Author Archives: tcclzhang

Dr. Jianwei Zhang gave an invited speech at ICCE 2013 about principle-based design for creative knowledge practices


Inquiry-based learning practices to cultivate creative knowledge work currently rely on prescriptive designs that pre-specify a set of procedures to generate preset outcomes, with limited creative engagement of teachers and students in the design process. In his invited speech at the 21st International Conference on Computers in Education (ICCE) held in Bali Indonesia, Dr. Jianwei Zhang presented an adaptive, principle-based approach to learning design to support dynamic group flow that is essential to creative knowledge work. The teacher engages in opportunistic planning of inquiry processes and co-improvise with students as their idea-centered work unfolds in light of a set of primary principles. Structures of activities are not pre-set, but emerge from and  are “materialized” in practice. This principle-based approach sheds light on new designs of technology to leverage idea-centered group flow, feedback on progress, and inform deeper opportunities for sustained knowledge building. 

Idea Thread Mapper (ITM) Released in Both English and Chinese

Funded by a NSF Cyberlearning research grant,  Drs. Jianwei Zhang, Mei-Hwa Chen, and their team recently created a timeline-based collective knowledge mapping tool– Idea Thread Mapper (ITM). It can help members of knowledge building communities to engage in formative  reflection on idea progress in extended online discourse. Each line of inquiry focusing on a shared principal theme is represented as an idea thread, extending from the first to the last discourse entry. Reflecting on the diverse, unfolding idea threads  helps students to understand the conceptual landscape of their collaborative work and envision opportunities for deeper contribution and collaboration. We have been testing ITM-aided collaborative reflection in Grade 3 and 5/6 classrooms in Canada, China, and Albany, NY,  with positive impact on sustained knowledge building.

Users of any Knowledge Forum (KF) database can access ITM from within KF or through the following ITM portal, using their KF username and password.

English version

Chinese version

For more info, see: ITM: Idea Thread Mapper