“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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Homeschooling Parents Say ... It Has Been Amazing to See My Son’s Improvement

by Mary O., Homeschooling Parent

"BrainWare Safari has been wonderful for my son! He's 14 and has really struggled with attention deficit, auditory processing, thinking and concentration. It has been amazing to see his improvement as a result of the program. I am absolutely convinced tat BrainWare Safari has improved not only his ability to stay focused, but his overall achievement. He's zooming through his regular assignments now and I'm having to supplement with more challenging work to keep him engaged. Their customer service has also been excellent. Thank you so much for this outstanding software!"

Educators Say ... An Information Age Tool that Supports Information Age Thinking

by Ronald L. Kraft, Superintendent, MI

"To educate students in the Information Age instead of the Industrial Age, we need Information Age tools and materials that support Information Age thinking. BrainWare Safari is on the cutting edge of preparing students to be Information Age thinkers using exercises that develop their ability to recognize patterns, solve problems, and think more effectively."

Educators Say ... Gives Teachers Valuable Data They Can Use to Improve Their Instruction

by Dr. Lou Whitaker, Principal, Pope John Paul II, FL

"The area we noticed the greatest improvement in was the attitude of the students. They enjoyed playing the games and the teachers and parents noticed the students were able to complete homework assignments with less stress and frustration--which was a direct result of BrainWare Safari. As an educator for over forty years, I have spent my career looking for new, innovative programs that produce results, give teachers valuable data they can use to improve their instruction, get students excited about learning, and put fun back in the classroom. BrainWare Safari is such a program."

Clinicians Say ... BrainWare Safari is Revolutionary

by Gary Vogel, OD, FAAO

"BrainWare Safari is revolutionary. For the first time, the kinds of exercises I have used one-on-one with patients have been incorporated into a fun and entertaining video-game format."

Kids Say ... From B’s and C’s to A’s and B’s

by Jeremy P. (Age 11)

"My grades went up a lot--from B's and C's to A's and B's."

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."

Parents Say ... I Don’t Have to Repeat Myself

by Julie B. (Nicholas, Age 9)

"I'm happy with BrainWare Safari and I've watched Nick's progess. His attention is better. I think his memory is better too. But what I really notice is that I don't have to repeat myself 20 times to get him to do something."

Kids Say ... My Teacher Was Very Impressed

by Rachael H. (Age 7)

"I think it was fun and it helps me with my memory. When I had Chinese class, I got all of them right. The teacher was very impressed."

Parents Say ... An Alternative to Video Games

by Thao D. (Christian, Age 9)

"The kids nowadays are really into computers and this is an alternative to video games. It helps improve their learning and keeps them busy and they're having fun. What else could you ask for?"

Educators Say ... A Very Important Resource Tool for Our Teachers

by Denise Kish, Principal, MI

"As a principal and curriculum director, I am always looking for what works in education to help each of our students learn faster, more easily and more comprehensively, so each student experiences success. We have found that BrainWare Safari works with students at any level, whether struggling or accelerated. All our students improved their cognitive abilities after completing the exercises in BrainWare Safari. I consider this program a very important tool for our teachers; it makes their jobs easier as they now have better performing students."

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.