Idea Thread Mapper (ITM) is a research-based collaborative platform for students to conduct deep inquiry and sustained knowledge building. Its features support student collaboration within each classroom and cross communities.

  • Within each classroom, students develop sustained threads of inquiry to investigate deep problems in their areas of study. They contribute and build on one another’s ideas to develop deep understanding in each idea thread and work together to organize their whole inquiry project.
  • Beyond working with their own peers, students share productive threads of ideas with other classrooms and engage in “Super Talks” with students from around the world for mutual learning and collaborative problem solving.

  • Using ITM, students and teachers can:

  • Set up a Project for their classroom’s inquiry work and add project members
  • Create Cross-Project Connections including live “buddy projects’ and archived “resource projects”
  • Structure the inquiry project by setting up Wondering Areas (themes) and Idea Threads, each focusing on a more specific problem/topic in a Wondering Area
  • Participate in the discussion in each idea thread and updating its Journey of Thinking
  • Map out different idea threads to review progress and see connections
  • Launch and participant in “Super Talk” threads to discuss challenging problems with students from the buddy projects.




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    The development of ITM is funded by National Science Foundation through two Cyberlearning grants awarded to Dr. Jianwei Zhang and Dr. Mei-Hwa Chen at the University at Albany.

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