• Ph.D. 2022 – University of Florida, Curriculum & Instruction (Educational Technology focus)
  • M.Ed. 2016 – University of Florida, Curriculum & Instruction
  • B.A. 2012 – Sichuan International University, China

Area of Expertise

  • Educational technology
  • Instructional design
  • STEM education
  • Spatial thinking
  • Educational measurement and statistics
  • Human-computer interaction


Prior to joining UNC, Zhen Xu received her Ph.D. and M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction with a concentration in Educational Technology from the University of Florida. She also obtained a minor in Research in Evaluation and Methodology, focusing on qualitative research methods.


Zhen Xu’s research focuses on designing technology-enhanced learning environments to support STEM learning, especially for underrepresented students. In particular, her research explores strategies to scaffold visuospatial thinking and designing innovative technologies to provide students with rich visuospatial learning experiences and unique visuospatial affordances. Zhen’s work is also dedicated to raising practitioners’ awareness in promoting and scaffolding visuospatial thinking in teaching and curriculum design.