Research group at imec & Vrije Universiteit Brussel

Junior Researcher – SMART EDUCATION

Apply before 30 Jun 2019

SMIT (Studies on Media, Innovation and Technology) is a research centre of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. It is located on the VUB Campus (Brussels) and is part of the Faculty of Social and Economic Sciences, the department of Communication Sciences and is embedded as a core group in imec. Imec is a leading strategic research institute specializing on nano-technology and ICT innovation from Flanders. More recently, IMEC has also developed a Smart Education Programme, of which imec-SMIT is a part of.  More generally, for over 25 years imec-SMIT has specialised in socio-economic and policy research on ICT innovation in Media, Cities, and Healthcare. Our team consists of around 70 senior and junior researchers, highly diverse representing a wide variety of backgrounds and nationalities.

Research domain

In an era characterized by rapid scientific and technical advances, the importance of developing sound learning strategies that enable lifelong learning and adaptation is paramount. Within our smart education program, we focus on a living lab approach to enhance schoolchildren’s data skills within and beyond the immediate school environment.

Through our mobile education lab (in the form of a data science bus – The DataBuzz VUB); the objectives are two-fold: practice and research. We are creating a living lab environment for the iterative and co-creative testing and development of smart education delivery and use cases.

On the one hand, the bus serves as a unique educational delivery medium by which we provide schools with the necessary edtech components and thematic lesson plans that each work towards enhancing data-literacy in schools. On the other hand we also aim to use the bus for research. These use-cases are overarched and framed with a focus on seamless and self-regulated learning.

The selected candidate for this project will have a unique opportunity to work in an interdisciplinary, applied and co-creative manner; contributing towards advancing the field of technology-supported self-regulated learning, the field of human-computer interaction and more broadly living lab research and societal smarter city ambitions in a real-life living lab environment (the Databuzz). The research project is also in cooperation with research group MICT at UGent.

Research tasks include

  • Edtech and technical support on the DataBuzz: Helping with facilitator trainings and the occasional maintenance, revision and general oversight of the educational technology for teaching and learning on the bus.
  • Case-study approach: educational use cases in formal & informal educational environments.
  • Collaboration & identification of multimodal data advances: understanding how learners select, monitor, assemble, rehearse, and translate information to learn;
  • Co-investigating devices and methods: identifying and contributing towards tool decisions (measuring physiological, affective, verbal, behavioral etc.). Which tools are acceptable and can be leveraged with the use-cases for measuring formative learning processes;
  • Data Collection: collect and provide raw materials (quantitative indicators continuously over learners’ real-life scenario and qualitative data captured through workshops, interviews and observations)
  • Co-Working & research exchange: Work closely alongside a complimentary Post-Doc track employing data analysis techniques to expose SRL processes, and building a behavioral analytics model;
  • Publish and share: research results in academic journals and conferences;

We offer

  • A dynamic and stimulating work environment based in the heart of Europe
  • No “ivory tower” research: close cooperation with high profile educational and industry partners on state-of-the-art technology, while also allowing for independent, and critical analysis;
  • Flexible working conditions with the opportunity for personal development and participation locally and globally on research topics;
  • A 1-year full time research contract, renewable with the potential for later long-term career perspectives.

Sounds like the job for you? Apply by sending a full CV and motivation letter to Wim Cloots before June 30th on jobs@smitresearch.be

Research profile

  • Candidates must have a Master’s degree in a relevant scientific discipline, including but not limited to communication studies, psychology or education (with a background in quantitative analysis), or a degree in computer science, human-computer interaction or engineering (preferably with experience or focus in technology-enhanced learning).
  • Candidates should have academic writing skills and fluency in Dutch and English.
  • Candidates must have good quantitative research skills and be willing to further develop and explore emerging research tools and strategies.
  • Candidates should have a technological affinity and some computer programming skills and experience. Skills necessary for undertaking the statistical aspects of the research (data collation, data analysis, algorithm development, development of data visualisations for teachers and learners) e.g. using Java, Python, R or similar, or be willing to acquire these skills.
  • Background knowledge in educational processes and learning theories, human- computer interaction and/or applied cognitive science is a plus.
  • Affinity with the Flemish educational system, existing digital education actors involved in technology-enhanced learning practices and digitalization in schools is a plus.
  • Prior experience teaching in, researching with and/or collaborating with the educational field, and educational technology for learning in formal schooling is a plus.
  • Candidates should be self-driven, display good time management and planning skills;
  • Candidates should have a flexible and collaborative attitude: capable of working on a project that involves varying educational environments, actors and the ability to deal with diverging opinions and visions;

Sounds like the job for you?

Apply before 30 Jun 2019 by sending your CV and motivation to jobs@smitresearch.be .