• 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.

  • Photos & Videos

     

    An impact control trial carried out in 6 public schools in the Greater Accra Region provides evidence for the effect of PEN's practical teaching and learning approach.

    The PEN Difference: 97% greater increase in exam scores over one academic year. The PEN Difference: increase in attitudes towards science over one academic year.

  • 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.

    Joseph Quaye Amoo

    Operations Manager

    Quaye oversees the day to day running of PEN operations in STEM education. He is a passionate child and youth development activist.

    Desmond Asamoah

    Partnerships and Resource Mobilisation Manager

    Desmond builds thriving collaborations with STEM stakeholders in Ghana and beyond. He holds an MA in Global Development and Social Justice from St. John’s University, New York.

    Fredrick Opoku

    Logistics Officer

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

  • Master Trainers

    Emmanuel Ocquaye

    District Science Coordinator, Ga East District

    Emmanuel is an enthusiastic practical teacher and commands a refined skill in guiding teachers through practical activities. He also serves as National Secretary for GAST.

    Saddik Mohammed

    District Science Coordinator, Ga South District

    Saddik is the Chair of Curriculum for GAST, and he was previously awarded Best Science Teacher in Greater Accra Region. He brings a wealth of teacher training experience.

    Thomas Tagoe

    Lecturer, University of Ghana

    PhD (Neuroscience)

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

    Selase Dorledzi

    Teacher, Zenu KKMA JHS Ashaiman

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

    Rejoyce Akoto

    Teacher, Asofan M/A 1 JHS

    Rejoyce trains and encourage teacher colleagues in her circuit on hands-on science methods through the accessibility and affordability of local materials.

     

     

    Simon Dzamenu

    Teacher, Kofi Kwei M/A Basic School

    Simon's motivation in training teachers on hands-on science practicals has been the rate of change in pupils' understanding through practical activities.

     

  • MENTORS

    Gordon Adomdza

    Professor, Ashesi University

    Lucy Quist

    Business Leader, STEM Advocate

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