Faculty & Staff

Department/SpecializationLearning SciencesCurriculum & Instruction


Office Phone

  • +1 (312) 413-1227


  • 1424 EPASW
  • 1570-G SSB

Mailing Address

1040 W. Harrison M/C 147
60607 Chicago , IL


Associate Professor

Josh Radinsky is an associate professor in UIC's Learning Sciences interdisciplinary doctoral program, and in the department of Curriculum and Instruction in UIC's College of Education. Radinsky's research applies cultural-historical activity theory to the study of teaching and learning with data visualizations, with a focus on historical inquiry and spatial reasoning. At LSRI, Radinsky is currently the principal investigator or co-PI of five federally funded research projects, and is Director of the American Migrations project and the GIS for History project. His research methods are design-based, using the process of designing and adapting learning environments -- curriculum, instruction, software, data inscriptions -- as a window through which to analyze how people learn, individually and socially. This research informs professional development and teacher education in the social sciences. Radinsky is a 2010 recipient of the National Science Foundation's Early Career Award, and has published his research in journals including Cognition and Instruction and the Journal of Research in Science Teaching. He is a collaborating consultant with the Social Science 3.0 initiative of the Chicago Public Schools, helping the district develop social science academic standards, curriculum and professional development for teaching and learning history and the social sciences at all grade levels. He is currently co-editor-in-chief of the Journal of the Learning Sciences


  • 2000 Ph.D., Northwestern University, Learning Sciences
  • 1985 B.A., University of Michigan Ann Arbor, Comparative History

Research and Teaching Interests

My research examines how people learn to make sense of complex information, especially with data visualizations like GIS maps and graphs.  I have done research, teaching, and curriculum development in history education and science education.  

My work is located in urban schools – elementary, high school and college classrooms. The work studies social, cultural and cognitive aspects of learning, using a combination of design-based, qualitative, quantitative and spatial research methods.

Current projects include: 

Director and PI of the American Migrations project, in which we are developing curriculum and teaching resources for teaching African American and Latino migrations that have shaped U. S. history, using online data maps with historical census data, as well as texts about migrations.  This research is conducted in middle school and college classrooms.

Co-PI of the CoCensus project, in which we are developing a museum exhibit at the New York Science Museum, learning-supports for the website Social Explorer™, and middle school and college curriculum to help build people’s skills for spatial reasoning with interactive data maps.

Co-PI of the System Simulations for Stakeholders project, in which we work with urban planners on integration agent-based modeling (ABM) and GIS tools into planning, and examine how these tools impact the ways planners learn in practice.

Co-PI of Project READI: Reading, Evidence and Argumentation in Disciplinary Instruction, a 5-year study to improve students’ abilities to create arguments from multiple text sources within the content areas of history, science, and literature.

Selected Publications

Radinsky, J., Leimberer, J. M., & Rodriguez, C. (2013). Learning to do data visualization in science classrooms: The case of GIS. In K. D. Finson & J. E. Pederson (Eds.), Visual Data and Their Use in Science Education. Greenwich, CT: Information Age Publishing.

Radinsky, J., Alamar, K., & Oliva, S. (2010). Camila, the earth, and the sun: Constructing an idea as shared intellectual property.  Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 47(6): 619-642

Radinsky, J.  (2008). Students’ roles in group-work with visual data: A site of science learning. Cognition & Instruction, 26(2): 145-194.

Radinsky, J. (2008). GIS for History: a GIS learning environment to teach historical reasoning.  In Alibrandi, M. & A. Milson (Eds.), Digital Geography: Geo-spatial Technologies in the Social Studies Classroom: 99-117.  Greenwich, CT: Information Age Publishing.

Radinsky, J., Loh, B. & Lukasik, J. (2008).  GIS tools for historical inquiry:  Issues for classroom-centered design.  Journal of the Association of History and Computing, XI(2).

Singer, M., Radinsky, J. & Goldman, S. (2008).  The role of gesture in meaning construction.  Discourse Processes, 45(4), 365-386. 

Radinsky, J., Alamar, K., Leimberer, J., Rodriguez, C., & J. Trigueros (2005).  Science investigations with GIS: Helping students develop the need to know more.  Spectrum: Journal of the Illinois Science Teachers' Association, 31 (2): 34-42. 


  • 2010 Recipient, National Science Foundation’s Early Career Award

Professional Affiliations

  • Co-Editor-in-Chief, Journal of the Learning Sciences
  • International Society of the Learning Sciences
  • American Educational Research Association
  • Social Science History Association