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Meet Roger Stark and Betsy Hill of BrainWare Learning Company

Today we’d like to introduce you to Roger Stark and Betsy Hill.

Once upon a time, more than fifty years ago, a speech and language pathologist and a vision developmental expert, realized that neither of them had a complete answer to helping the individuals with learning problems that they saw in their respective practices. They decided to pool their knowledge, and over time, other clinicians, trained in a variety of disciplines joined them. The group grew to over 300 and they shared what worked best. Thus, they refined a collection of exercises that were effective in one-on-one therapy.

Roger, BrainWare Learning’s CEO was excited when he saw what these clinicians were doing and he also recognized that one-on-one therapy was not scalable or affordable for most individuals. His vision was to deliver this tried and true therapy digitally using all the best practices of video-game development. It was that vision that resulted in the program we know today as BrainWare SAFARI.

Has it been a smooth road?
It has been a tough road. First was the challenge of developing the program without any roadmap to follow — getting clinicians and video-game developers to collaborate was no small feat. Then once the digital version of the program was developed, we still needed to show the impact. It has taken about 10 years of research with individuals, clinicians, schools, and workforce to build the credibility of the program and show how it would perform in classrooms and professional offices.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the BrainWare Learning Company story. Tell us more about the business.
BrainWare Learning Company offers programs and tools that further the practical application of neuroscience to teaching and learning. The company and its programs have earned an impressive array of awards including the Software and Information Industry CODiE Award as Best Education Game or Simulation; a Parents’ Choice Award; a Teachers’ Choice for the Family Award; a Mom’s Choice Award; District Administration’s Top 100 Products in Education; the Association of Education Publisher’s Distinguished Achievement Award, the Academics’ Choice Mindspring Award, and a Parent-Test Parent-Approved Award.

The company was recently named one of the 20 most promising global gamification technology solution providers by CIO Review. The company’s programs include BrainWare SAFARI cognitive skills training software, which is listed as one of the Ideas that Work in special education by the U.S. Department of Education, the Mindprint Cognitive Assessment, and SkateKids and Ramps To Reading cognitively based reading programs. The Company’s innovative approaches make the application of neuroscience practical and effective for consumers, educators, and clinicians and in the workplace.

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
The groundwork is finally in place for cognitive training to become a standard part of educational practice. As educators and employers continue to emphasize the need for employees who solve problems, think critically, plan effectively, create and innovate, the ability to strengthen each individual’s cognitive capacity will become understood.

The critical gateway to this change has been creating an approach that is affordable and can be scaled quickly, while still delivering the transformative cognitive growth that was formerly only available in a clinical setting. This in turns opens the door to close the cognitive gap as well as the achievement gap for the economically disadvantaged, individuals with learning disabilities, and English Language Learners.

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