• 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 & 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.

    Nancy Ewurum

    Communications & Marketing Officer

    Nancy brings PEN's work to life in the eyes of our stakeholders, communicating our work and impact widely.

    Cory Sagerstrom

    Development & Mission Engagement Assistant

    Cory works to advance PEN’s message and help the team reach its fundraising goals through cultivating and maintaining relationships with partners. He is a recent graduate of Tufts University who is passionate about nonprofit work and the power of education to change lives.

    Yue Liu

    Development Assistant

    Yue creates fundraising strategies and builds dashboards to engage donors for PEN. She is experienced in research on international development of education and dedicated to effective and sustainable teaching.

    Liping Yang

    Mission Engagement

    Liping completed her Master in International Educational Development at Columbia University, and is actively engaged in fundraising and different missions.

    Mawuena Asem Hanson

    Research, Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning Officer

    Mawuena monitors and evaluates all projects and interventions at PEN. Mawuena holds a masters degree in Global Health from Karolinska Institutet, Sweden and a BSc in Nutrition and Food Science from University of Ghana, Legon.

    Settor Safo

    Multimedia Officer

    Settor is an experienced filmmaker with a demonstrated history of working in the television and advertising industry. With a background in Fine Arts in Film and Television production, he designs, creates and manages all multimedia assets at PEN in training, teaching and learning the PEN way.

  • 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, Weija-Gbawe 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.

    Dr. 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.

     

    Michael Nyarku

    Master Trainer, PEN

    Michael completed his Masters in Petroleum Geoscience and is passionate about empowering fellow Ghanaians with STEM skills that will position them to be relevant in the industry.

  • BOARD OF DIRECTORS

    Dr. Elsie Effah Kaufman

    Senior Lecturer,

    University of Ghana &

    NSMQ Quiz Mistress

    Dr Kaufmann is a strong advocate of STEM and leading voice and figure in STEM education in Ghana. She serves as the NSMQ Quiz Mistress and has led the growth of Biomedical Engineering in Ghana.

    Dr. Gordon Adomdza

    Associate Professor,

    Ashesi University

    Dr Adomdza is an Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship at Ashesi University and has spearheaded a design thinking movement in Ghana. He leads PEN in testing business models and developing organizational growth strategies.

    Dr. 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.

    Saddik Mohammed

    District Science Coordinator, Weija-Gbawe 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.

  • MENTORS

    Lucy Quist

    Business Leader, STEM Advocate

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