Dr. Jim Hewitt
Jim is an Associate Professor in the Department of Curriculum, Teaching and Learning at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto. His research focuses on the educational applications of computer-based technologies, with a particular emphasis on discursive processes in collaborative learning environments. Jim’s publications include studies of thread development in asynchronous distance education courses, sociocultural supports for knowledge building in elementary science classrooms, and uses of multimedia and online technologies for teacher development. His research suggests that traditional threaded computer conferencing software lacks critical supports for knowledge building and promotes diverging, add-on style discourse rather than the more sophisticated operations (such as synthesis and superordination) required for sustained, progressive knowledge work. Jim is the principal investigator and developer of web-based learning environment called Pepper. In Pepper, students work together in a learning community to study challenging problems, identify important ideas, and progressively work to improve those ideas. Through these and other research endeavors, Jim hopes to discover new ways to help students work together creatively to build knowledge.