Challenger Center for Space Science Education (Challenger Center) uses dynamic, hands-on exploration and the thrill of discovery to excite students about STEM fields. Through a network of Challenger Learning Centers around the globe, students are transformed into astronauts and engineers solving "real-world" problems through a simulated environment and role-playing that brings classroom studies and important skills to life.
Challenger Center recently developed a new software platform (Sim3) and is in the process of creating new simulated education missions that will run on this program. We are just completing the development of the first two missions that run on this new software platform and are seeking to hire two (2) curriculum consultants to assist us in developing two additional missions. One consultant will work on the Mars mission and the other will work on the Comet mission. ). The Consultants will be working with Challenger Center and a small team of Challenger Learning Center staff to create these new middle school missions.
During a Challenger mission, students learn about a variety of STEM topics and complete scientific experiments through both simulated and hands-on activities. A Challenger mission is a compilation of a storyline, learner interface, educator interface, hands-on labs, and supplemental materials. The experiences and lessons closely align to national standards – Common Core and Next Generation Science standards. In addition, the use of 21st Century skills by the students plays a key role in the program helping them build self-efficacy as they experience success in solving problems in science, technology and math.
The learner interface, which is the primary element that the Consultant will be involved in includes the following elements: Task cards (mission instructions), Library articles (background research), Glossary terms (information resource), Team Tools (simulated lab activities). The simulation tools are similar to an "online lab" experience/resource that helps students understand a new concept and solve a mission issue.
A Challenger mission is designed so that a class of students is divided into two groups (spacecraft and mission control) and each group is broken into approximately 10 teams with unique responsibilities that have a mirror team on the other side. The mission design includes enough elements to support the active participation of an entire class of students in independent and collaborative work.
Duties and Responsibilities
Much of the development work will include collaborating with the Challenger mission development team to create and design the science content needed for a space science simulated mission experience. The Consultant will work with the mission development team to create a mission storyline and the supporting storyboards for each of the mission teams that align with middle school education standards. The Consultant will then develop context for the content and will take the lead in developing how that content will be taught and experienced and the instruction that will drive the class through the simulation. This work will be broken down into multiple phases that will include review, testing and refinement by the mission development team.
Some of the simulated software tools (team tools) that have been developed for previous missions will be reconfigured for the new content and some new tools will be developed. The Consultant will provide expertise on what the simulation tools need to do and the content for those tools in order to help convey a learning component. Challenger Center and our software developers will then develop the required tools in a cost effective manner.
The Consultant will also participate in authoring the mission into the software. S/he will work with Challenger Center to edit the mission through authoring after testing has begun.
This is part-time consulting opportunity that will last for approximately two years (April 2014 – February 2016), with the heaviest amount of work being completed during the first 6 months if the contract and during the testing phase.
Most meetings will be held through a web-based meeting portal, but there will be up to two in-person meetings per year that will require travel to either Washington, DC or one of our mission test sites around the country. In addition, to fully understand the program, the Consultant will travel to one of the test sites near the beginning of their contract to participate in a Challenger mission.
Although much of the work will be done remotely, this is a complex project requiring close teamwork, as many of the deliverables are linked directly to work being done by other members of the team. In addition, the project is proceeding under tight, but achievable deadlines. The Consultant will be required to communicate regularly with Challenger Center, and occasionally with Challenger Learning Center staff.
The Consultant will be compensated $50,000 for milestones achieved outlined in fixed price contract. All travel expenses to on-site meetings or trainings will be coordinated and covered by Challenger Center.
- Degree in Education, Science, Education Technology, or related field, Master's degree preferred
- Experience developing materials and/or curriculum for middle school students
- Experience working as a formal classroom teacher with middle school students, preferred.
- Background in space science preferred.
- Experience in basic HTML. CSS experience desirable
- Knowledge of learning environments, multimedia and online content development experience is preferred.
- Excellent time management skills
- Strong attention to detail
- Ability to work independently and as part of a team
- Good attitude and ability to laugh
- Ability to travel on occasion
- Quick learner using new computer programs and other types of education technology
- Excellent knowledge of the Microsoft suite (Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint)
- Experience participating or using web-based meeting technology
- Experience using Microsoft SharePoint, preferred.
Must own personal computer and have a high speed Internet connection
How to apply
- Please send your resume, cover letter and two writing samples (demonstrating your experience and ability) to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Please include the exact position title in the subject line of your email (Middle School ID Consultant – Mars OR Middle School ID Consultant – Comet).
- No phone calls please
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