Idea Thread Mapper


Idea Threads Mapper (ITM) is a research-based collaborative platform that supports student-directed, collaborative  knowledge building both within and across classrooms. It was created/upgraded by our team through two NSF Cyberlearning research grants (PI/Co-PI: Professors Jianwei Zhang (Education) and Mei-Hwa Chen (Computer Science).

Technology Overview

Knowledge builders can use ITM to:

  • Set up a Project for each knowledge-building inquiry and add members to the project;
  • Create Cross-Classroom Connections, which may include live buddy projects and archived resource projects;
  • Co-structure the inquiry process by setting up Wondering Areas (core themes of inquiry) and Idea Threads (more specific problems for discussion) based on students’ interests and knowledge goals;
  • Carry out collaborative dialogues in each Idea Thread, to generate and build on one another’s ideas, and reflect on their Journey of Thinking as progress is made;
  • Map out different idea threads to review inquiry progress and connections, and use the Activity Radar to monitor new contributions;
  • Launch Super Talk threads for cross-classroom collaboration to work on challenging problems and build cross-cutting connections.

Visit for more information.

The Classroom Process of Knowledge Building Supported by ITM

This short video provides an overview of our Reflective Structuration approach to co-organizing the journey of knowledge building  in classrooms:  Video created for the NSF 2018 STEM FOR ALL video showcase.

How to Login and Use ITM?

Users of any Knowledge Forum (KF6) database can access ITM from within KF.

Knowledge Forum server in Albany, NY: 

If you’d like to enable ITM in your KF database, please email

To access ITM user guide, visit the Idea Thread Mapper site.

Research findings and publications

See our NSF Cyberlearning project page.

Need to use the previous version of ITM? Check out this page