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Photo of Radinsky, Josh

Josh Radinsky

Associate Professor

Curriculum and Instruction


Building & Room:

1570-E LSRI


1240 W. Harrison

Office Phone:

(312) 413-0326

CV Download:

Josh Radinsky CV


Josh Radinsky is an associate professor of Learning Sciences, and of Curriculum and Instruction in UIC's College of Education. Radinsky's research applies sociocultural frameworks to the study of teaching and learning with data visualizations, with a focus on historical inquiry spatial reasoning, and narrations of data. At LSRI, Radinsky has been the principal investigator or co-PI of nine federally funded research projects (National Science Foundation, National Endowment for the Humanities, U.S. Department of Education), 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 visualizations -- 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 was Co-Editor in Chief of the Journal of the Learning Sciences from 2012-2016. He has been a collaborating consultant with the Social Science 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.

Selected Publications

Radinsky, J., Milz*, D., Zellner, M., Pudlock*, K., Witek*, C., Hoch, C., & Lyons, L. (2017). How planners and stakeholders learn with visualization tools: Using learning sciences methods to examine planning processes. Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, 60(7), 1296-1323.

Waitoller, F. R., & Radinsky, J. (2017). Geo-spatial perspectives on neoliberal education reform: Examining intersections of ability, race, and social class. In Morrison, D., Annamma, S. & D. Jackson (Eds.), Critical race spatial analysis: Mapping to understand and address educational inequality. Sterling VA: Stylus Publishing.

Hospelhorn*, E., & Radinsky, J. (2017). A method for analyzing gestural communication in musical groups. Discourse Processes, 54(7), 504-523. E-print:

Radinsky, J., Hospelhorn*, E., Melendez*, J. W., Riel*, J. & Washington*, S. (2014). Teaching American migrations with GIS census webmaps: A modified “Backwards Design” approach in middle-school and college classrooms. Journal of Social Studies Research, 38(3), 143-158.

Radinsky, J., Goldman, S. & Pellegrino, J. (2015). Historical thinking: In search of conceptual and practical guidance for the design and use of assessments of student competence. In K. Ercikan & P. Seixas (Eds.), New Directions in Assessing Historical Thinking, 132-142. New York, NY: Informa UK Limited

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.
* Student co-author


2000 - PhD, Northwestern University, Learning Sciences
1985 - BA, University of Michigan Ann Arbor, Comparative History

Licensures and Certifications

  • Inaugural Fellow, International Society of the Learning Sciences Fellows Program.
  • 2010 Recipient, National Science Foundation’s Early Career Award

Professional Memberships

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

Research Currently in Progress

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.