SWL Schoowide Labs LogoSchoolWide Labs (SWL) is a research and educational program that engages in projects that collaboratively co-designs middle school curricula that supports student engagement in Computational Thinking (CT). Science and STEM teachers from multiple school districts co-develop, test, and iterate after-school and summer programs with researchers. SWL program currently operates three projects under a variety of funding sources.

SWL's middle school curricula integrate and promote CT in STEM and Science classrooms through providing engaging, hands-on learning experiences through a school-based sensing platform anchored in storyline units focused on phenomena. Each instructional unit is referred to as a storyline - a set of lessons that are driven by student questions about a specific design challenge or scientific phenomena. These storylines use students’ questions and ideas to ground the sensing investigation and drive the class forward.Sensing technology is integrated into a series of lessons that address identified performance expectations in the Next Generation Science Standards as well as science, engineering and computational thinking practices.


The mission of the SWL program is to design, test, and implement tools and strategies for supporting teachers in creating inclusive classroom cultures and in co-designing curriculum that connects to interests, experiences, and identities of students from diverse racial and linguistic backgrounds that leads to equitable and consequential learning in CT.

Core Commitments

We accomplish the mission through the co-design of new curriculum, new teaching and learning tools, and new learning environments, accompanied by qualitative and quantitative research on their effectiveness. Across these efforts, our partnership shares a set of core commitments which guide our design and development activities which:

  • Promote equity
  • Support implementation of next generation science standards
  • Promotes agency of participants in research through collaborative design
  • Supports learning and research through deeply digital design
  • Follows the contours of problems and where they might lead

Funding & Support

SWL has received funding from a variety of federal agencies and private foundations, including the James S. McDonnell Foundation and the National Science Foundation's ITEST and STEM+C programs. 


Utah State UniversityDenver Public School DistrictSparkfun, the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR)Vail Valley Foundation, and Eagle County Schools.

Find out more about the personnel from each organization involved in SWL projects.

     NSF LogoNational Science Foundation
     Project #1742053, Project # 1742046Project #1948709