digital literacy; educational technology and equity; civic education; history/social studies education; teacher education

Sarah McGrew is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Teaching and Learning, Policy and Leadership in the College of Education at the University of Maryland, College Park. She studies educational responses to the spread of online mis- and disinformation, focusing on how young people search for and evaluate online information on contentious topics and how schools can better support students to learn effective evaluation strategies.

In collaboration with the Stanford History Education Group, Dr. McGrew developed assessments of students’ online reasoning, conducted research on fact checkers’ strategies for evaluating digital content, and tested curriculum designed to teach these strategies to secondary and college students. Dr. McGrew's research has been published in journals including Cognition and InstructionComputers & Education, Teaching and Teacher Education, Teachers College Record, and Theory and Research in Social Education. It also received coverage in outlets including the Wall Street Journal, NPR, Time, and the Chronicle of Higher Education. Dr. McGrew’s current research focuses on three related questions: how best to support teachers to learn online reasoning themselves and prepare for teaching students, how to design lessons that are rooted in civic and community issues that students know and care about, and how to connect lessons on evaluating online information to a larger process of civic inquiry that includes discussing issues and taking informed action. 

Dr. McGrew earned a B.A. in Political Science and Education from Swarthmore College and an M.A. and teacher certification in the Stanford Teacher Education Program. She taught high school history in Washington, D.C. for five years before returning to Stanford to complete her Ph.D. in Curriculum and Teacher Education.

University of Maryland College of Education Excellence in Scholarship Award for Pre-Tenure Faculty, 2023

National Academy of Education/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship, 2022-2024

Refereed Journal Articles:

McGrew, S., & Breakstone, J. (2023). Civic online reasoning across the curriculum: Developing    and testing the efficacy of digital literacy lessons. AERA Open.

Levy, B. L. M., Busey, C. L., Cuenca, A., Evans, R. W., Halvorsen, A., Ho, L., Kahne, J.,    Kissling, M. T., Lo, J. C., McAvoy, P., & McGrew, S. (2023). Social studies education research for sustainable democratic societies: Addressing persistent civic challenges. Theory & Research in Social Education, 51(1), 1-46.

McGrew, S., & Byrne, V. B. (2022). Conversations after lateral reading: Supporting teachers to    focus on process, not content. Computers & Education, 185.

Wineburg, S., Breakstone, J., McGrew, S., Smith, M., & Ortega, T. (2022). Lateral reading on the open Internet: A district-wide field study in high school government classes. Journal of Educational Psychology, 114(5), 893-909.

McGrew, S., & Chinoy, I. (2022). Fighting misinformation in college: Students learn to search and evaluate online information through flexible modules. Information & Learning Sciences, 123 (1/2), 45-64.

McGrew, S. (2021). Bridge or byway? Teaching historical reading and civic online reasoning in a U.S. history class. Theory & Research in Social Education. Advance online publication.

McGrew, S. (2021). Challenging approaches: Sharing and responding to weak digital heuristics in class discussions. Teaching & Teacher Education, 108.

McGrew, S. (2021). Internet or archive: Expertise in searching for digital sources on a contentious historical question. Cognition & Instruction. Advance online publication.

McGrew, S. (2021). Skipping the source and checking the contents: An in-depth look at students’ approaches to web evaluation. Computers in the Schools, 38(2), 75-97.

McGrew, S., & Byrne, V. B. (2021). Who is behind this? Preparing high school students to evaluate online content. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, ​​​​​​​53(4), 457-475.

 McGrew, S. (2020). Learning to evaluate: An intervention in civic online reasoning. Computers and Education, 145.

McGrew, S., Smith, M., Breakstone, J., Ortega, T., & Wineburg, S. (2019). Improvement in university students’ web savvy: An intervention study. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 89(3), 485-500.

Wineburg, S., & McGrew, S. (2019). Lateral reading and the nature of expertise: Reading less and learning more when evaluating digital information. Teachers College Record, 121(11).

McGrew, S., Breakstone, J., Ortega, T., Smith, M., & Wineburg, S. (2018). Can students evaluate online sources? Learning from assessments of civic online reasoning. Theory & Research in Social Education, 46(2), 165-193.

Reisman, A., Kavanagh, S., Monte-Sano, C., Fogo, B., McGrew, S., Cipparone, P., & Simmons, E. (2018). Facilitating whole-class discussions in history: A framework for preparing teacher candidates. Journal of Teacher Education, 69(3), 278-293.

Select Professional and Popular Publications:

McGrew, S., Merroth, L., Zuspan, S., Buhrman, S., & Reynolds, E. (2022). Teaching students to evaluate online information through current events. Social Education, 86(6), 386-391.

Mirra, N., McGrew, S., Kahne, J., Garcia, A., & Tynes, B. (2022). Expanding digital citizenship education to address tough issues. Phi Delta Kappan, 103(5), 31-35.

McGrew, S. (2022). Students (and many adults) can’t tell fact from fiction online. Here’s how to help. Education Week.    many-adults-cant-tell-fact-from-fiction-online-heres-how-to-help/2022/04

Breakstone, J., McGrew, S., Smith, M., Ortega, T., & Wineburg, S. (2018). Why we need a new approach to teaching digital literacy. Phi Delta Kappan, 99(6), 27-32.

McGrew, S., Ortega, T., Breakstone, J., & Wineburg, S. (2017). The problem that’s bigger than fake news: Civic reasoning in a social media environment. American Educator, 41(3), 4-   9, 39.

Wineburg, S., & McGrew, S. (2016). Why students can’t Google their way to the   truth. Education Week, 36(11), 22.


TLPL 300/618: Digital Learning Tools and Communities

TLPL 686: Secondary Social Studies Pedagogy

TLPL 702: Theories of Learning and Leadership with Technology

TLPL 708C: Educational Responses to Digital Mis- and Disinformation