Postdoctoral Researcher: game-based informal data science learning experiences for girls

Website The Concord Consortium

Applications are now open for a postdoctoral fellow position on the National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded project “Supporting Data Science Learning and Interest Through Informal Gaming Clubs for Middle School-aged Girls”! 

If you’re interested in informal and game-based learning research, and excited about designing equity-oriented data science learning experiences for minoritized girls, this is a great opportunity for you to join an amazing team of learning sciences researchers, educational game designers, and middle school aged girls.

The postdoctoral fellow will work on a three-year NSF-funded project under the collaborative leadership of Dr. Lisa Hardy at the Concord Consortium and Dr. Jennifer Kahn at the University of Miami. The project will engage in participatory co-design research with local organizations serving minoritized (predominantly Latina) girls to develop a multiplayer, data-rich virtual world to support meaningful, relational learning with data in a rich social context. The project summary appears at the end of this announcement.

We will begin reviewing applications immediately, so please apply now! You can find more information and application instructions here:

Responsibilities: The postdoctoral fellow’s responsibilities will include collaborating with principal investigators on all aspects of the project research, including leading co-design sessions, coordinating and running online and face-to-face clubs, designing informal data science instructional materials for game-based clubs, research design and data analysis, and scholarly writing for journals and presentation at academic conferences.

Qualifications: Ph.D. completion by Spring 2023. Postdoctoral fellows must be within five years of graduating with a Ph.D. or equivalent. The ideal candidate will have experience in designing learning experiences to support minoritized youth in STEM, conducting research in informal, online or club-based settings, and scholarly research and writing through a critical equity lens in learning sciences and/or data science education. Prior work with Latinx communities and fluency in Spanish are a plus.

Start date: Earliest September 1, 2022 (later start date and/or an initial half-time appointment are possible). Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled.

Application: Interested candidates should send the following to [email protected]:

1.         Current CV

2.         Cover letter describing relevant prior experience

3.         Writing sample (published or unpublished)

Overview of Project: The project will use design-based research methods to iteratively design game-based informal data science learning experiences to support personally and socially meaningful work with data for middle school aged girls. Through participatory co-design with girls from groups underrepresented in data science, the project will develop “The Isles of Ilkmaar,” a narratively rich, multiplayer virtual world in which the players together explore an island ecosystem, and must work to understand, earn the trust of, and ultimately to care for the islands’ unique fauna. Data is generated through players’ gameplay actions, and can be pooled with data generated by other players and by non-player characters, to become a progressively valuable and complex resource for pursuing personal and collective goals within the world. By engaging with their own gameplay data both within the game and in informal club experiences, players will learn important data science concepts and skills related to data structures, storage, exploration, analysis, and visualization. The project will also develop facilitator materials to allow adult volunteers to create game-based informal data science learning experiences for youth in their areas. The research will use a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods including surveys, focus groups, interviews, and gameplay and club observations to investigate how social, game-based learning can simultaneously support girls’ identity work and understanding of data science concepts and practices. Project evaluation will determine how gameplay and club experiences impact participants’ attitudes toward and interest in data-rich futures. The project holds the potential for broadening participation and promoting interest in data science. The results will be disseminated through conference presentations, scholarly publications, and social media. The game and facilitator materials will be designed for dissemination and made freely available to the public.

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