Location: Toronto

Duration: Start in June until the end of the summer 2022.

Hours: Full time. We operate on a 4-day work week, and you are paid for a full 5-day work week

Salary: $17 to $22 per hour, based on experience

Job Summary

Your passion is to help students develop creative, technical and personal skills through hands-on interest-lead learning. You have some arts and/or technology skills, and/or some experience in teaching, mentoring and/or facilitating in hands-on environments. If you are not skilled in them already, you are motivated to learn about laser cutting and basic electronics.

You are a creative and energetic person who likes working with kids and young people, and enjoys enabling their weird and wonderful ideas to come to life. You celebrate failures, are comfortable in controlled chaos, and value the process over the product. You’re organized, flexible, and interested in growing your own learning and teaching practice. 

Your job will be to work in a team of 2 people to run kids programs at Toronto Public Libraries and other locations across the city. Your audience will primarily be younger students aged 6 to 12, but may also include older youth as well. Projects will be drawn from our upcoming book, Make: AI Robots, and will typically take 1-2 hours for kids to complete. For example, roll a ball arcade game, vehicles, creatures, costume accessories and more. Parts include cardboard, wood, craft materials and simple electronics such as LEDs and motors. They will enhance these projects with AI vision recognition such as a coin counter to activate the game, an animal that mimics your facial expressions, and more. 

A typical work week will include 2 days of on site kids programs and 2 days of prep time. The prep time will be at one of the makerspace locations that we operate from such as the Ryerson Science Discovery Zone or the Toronto Tool Library. Here you will prepare laser cut parts, electronics, craft materials and other parts for the programs. On prep days you will also connect with the other Steamlabs staff to discuss program ideas.

Note that we do not require you to know all of these technologies listed in the skills section already! The core skill required is one or more of these technologies or physical making or art. Alternatively, if you have experience teaching in a hands-on making or artistic environment, this qualifies you as well. There will be many opportunities for you to learn the technology skills on the job. We’re first and foremost a science and technology educational organization and we will teach you!

Work Environment

As a part of our commitment to ensuring a positive, nurturing and supportive work environment, Steamlabs has implemented a number of policies:

  • 4-day work week, paid for a 5-day work week. Staff are expected to work only Monday through Thursday 9-5, but are paid for a full 35-hour work week. Fridays are your time, and you are not required to work or communicate with the team.
  • Professional coach on staff. Group mentoring sessions as well as individual personal coaching sessions to support you and your career.
  • Professional development. Staff are encouraged and mentored to continue developing their skills, with some courses and certification exams paid for. 
  • Support for the next step in your career development. We recognize that for many, Steamlabs is a step in their longer career direction, and we will help you achieve the steps that come after through mentorship, portfolio development and industry connections. 

Since we are relying on the Canada Summer Jobs grant to fund part of the salary, let us know if you have the following eligibility:

  1. Between 15 and 30 years of age at the start of the employment;
  2. A Canadian citizen, permanent resident, or person to whom refugee protection has been conferred under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act for the duration of the employment; and,
  3. have a valid Social Insurance Number at the start of employment and be legally entitled to work in Canada in accordance with relevant provincial or territorial legislation and regulations

About Steamlabs

Steamlabs is a Canadian science and technology education innovation non-profit established in 2010 to ensure people understand and think critically about science and technology, have equitable access to it, and can use it to solve their personal challenges, improve their communities and make the world a better place. Steamlabs mentors kids, teens, teachers and others at makerspaces across Toronto and around the world.

About our work: AI, coding and climate change online activity development

AI is changing and disrupting many aspects of global society. By educating vulnerable youth on AI technology, we prepare them to use AI as their assistant to solve their personal challenges and improve their world. By discussing social implications and problems with AI around data security, inequity and bias, we prepare them to advocate for an equitable world where AI is used to support and enhance us rather than oppress and replace us. Climate change has increased levels of uncertainty about our future, with young people being the most vulnerable to impacts. By empowering youth to advocate for action, we help shape a better future.

To achieve this end, Steamlabs has been developing a series of AI, Machine Learning and Climate Change workshops for teens in grade K-12. Self-directed or facilitated, they are designed around examples useful and interesting to them. Participants develop creative, technical and personal skills through hands-on interest-lead learning. The activities are used by individuals and in schools, science centres, libraries, makerspaces and other settings. 

By the end of the workshops, students have a grounding in the 5 key areas of ML: data, learning, perception, representation & reasoning, and natural interaction. Societal Impacts are also discussed in all workshops. Climate change workshop participants will come away with new knowledge and new resolve to take action.

Principal Responsibilities:

  • Learn core skills in:
    • Laser cutting
    • Basic electronic circuits
    • Basic kids coding with micro:bit
  • Assist with STEAMLabs summer technology camps for kids and youth
  • Assist with STEAMLabs summer events such as Maker Festival
  • Collaborate with STEAMLabs staff to document and develop maker educational programming
  • Collaborate with the team to develop processes better processes and services
  • Complete other operational tasks that relate to your role (e.g. organization and sourcing materials)

Required Skills and Experience:

  • Teaching experience with kids in a hands on making or artistic environment
  • At least one technology, making or artistic skill
    • Laser cutting
    • 3D printing
    • 3D Design such as Fusion360
    • 2D Design such as Adobe Illustrator
    • Coding with educational platforms such as micro:bit
    • Sculpture, painting, other artistic skill
    • Sewing, woodworking, metalworking or other hands on skill
    • Electronics, mechatronics or other engineering skill

Bonus Skills and Experience:

  • Experience developing/designing educational programs and activity plans
  • Experience with more technology, making or artistic skills
  • Knowledge of popular education, interest/project based learning, inquiry based learning, or other teaching philosophies. 
  • Familiar with design software such as Adobe Illustrator or 3D design programs
  • Fluent French speaker. Some of our participants speak French as their first language.

Our participants include people with diverse backgrounds. Special consideration will be afforded to applicants from these communities, or with experience working with:

  • Persons with disabilities
  • Newcomers to Canada (including refugees)
  • Indigenous peoples
  • Members of a visible minority
  • People of colour
  • Members of the LGBTQ2+ community
  • Women and girls

Why work with us?

  • We’re a small, agile team of friendly people with varied skills and experiences.
  • There are plenty of opportunities to learn, grow and try new things.
  • The Steamlabs Community (members, volunteers, program participants and otherwise) are awesome, and a pleasure and privilege to work with and for. 
  • We’re a workplace that embraces failure as the most potent form of learning!

How to apply:

Please send a resume, cover letter, and any relevant links via this form: https://forms.gle/4VJnxG1MZjngtrUf6