• About Us

    Hands-on, Minds-up

    The Problem

    "Around 250 million children are not learning basic skills, even though half of them have spent at least four years in school… Investing in teachers is key: in around a third of countries, less than 75% of primary school teachers are trained according to national standards."

    - UNESCO Global Monitoring Report 2013/14

     

    “Among grade 6 students in West and Central Africa in 2014, less than 45 percent reached the “sufficient” competency level for continuing studies in reading or mathematics—for example, the rest could not answer a math problem that required them to divide 130 by 26.”​

    - World Bank World Development Report 2018

    Our Solution

    The Practical Education Network (PEN) improves learning outcomes by building teacher capacity. The teacher training program PEN provides is infused with MIT-style, learning-by-doing to enable hands-on science regardless of resource constraints. PEN offers a series of workshops where West African STEM teachers learn, design, and share hands-on activities which complement the national curriculum and are created from low-cost and locally available materials.

  • In our workshops, we utilize local materials and content aligned to the national curriculum to holistically equip STEM teachers to facilitate hands-on, inquiry-based lessons.

    Hands-on Training Workshops
    PEN video
    Introduction to Hands-on Science workshops
  • APPROACH

    We host teacher training workshops to explore hands-on STEM activities that use low-cost, locally available materials.

    Practical Education Network Introduction to Hands-on Science Workshop in Ga Central, Greater Accra, Ghana

    A lack in material resources often leave teachers feeling limited to using traditional approaches. PEN empowers teachers around the world to engage their students in hands-on science projects. We train teachers in executing these activities within the structure of traditional education programs.

     

    Our material blends constructivist learning with design training to allow participants to discover key concepts and harness them to engage in projects relevant to their daily lives.

    PEN's Introduction to Hands-on Science Workshop in Ashaiman District, Greater Accra, Ghana

     

     

    PEN has a special emphasis on the challenges of STEM education in the developing world – large class sizes, scarce material resources, and the novelty of interactive pedagogies.

     

    We employ a teach-the-teachers business model, leveraging our partners' networks to reach scale.

     

    Since 2014, we have been running workshops around Ghana with our local partners.We have been growing in numbers and reach each year!

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  • TEAM

    Heather Beem

    CEO & Founder

    Heather completed her PhD at MIT in Mechanical Engineering, where she co-founded MIT's D-Lab: Education class. She also teaches engineering at Ashesi University.

    Fredrick Opoku

    Operations Fellow

    Fredrick manages PEN's logistics to ensure the smooth running of all operations. He is a Marine Science grad from University of Ghana.

    Jacob Babb

    Researcher

    Jacob is a Peace Corps Masters International student, studying the impact of PEN's approach on students and teachers.

    Nana Araba Plange

    Content Marketer

    Nana Araba manages the PEN website and ensures that PEN's activities are synthesized into content across all social media platforms.

    Sawyer Sabia

    Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning Coordinator

    Sawyer designs and oversees PEN's MEL process to determine if and how our programming is meeting our goals.

    Emmanuel Ocquaye

    Master Trainer

    Emmanuel is the GAST National Secretary I. He commands a refined skill in guiding teachers through practical activities.

    Saddik Mohammed

    Master Trainer

    Saddik is both Chairman of GAST - Greater Accra and District Science & Maths Coordinator for Ga South. He was awarded Best Science Teacher in Greater Accra Region.

    Thomas Tagoe

    Master Trainer

    Thomas completed his PhD in Neuroscience and is a passionate STEM advocate, having co-founded GhScientific.

    Selase Dorledzi

    Master Trainer

    Selase was in one of the first batch of teachers PEN trained, and she has since skyrocketed into a star practical science teacher.

  • MENTORS

    Gordon Adomdza

    Professor, Ashesi University

    Lucy Quist

    Business Leader, STEM Advocate

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