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Jim Diamond is an educational researcher and instructional designer in the field of digital media and learning, focused primarily on the use of educational games to enrich K–12 learning and teaching for students and teachers. He is especially interested in applying design-based research methods in his work to create and study technologies that foster individual learner agency in real-world learning settings. He brings extensive experience in educational research, design, and evaluation, and his areas of interest include history, social studies, and civics education; STEM education; and disciplinary literacy.
Diamond is currently the principal investigator (PI) of Playing with Data: Developing Digital Supports for Middle School Science Teachers Using Game-Based Formative Assessment, a three-year National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded DRK–12 project. This exploratory research and development project is investigating how teachers use data from video gameplay to make inferences about student learning and changes to instruction in the area of argumentation, as well as how “educative curriculum” materials can be designed to help teachers strengthen their data-driven decision making practices.
As the PI of a three-year NSF-funded ITEST project entitled Investigating Digital Badges as Alternative Credentials to Broaden STEM Participation Among Underrepresented Youth, Diamond is developing and studying a credentialing process called Design League Badge Portfolios. Digital badges are validated indicators of accomplishment or skill that are stored and managed online and can be earned in informal or formal learning environments.The process will give underserved youth a technology-supported method for presenting their Information Communication Technology (ICT) achievements in an out-of-school program in ways that are personally meaningful and that address the expectations of higher education institutions. Digital badge systems have the potential to become alternative credentialing methods.
Diamond has led and contributed to numerous evaluations of initiatives that use technology to better engage, motivate, and educate students. Recently, he served as the lead evaluator of iDesign, a collaborative NSF-funded R&D initiative led by Hofstra University that focused on building underrepresented students’ technological fluency and increasing their interests in STEM-related activities and careers using a culturally-relevant game design curriculum.
His research also addresses innovative uses of technology in the area of teacher professional development. He was the principal investigator of two studies, funded by the MacArthur Foundation’s HASTAC Digital Media and Learning Initiative, that examined the use of a digital badge system in an online professional development program for history teachers. And, he served as the senior instructional designer on the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation-funded Zoom In, an online tool that supports teachers in building students' literacy skills as they learn U.S. history .
Diamond is an adjunct professor at New York University, where he teaches courses in the principles of game-based learning and research methods to investigate game-based learning. Prior to joining EDC, he designed professional development programs for teachers in the area of educational technology. He began his career teaching elementary school. Diamond has a BA in History and an EdM in Educational Technology from Boston University, and a PhD in Educational Communication and Technology from New York University.