educator and business leader who serves as President and Chief Operating Officer of The BrainWare Company, an organization focused on the application of neuroscience research to the teaching and learning process.  Early in her career, she taught world languages and realized how little science had illuminated how the brain acquires and uses language.  Since then, she has studied the application of neuroscience to education with Dr. Patricia Wolfe, the author of Brain Matters, and an international authority on brain research and classroom practice, as well as other experts in the field. Ms. Hill has presented nationally and internationally, educating, teachers, clinicians, administrators and corporate managers on how the brain learns and how the rapidly developing discoveries of neuroscience researchers can help school leaders and practitioners address some of the most long-standing and perplexing problems in the education system – including closing the gap for historically underperforming students.   She has gained important insights into the preparation of students for college and careers over the course of 14 years, two as chairperson, on the board of trustees of Chicago State University. She holds a Master of Arts in Teaching degree and an MBA, both from Northwestern University, and teaches strategic thinking in the MBA programs at Lake Forest Graduate School of Management and the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Dr. Sara Sawtelle

Sara M. Sawtelle, Ph.D. is the Director of Scientific Affairs for The BrainWare Company.  She has served many roles in education prior to her current work—from instructional technology coordinator & chemistry teacher to training director to college chemistry professor at Saint Mary's College in Notre Dame, IN and the University of Memphis.  Dr. Sawtelle received her Ph.D. from Boston College.  Her career is focused on helping people learn, which includes the value of neuroscience-based tools in education at all levels, and helping people understand the value of field research. She has studied with Dr. Patricia Wolfe, the author of Brain Matters, and other neuroscience experts, tracks neurocognitive research on an ongoing basis, and has served as a lead contributor to the Software and Information Industry Association guidelines on technology implementation in education.  She has an extensive track record in training teachers, administrators and other educational staff on cognitive skills development, how the brain learns and best-practices for applying neuroscience in the classroom.  She has led the implementation and analysis of dozens of research studies, including both published and field studies in authentic educational settings.


Brains On Professional Development programs are appropriate for the elementary school level through college and graduate level teaching.  For any questions or to schedule school-level or district wide programs, please contact:  Betsy Hill, bhill@mybrainwarecom, 773-250-6467.

Success Stories from Our Users

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Parents Say ... Skills Quickly Transferred to Other Things

by Matt H., Father of a 7-Year-Old with Autism

"At the end of first grade, my son's teacher noted that, though he did exceptionally well academically, he had two major gaps--his ability to focus and his abstract thinking skills. Shortly thereafter, I heard about BrainWare Safari and we decided to give it a try. At first, the product frustrated my son. My wife worked with him on Rhythm Ribbet, just listening to the beat. A few minutes later, he ran into the kitchen screaming, 'I did it! I did it!" About two days later, I saw something amazing. My son was working on BrainWare Safari and he would visibly focus. He would lean forward in the chair and his entire expression would change. We had never seen this before from him. He quickly transferred this skill to other things--homework, games, puzzles. We thank you for an amazing product."

Clinicians Say ... It Should Be a Staple in Every Household

by Teresa Rosen, PhD

"As a clinician and a parent, I have never seen a program that offers the intensity and diversity that BrainWare Safari offers. For the price, for the time involved, for the motivation of the child, there's nothing out there that even comes close. It should be a staple in every household."

Educators Say ... Learning Software Finally Worth Buying

by Michael Strong, Author of "The Habit of Thought"

"In a world of hype regarding learning games and brain development software, BrainWare Safari is the software product most likely to result in significant real gains in IQ scores, when used as recommended and complemented by a healthy physical, emotional, and social environment. Learning software has finally become worth buying."

Parents Say ... They Feel They’re Growing

by Carolyn D. (Drew, Age 11)

"BrainWare Safari built Drew's confidence to know that he could go further even when it was hard. He liked the way the characters grew up. I think it translates to the kids and they feel they're growing."

Parents Say ... Equip Them for Life

by John Y. (Kendall, Age 11, and Clay, Age 8)

"We've definitely seen some improvement with our children. Parents will do pretty much anything to help their kids and equip them for life later on. This is definitely a tool to do that."

Clinicians Say ... Like Calisthenics for the Brain

by Jean-Claude Dutes, PhD, Michigan State University

"BrainWare Safari is like calisthenics for the brain. The exercises 'tone' mental faculties just like physical exercise tones muscles. The brain like a muscle responds to graduated exercises designed to stretch but not overwhelm it. While muscles gain in strength, agility, and endurance as they are conditioned, methodical use of brain-toning activities leads to stronger concentration, faster thinking speed, keener reasoning, and greater mental stamina. BrainWare Safari is toning for the intelligent brain."

Parents Say ... This Program Has Been a Gift


"Fourth grade was miserable for my daughter. Even though she did her homework every night and had a reading tutor, she wasn't able to retain facts, read at a second-grade level, and rarely passed tests in class. Her teacher requested holding her back. She started using BrainWare Safari two weeks before fifth grade. After just 3 weeks of practicing 4-5 times per week for 30 minutes each session, she was not only telling me her multiplication facts, but figuring out our her division facts. Her reading comprehension has increased and her ability to write paragraphs. This program has been a gift."

Educators Say ... I Just Want to Say Thank You

by Corinne Lake, Valley Christian Junior High

"Twice a week student groups report to a facility with laptops that have the BrainWare Safari software. They bascially play games, but in the meantime are developing a mastery level at paying close attention to details and memory skill development. I just want to say thank you. The stuents are being helped and are enjoying the process very much. I think many students can benefit from this affordable software and will be recommending it to parents for giving their children some activity in the summer that is fun and educational."

Adult Users Say ... If I’d Had It Earlier, School Would Have Been Much Less Difficult

by Joshua Woodward, MSW, Chicago, IL

"I spent the better part of my years in grammar school in "LD" classes, where I wasn't challenged. I suffered when I made the transition to "Mainstream" classes. My performance was average at best, but I was able to teach myself the necessary skills to be as successful as my peers and did the same at all of the subsequent transitions to junior high, high school, college and graduate school. After having worked through BrainWare Safari, I can attest to its usability as well as playability. Had I been given such a tool in my early stages of learning, i blelieve my time in school would have been less difficult."

Parents Say ... They’re Playing but They’re Really Learning

by John Y. (Kendall, Age 11, and Clay, Age 8)

"They think they're playing but they're really learning. The video-game format makes them want to play. We did BrainWare Safari for the learning aspect, but the game part really made them want to do it. It motivated them."

Credibility Counts

  • CODiE Award
    CODiE Award
    Best Education Game or Simulation, Software and Information Industry Association (SIIA).
  • American Association of Educational Publishers Distinguished Award Winner
    American Association of Educational Publishers Distinguished Award Winner
    Quality and innovation that embody the 21st Century classroom with technology as a hallmark.
  • Parent Tested Parent Approved Seal of Approval Winner
    Parent Tested Parent Approved Seal of Approval Winner
    Quality products and services with assurance of product excellence as evaluated by unbiased parent consumers.
  • Teachers’ Choice Award Winner
    Teachers’ Choice Award Winner
    Products of exceptional quality and outstanding performance in the classroom and at home.
  • Mom’s Choice Award Winner
    Mom’s Choice Award Winner
    Excellence in family-friendly media, products and services.
  • EdNET Rookie of the Year
    EdNET Rookie of the Year
    Awarded by Quality Education Data/The Heller Reports to the start-up with the most promise for becoming a major future force in the education industry.
  • Parents’ Choice Award
    Parents’ Choice Award
    The Parents’ Choice Foundation honors the best material for children.
  • District Administration Top 100
    District Administration Top 100
    One of the top 100 products of 2011 as chosen by readers of District Administration Magazine.
  • Academics’ Choice Mindspring Award
    Academics' Choice Mindspring Award
    Recognized as one of the best thinking-based products on the market.