Thomas Nygren

Professor at Department of Education

Mobile phone:
+46 73 646 86 49
Visiting address:
Von Kraemers allé 1 A
752 37 Uppsala
Postal address:
Box 2136
750 02 Uppsala

Short presentation

Professor in History and Civics Education at the Department of Education. My research interests focus on history and civics education, the digital impact on education, critical thinking and human rights education. My previous research, also conducted at Stanford University and Umeå University, has been quite cross-disciplinary. I am PI in the projects the News Evaluator, Digital Literacy Across Disciplines, and SEGA:D. EU expert on tackling disinformation and promoting digital literacy.


I am Professor of history and civics education at the Department of Education, Uppsala University. My research interests focus on educational challenges in history and civics education, for instance, international understanding, the digital impact on education, critical thinking and human rights. My previous research, also conducted at Umeå University and Stanford University, has moved across disciplines and been published in books and journals of history, education, information and computer science and digital humanities. In 2022 I was awarded the Uppsala University pedagogical prize and also the national award "the golden magnifying glass" for my work to promote digital critical thinking.


As a teacher in history and social science, I have had the privilege to research the practice and history of history teaching. My findings, presented in my thesis, show a richness of practices where teachers and students understand and communicate history in various ways.

In the research project "History Beyond Borders: The International Textbook Revision 1919-2002", directed by Daniel Lindmark Umeå University, I studied the relationship between international guidelines and Swedish history education 1927-2002, understanding better the complexity of implementation. This project was financed by the Swedish Research Council and conducted in collaboration with Georg Eckert Institute for Textbook Research.

Within the research program "Media Places", directed by Patrik Svensson HUMlab Umeå University and financed by the Knut and Alice Wallenberg foundation, I studied how students write history when using digital databases. In this program and in collaboration with the Spatial History Project at Stanford University I also studied the impact of data and visualizations on students and academia.

I was also involved in a project studying European History Crossroads as Pathways to Intercultural and Media Education (EHISTO). Financed by EU's Life Long Learning program we implemented and studied Popular Historical Magazines in teaching to find out if students can understand multiperspectivity and treat popular historical media in a critical way. This joint project, directed by Susanne Popp University of Augsburg, had researchers and teachers from Germany, Poland, Spain and England; multiple countries providing multiple historical perspectives.


Currently I am studying how digital media and teaching practices can be used to support and analyze different forms of critical thinking and values. I study how digital media can be used to mislead and support people's critical thinking, especially in the teaching of history and social studies. This is in light of my previous post-doc in the digital humanities at the Center for Spatial and Textual Analysis (CESTA), Stanford University, where I studied the teaching of human rights in Sweden and the United States, funded by the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation.

I am now working on ways to better understand different learning processes and how this can be stimulated in a digital era. For instance, how research and digital tools can be used to support and understand teaching on different levels. At the global level I collaborate with researchers and teachers from different parts of the world to better understand what students in different school contexts learn about human rights, peace and sustainability. This research of Global Citizenship Education is tied to a research node (GLOC) which I lead.

As a researcher I was part of a EU funded project aiming to enhance critical thinking and media literacy among learners and educational staff through developing, implementing and evaluating innovative methods and practices to debunk disinformation and propaganda. In this project - Peer education and gamification against polarisation (PEGAP) - research based digital tools were tested, used and evaluated in combination with peer education in the Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden and Germany to support critical thinking regarding fake news. Collaboration was headed by Diversion including Uppsala University, DROG, AEGEE, Schwarzkopf Stiftung and Fryshuset. Financed by the EU.

I was also working with researchers, teachers and journalists in another EU project, YouCheck! The goal of the YouCheck! project was to raise awareness of the public at large and the education and media literacy community about disinformation and “fake news” as a threat to democracy.
YouCheck! aimed more specifically to empower European citizens with the latest advances in image and video verification so that they can be actors of their own resilience strategies when confronted to information disorders. Collaboration headed by Savoir*Devenir, Sorbonne (France) including National University for Political Studies and Public Administration, SNSPA (Romania) UNED (Spain) and AFP press (France).

In a national project "The News Evaluator" I study together with researchers, designers and thousands of teenagers the credibility of digital news feeds. The project is partly financed by Vinnova and is a collaboration with VA (Public & Science) and Rise interactive. Together, we have built a digital tool and a database to better understand today’s news feeds in digital media and we are now working to design evidence based tools for teaching and learning digital civic literacy.

I am also leading a research project "General and subject-specific approaches to digital source criticism" where I together with researchers and teachers investigate digital source criticism across subject boundaries. We investigate how different ways of working can support (a) inoculation, (b) lateral reading and (c) subject-specific digital source criticism in this design study funded by the The Swedish Institute for Educational Research”.

Moreover, I am also the primary investigator of the project "Serious educational games against disinformation" SEGA:D, financed by the Swedish Psychological Defence Agency. This project aims to create new insights, methods, and openings in the use of serious games against disinformation and to foster the ability of young citizens to navigate complex digital environments saturated with disinformation.


Recent publications

All publications






Thomas Nygren