Creating Adoptable Computing Education Integrated into Social Studies Classes

PI’s: Mark Guzdial, University of Michigan and Tamara Shreiner, Grand Valley State University

Standards for social studies classes in the United States are increasingly emphasizing the development of data literacy, that is the ability to read, analyze, interpret, evaluate, and argue with data and data visualizations. K-8 students are expected to be able to create and use timelines and maps in most states. High school students are expected to be able to interpret and argue with graphs and charts. While this is a challenge for social studies teachers, few of whom have had any professional development with data literacy, it is an opportunity for computing education. Inquiry-based learning around data literacy requires computing — flexible computing skills that students can use to manipulate and visualize data. We are creating purpose-built data visualization tools for use in social studies classes, using an iterative, participatory design process involving dozens of social studies teachers already. The main research questions of our three year project are (1) how to design and create task-specific programming environments that support learning data literacy and computing skills and concepts and (2) how to promote adoption of these tools by social studies teachers. We will be following a group of pre-service social studies teachers who use our tools in their data literacy course, as they move into their field experiences and first practicing teaching positions. We will be developing assessments for data literacy and computing.

We are looking for more social studies teachers to be design informants and potential adopters of our tools. If you know a social studies teacher who would want to keep informed about our work and perhaps participate in our workshops, please have them sign up on our mailing list. Thank you!

Blog Posts about this work (with links to papers):

Press coverage


Guzdial, M. and Tamara L. Shreiner. 2021. “Integrating Computing through Task-Specific Programming for Disciplinary Relevance: Considerations and Examples.” In Computational Thinking in Education: A Pedagogical Perspective, Aman Yadav and Ulf Dalvad Berthelsen (Eds). PDF of Submitted.

Shreiner, Tamara L., Mark Guzdial, and Bahare Naimipour. 2021. “Using Participatory Design Research to Support the Teaching and Learning of Data Literacy in Social Studies.” Presented at CUFA, the College and University Faculty Assembly 2021 of the National Council of the Social Studies. PDF