Ruiwen Peng(Emma)is currently studying for her doctorate at the Academy of Art and Design, Tsinghua University. Shereceived her Master of Science (MSc) from Oxford University and her Bachelor of Science (BSc) from Durham University in England.

Research Area

Tangible Interaction Design for Children,Lifelong Learning,Creative Education

Project Experience

1. The cultivation of students’ innovative ability as the mission, and actively advocate Design Thinking to stimulate the creativity of children, Peng Ruiwen coauthored with Chen Chaohua on a book and developed courses for 5-8 years old, and coauthored with Zhao Di for a book in Earth Sciences as a series of books edited by the Lab for Lifelong Learning, Tsinghua University to be published by the Tsinghua University Press.

2. Peng Ruiwen wa sone of the chief reviewers of Computational Thinking and Programming, which will be published by Tsinghua University Press as a series of books on improving scientific education ability. This book can be used as a popularscience education textbook for teenagers on computational thinking and programming, and also for the training of science and technology teachers in primary and secondary schools.

3. Peng Ruiwen was one of the editors of “Design Thinking and Innovative Education”. As one of the series of teaching materials for teachers’ education of”entrepreneurship and innovation” in normal universities, it can be used as relevant teaching materials and reference books for model students, as well as training materials for primary and secondary school teachers.

4. Peng Ruiwen was one of the editors of Our Little Friends: Dogs, a picture book that guides children to practice “Raising dogs in a civilized way and being a responsible little owner”. It was published by the China Labor and Social Security Publishing House in May 2019.

5. Peng Ruiwen was the emcee in many conferences and workshops, such as the International Conference on Lifelong Learning in Tsinghua University in May 2017, the Conference on Lifelong Learning and Positive Education in Chengdu in December 2018, and the International Conference on Lifelong Learning and Future Talents at the Beijing National Conference Center in December 2019, all were organized by the Lab for Lifelong Learning, TsinghuaUniversity, in order to advocate the idea of lifelong learning and influence decision makers in creative education.

6. Peng Ruiwen spoke at the “SEK2019 China children’s science education peak BBS”and “science education branch” founding conference, and gave aninvited speech on “under the concept of lifelong learning of STEAM education” in Beijing, July 2019. She pointed out that the purpose ofchildren’s science education was more than just learning scientific knowledge, but to cultivate their scientific attitude and scientific spirit, and putforward “learning through play and creation, and reimagine lifelong learning for new STEAM education connotation.

7. Peng Ruiwen, XuYingqing, Appearance Patent: Package Kit (drawer type) — Low-cost children’s Hands-on Experimental Kit, patent No.:201830408245.7


1. Peng Ruiwen, Tao Xuanzi, Cultivating Future Talents with Lifelong Learning Ability, International Academic Dynamics Magazine, 2020

2. Zha, S., Peng,R., & Zhang, F. The Effects on Young Students’ Computational Thinking in CS Unplugged Activities. Presented at The London International Conference on Education, Cambridge, the UK. 10 Dec 2018

3. Zhao Di, Wu Zhen, Peng Ruiwen, how to learn through play under the concept of lifelong learning, Information Technology Education for Primary and Secondary Schools, 2017, 08, 60-63

4. Liu Zhong, Peng Ruiwen, Lin Xia, Luo Yan, Study on Ecological Flow of Zhangxi River determined by habitat Method, Environmental Impact Assessment, 2015

5. Liu Zhong, Peng Ruiwen, Chen Mengrong, Gong Fengjing, Study on Determining the Environmentalflow of Zhangxi River by hydraulic rating method, Environmental Impact Assessment, 2015

6.Acreman, M.C., Liu, Z., Peng, E.,Gong, F.J., Chen, M.R., Lin, X., Rameshwaran, P. (2010) Use of hydraulic rating to set environmental flows in the Zhangxi River, China. In: British Hydrological Society Third International Symposium, Role of Hydrology in Managing Consequences of a Changing Global Environment, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom, 19-23 July 2010.

Contact Information:

From December 22 to 23, “International Conference on Lifelong Learning and Future Talents” was held in the National Conference Center,Beijing. Experts, scholars, educators and educational practitioners from home and abroad have conducted in-depth exchanges and discussions on topics including how to cultivate lifelong learning ability and future talents, evaluation standards of future talents, educational innovation exploration under the background of artificial intelligence, and global exploration of innovative education, etc. The conference has provided a platform for multi-party dialogue about lifelong learning and future talent cultivation between interdisciplinary, cross scenario.

On the basis of two successful sessions held in 2017 and 2018, the conference focuses on “lifelong learning ability and future talent training”, focusing on exploring the construction of lifelong learning system and innovation of future education concepts and models in the era of artificial intelligence, promoting foreign exchange and cooperation, mutual inspiration and reference in basic education, and sharing practical experience of lifelong learning ability and future of young children in personnel training.

Main forum

The academic forum of the conference was hosted by Peng Ruiwen, Deputy Director of TULLL. The academic speech of the conference focused on how to cultivate future talents, the development and prospect of future education technology, personalized learning exploration in talent training, global exploration of innovative education under the concept of lifelong learning, etc. 

Pro.Mitchel Resnick from MIT, the Father of the Scratch, Pro.Xie Weihe, Dean of the Education Institute  from Tsinghua University, Pro. Benjamin Mardell, Principle Investigator at the Project Zero of Harvard University, Pro. Wang Dianjun, Principal of Tsinghua University High School, Pro.Meng Fanhua, Principal and Deputy Party Secretary of the Capital Normal University, Pro.Liu Jian, Chief Expert and Deputy Director of Collaborative Innovation Center of  Assessment for Basic Education Quality, Pro.Fred Dervin from Multicultural Education from Helsinki University of Finland, Pro.Li Shuangshou,Director of Fundamental Industry Training Center( iCenter)of Tsinghua University, Pro.Xu Yingqing, Director of the Future Lab and  Lifelong Learning Lab at Tsinghua University delivered keynote speech respectively.

Parallel Sub-forum

On the 23rd, three parallel sub forums highlighted the characteristics of “practical” and launched a number of solution exploration and best practice cases on the basis of exploring the top-level design concept and development direction of lifelong learning and future education. The forum invited front-line educators from kindergartens, primary schools, middle schools, universities, public and private schools to lay a foundation for the future in terms of “how to cultivate and evaluate future talents”, “how to cultivate future key skills in the era of artificial intelligence” and “how to cultivate lifelong learning ability” from the perspectives of basic education and higher education, within and outside the system, international and domestic cross-cultural as well as different regions “Base” and other topics for point of view collision and experience mutual learning. Guests exchanged viewpoints of education policy, evaluation standard, future talent training scheme, technology application, first-line practice cases and curriculum design.

Conference Guide Book

“The Artificial Intelligence * Lifelong Learning Innovative Design Competition of Tsinghua University” in 2019 has come to an end on July 3rd. The competition is based on the combination of artificial intelligence and lifelong learning. It is organized by TULLL. We aim to recruit lifelong learners who want to change the world mainly among Tsinghua University students. The competition builds a multidisciplinary platform that integrates research, communication and hands-on practice and stimulates deeper thoughts in the field of artificial intelligence and innovative education.
A total of about 40 students entered the competition in groups or individuals. In March 2019, the competition collected works for the preliminary competition. The  semi-competition was held in April 2019, and the final was held on July 3.Seven groups of students made it to the finals. Judges of the final are: Søren Holm, Experience Director of LEGO Foundation, Garrett Jaeger, Researcher, Olav gjerloufsen, Director of Technology Innovation, Georgine Paltzer, Project Manager, Xu Yingqing, Director of TULLL and Cui Bowen(Kelvin), CEO of Zhuchuang Education Technology Co., Ltd..

The theme of this year’s competition is creating a future for children. Contestants released their creativity in the projects, using artificial intelligence to design intelligent learning tools with a human touch, and had a strong sense of social responsibility, committed to changing the world with their efforts.

Please check the series of articles present the excellent projects of the finalists on TULLL official WeChat :

大赛作品分享 | 盲人儿童电子音乐乐高积木Electronic Music LEGO for Blind Children

AI+大赛作品 | 乐(yuè)高——让造型可以被聆听Music LEGO

大赛作品分享 |“乐高+电子游戏=建筑学启蒙” City Code


On April 19, 2019, TULLL  had its third birthday.

Dr. Rao Zhen, from the Faculty of Education of Cambridge University, delivered a keynote speech “Pretend Play :is not as simple as you might have thought”;

At the end of the activity, Emma, deputy director of Tsinghua University, presided over the appointment ceremony of consultant for TULLL. The three consultants are:

Stella Christie, Academic Research Consultant, TULLL

Dr. Stella Christie is an associate professor of psychology at Tsinghua University. Born in Indonesia, graduated from Harvard University in 2004 with a bachelor’s degree in psychology, and received a doctor’s degree in cognitive psychology from Northwestern University in 2010.


Zhai Xiangyun, Course Design Consultant, TULLL

Zhai Xiangyun is the primary school curriculum design director of the education group attached to Peking University. Bachelor of psychology, Peking University, graduate student of development and educational psychology, Beijing Normal University, with the qualification of lecturer of Montessori Association of America.

Chen Chaohua, Consultant of Art Course, TULLL

Master of Beijing Printing Institute, associate professor of fine arts, founder of self media “Qingjiao xiaoke(青椒小课)”. Chen Chaohua has double knowledge background of art and design, has long been concerned about and committed to the research of children’s art education, has rich experience in research and development of children’s art courses.

Xu Yingqing, director of TULLL, issued the certificate to the consultants and expressed his gratitude.

Peng Ruiwen(Emma), Deputy Director of TULLL, also announced that TULLL will jointly launch the Alliance on Lifelong Learning(ALL) with partners. ALL will set up a platform to gather more educational forces to help Chinese kids become lifelong learners!

More information can be found in: Official Wechat public account of TULLL

TULLL science and technology camp are open for children aged 6-13 in summer and winter holidays.With the goal of cultivating “future oriented and creative lifelong learners”, TULLL science and technology innovation camp currently has three systems of courses:

  1. Construction mode of the future world — engineering thinking

If computational thinking is more about “software” – the extension of the human brain, then engineering thinking represented by robot programming is more about “hardware” – the extension of the human body. From automobile to aerospace, from architecture to home, from assembly line to an intelligent robot, Engineering thinking is to train children to explore the physical world, understand how everything works, and build something new.

In terms of teaching courses, if children prefer to do it by hand, we will encourage them to design and produce hardware achievements such as mechanical equipment, electronic equipment, intelligent equipment and robots through LEGO equipment, electronic equipment, chips, integrated materials, etc.

This part of the course will focus on developing the child’s abilities

  • Hands on ability
  • Engineering thinking
  • Programming capabilities
  • Creativity
  • Passion for learning
  • Collaboration
  1. The thinking mode of the future world — Computational Thinking

Computational considers to be a kind of thinking and problem-solving mode facing the complex world in the future. It teaches kids how to break things down,get regular knowledge,abstract algorithm design,develop and execute programs. In terms of the teaching curriculum, computing thinking is mainly realized by Programming course. Programming education does not require everyone to become a programmer, but to have a thinking mode that adapts to the future and empowers them to resolve the problems creatively.

This part of the course will focus on developing the child’s abilities

  • Programming ability
  • Computational Thinking
  • Abstract ability of logical thinking
  • Collaboration
  • Passion for learning
  • Iterative working mode
  1. Design mode of the future world — Design Thinking

“Design thinking” generally refers to all kinds of thinking forms based on logical thinking and image thinking in the design process, including ideas, ideas, inspiration, creativity, major technical decisions, guiding ideology and values. This concept originated in the design field and was used only for reference by all walks of life. Stanford University School of design has summed it up into a set of scientific methodology, which has become the preferred set of methodology for all countries and regions in the world that pays attention to innovation education. It recognizes as one of the “creativity” training methods.In terms of teaching courses, we hope to stimulate children’s creative thinking through art, design thinking to forge children’s creative ability, and the pursuit of artistic beauty, the spirit of inquiry to solve problems become the internal driving force, stimulate children’s creative spirit of “changing the world”.

This part of the course will focus on developing the child’s abilities

  • Artistic creativity
  • Basic knowledge and appreciation ability of Fine Arts
  • Design thinking
  • Critical thinking
  • Passion for learning
  • Creative confidence

2019From July to August, Lifelong Learning Laboratory of Tsinghua University launched the “2019 hard core science and technology innovation summer camp”. This summer course is divided into 2 themes, with a cycle of 5 days and 30 class hours. There are 18-20 children in each class, and 220 children have taken part in the course.

Among them, the Mars rescue course with the theme of ” LEGO programming + earth science” is designed for children aged 6-9. Problem-based Learning in ” P³BL teaching Based on scenarios, problems and projects”, It was a wonderful journey with the children. They learned how to use LEGO WeDo 2.0 to build their own spacecraft on Mars. According to the theme of the scene, they made various robots and models. They also studied earth science through hands-on experiments and games. Finally,they passed a variety of checkpoints, all members to complete the task.

The course is “scratch hardcore programming all-around creator” is designed for children aged 10-13. Adopt project-based Learning in ” P³BL teaching based on scenarios, problems and projects”. In this course, children learned scratch 3.0 programming, digital art and digital music, completed a comprehensive game creation, and formed a company in the form of a group. Each “company” held a “clearance game product release” and product trial at the closing ceremony. The basic content of the course comes from the teaching practice of project x long-term experimental class.

The course with the theme of “Art Creation Camp” is aimed at children aged 6-9. Children learn several steps of design thinking through hands-on practice, including finding problems, defining problems, conception, design prototype, product prototype test and iteration. In the course, children try to design birthday gifts for their mothers, invent hieroglyphs by themselves, create learning tools for the future, and build imaginary planets. Through positive inspiration, encouragement and guidance in the classroom, children are more and more brave, dare to write, dare to think, dare to ask questions to teachers, dare to think for themselves. In the classroom of Art Creation Camp, we don’t have a hand-in-hand demonstration, but through scientific learning methods, children finally learned how to present everything they thought in their work.



As a forward-looking education practitioner and product developer, TULLL has set up a long-term experimental class in September 2017. At first, it was mainly composed of irregular sharing sessions, workshops and salons, which were well received by parents. To the requirements of the parents and students, and meet the development of the Lab itself, TULLL decided to develop the project further. In the aim of empowering everyone to be a lifelong learner, TULLL was committed to build a public space for parents and children communication, exploration and learning, in order to meet the mutual needs as school supplement outside of the classroom.

TULLL long-term experimental class is a  “mixed-age parent-child” class, composed of children aged from 5 to 10. At present, the long-term experimental class has been carrying out for two consecutive semesters, with the theme of “telescope” and “intangible cultural heritage” respectively. The class has conducted more than 20 comprehensive practical activities. During the class, children can learn through play and grow up in those playful learning experience. TULLL will share the new ways of lifelong learning to more people, and to promote all family members to participate in.

Take “intangible cultural heritage” as an example. This series of courses is based on modern science and technology and modern education technology. The PBL project teaching mode is used to design the curriculum. It aims to cultivate children’s all-round development from the four dimensions of “knowledge, skills, character and meta-cognition” and to cultivate their 5C core literacy (cultural understanding and inheritance, debating thinking, innovation, communication and cooperation) in the 21st century.

Weekly courses have a fixed knowledge framework. Before class, the volunteer teachers screen the original materials in the knowledge base according to the theme of this week. Combining with current hot spots, teachers determine the objectives of “knowledge, skills, character, meta-cognition” and so on. Combining with PBL teaching method, they synthesize 5C core quality training and draw up the preliminary teaching design. By TULLL team, as well as the representatives of students’  parents, we can refine the course flow and strengthen the feasibility of the course. After class, we receive feedbacks from students, which can be used as a process evaluation of students’ learning effect and an important reference for next lesson. Through the course, the children made gold foil products, Palace lamps, New Year pictures, calendars and other works.

We believe that as a learning community, children, parents and TULLL can all benefit from each other. For parents, the experimental class introduces project-based learning and other education methods to parents, so that every parent who has made great achievements in their respective fields can become a master of education, and cultivate the “professional spirit” of parents in education field. For children, the experimental class uses advanced education technology and hands-on learning activities to let them enjoy learning and cultivate children’s communication, creativity, critical thinking, hands-on abilities. It also build a solid foundation for children’s core competencies and potentials in future. For TULLL, the experimental class is a good opportunity to provide first-hand education teaching experience and data evidence, which is conducive to the long-term development of TULLL. Therefore, whether for parents, children or TULLL itself, the experimental class is a forward-looking and inspiring attempt in today’s education environment.

Project X was officially launched in December 2017. A total of 26 children aged 6-7 participated in two classes, which lasted three hours on Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 12 a.m. We hope to explore more scientific educational methods, that is, to teach children to learn computer science knowledge and develop their creativity in play with the simplest tools (free from the limitations of complex and expensive teaching aids such as computers).

In the course, we do not use any electronic equipment, do not rely on expensive high-tech products such as computers, robots, etc. We teach children computer science and programming knowledge in a playful way by using only common things in life, such as paper and pen. The curriculum adopts project-based learning (PBL), “Learning through Play” and in-depth learning. Through meaningful, joyful, social interaction, actively participation and iterative games, children are learning knowledge and acquiring physical, social, cognitive, emotional and creative abilities.

For example, in the course of helping children understand the concept of “Information Encryption Protocol”, the game of “Presidential Meeting” was introduced. In the game, each child plays the role as a president of a country, and each country needs to know the total number of nuclear weapons in the world while guaranteeing its own nuclear deterrence (not revealing the number of nuclear weapons). In the process of playing, children understand the basic solution of contradiction, help children understand how to share information and create value, but also to ensure that it is not leaked and used, at this time we need a special method of information sharing, that is, the “information encryption protocol”.

Another example was that when helping children understand computational thinking, we design a game called  “Gogobot” according to the framework of “decomposition, pattern generalization, abstraction, algorithm design, iteration improvement”: just like the lattice skipping games we used to play when we were young, we draw lattices on the ground and let children jump around in the lattices.

Gogobot is a minimalist version of Dungeon Game: walking through mazes, looking for treasures; there may be traps and monsters in mazes. The child should program the robot that breaks into the dungeon, let it walk in the dungeon, escape and find treasures. In the process, children need to decompose treasure-hunting tasks layer by layer; need to decompose tasks corresponding to programming instructions, abstract thinking from physical games to paper planning; need to use pattern generalization to find recyclable parts; need to design algorithms to complete the robot’s route; need to find loopholes, constantly modify and iterate.

Dear President Wang Dianjun, President Shi Ping, and President Zhang Wenying;

Dear teachers, parents and graduates;

Good evening!

It is my great honor to be here, many thanks to the invitation of Tsinghua University High School International-Chaoyang.

First of all, congratulations to every graduate. As graduates of the first cohort, you have made your school glorious and proud of you! I believe that in your lifetime you will also be proud of being THSI alumni!

Congratulations to every parent on your child completing his/her high school education and moving towards to a higher-level goal!

As today’s guest speaker, it is an honor to have this opportunity to share this exciting moment with everyone. This is absolutely one of the most important milestones in the life of every student —- you are graduating from one of China’s best international schools today. The high quality education here will lay a solid foundation for everyone’s future, with the motto “develop morality and have academic achievements; focus on doing what you love without being biased or distracted”. In addition, the top-tier education trains you to become confident and responsible future leaders. As creators and builders of the future, in both your upcoming academic and professional careers, each one of you will inevitably encounter various difficulties and challenges. I believe that, in the face of difficulties, you will be fearless, brave and determined to take up challenges until victory!

Now I would like to share with you some points for your future study:

First, it’s the curiosity that counts in learning

Taking my own growth experience as an example, I have had a keen interest in making models since I was a child, but at that time kids did not have as many toys as today. Even if a buddy had only a broken bench, he would equip it with the discarded mechanical and electrical parts and lean over to simulate the car’s movement. When I was in middle school, I fortunately became a member of the science and technology group in the Beijing Children’s Palace. I remember that, in about four years, I used to go to the Children’s Palace in Jing-Shan-Hou-Jie every weekend to make aeromodelling and ship/boat models with my buddies. In this process, I learned to read the drawings, sketch my ideas, design the models, and also acquired skills of carpentry, metalworking, manual welding, and so on. With an increasing number of models being completed, my self-confidence was gradually built up. What is more important is that I learned how to collaborate with my partners. It was so exciting to work with several peers together to construct a large ship model. Till now, my experience in the Children’s Palace is still deeply influencing me. Today I maintain a keen interest in hands-on production, whether it be building an experimental platform for my research or constructing a LEGO model in my leisure time, both with a high degree of enjoyment.

(Conceptual design prototype of graphic tactile display terminals designed for the Visually Impaired)

We often refer to students with excellent test scores as Type A students, and those students willing to take risks and like to try out new things as Type X students. In general, X-students prefer to asking questions and solving problems themselves rather than just completing homework and classroom tests. These students tend to be more creativity and innovative, which is necessary for thriving in today’s society. The most creative ideas and the most innovative products often come from such students, as a result of their wide interests and continuous exploration.

I hope that every graduate here will become an X-student in the future, not only acing tests and examinations, but also being curious and bringing innovations to the world.

My second point to be made is reading more.

This year, I have visited the Turing Award winner Professor Alan Kay (the Turing Prize is the highest award in the field of computing), who is a very knowledgeable and interesting person, both a famous computer scientist and an exceptional musician. During a conversation with him, we learned that he had loved reading since three years old. So far he has read more than 10,000 books . He knows so much that he was able to give constructive opinions and comments on almost every research project my students were working on. For each project, he could accurately tell how the problem came up, who was pioneering in the related field, which school or institution is best at it for now, and so on. I think that the reason for him being so knowledgeable is two parts: super smartness and, more importantly, diligence.

My bachelor degree is in mathematics, but I always like to read extracurricular books. In fact, I spent 1-2 hours reading miscellaneous books almost every night throughout my university life. The additional knowledge gained from reading played a pivotal role in my future scientific research. There was a time when I needed to solve an important problem in computer graphics and computer vision, called texture synthesis. This is the image on the screen, with the left being a given small texture image, and the right being the image that needs to be synthesized; the requirement is that the image on the right must be grown from the image on the left. This problem has extensive and important applications in computer vision and computer graphics, such as computer games. However, almost all previous researchers solved the problem based on the idea of ​​Markov Random field. It is neither efficiency nor to be applied in practice. Thus we urgently needed a superior texture synthesis method so that we could really apply it to our products. When I started to work on this problem, I read the relevant work of previous researchers many times, but still could not think of a better solution. However, based on my “out-of-class knowledge,” I soon realized that, to solve this problem, we must introduce theories and methods of cognitive science, physiology, and aesthetics. After making continuous efforts, we proposed a texture synthesis method based on the Patch-Based Sampling. This method greatly improves the speed and quality of texture synthesis and becomes one of the most effective and important texture synthesis methods.

I especially hope that, in your subsequent university study, all of you here can learn a lot from your major courses, and at the same time read as many extracurricular books as possible. This will give you even more competitive edge. This is what I require from my post-graduate students: I  ask them to read at least one book unrelated to their majors each month and write book reviews. I always tell my students that “clever inspiration in one field often comes from knowledge in other domains” and I sincerely hope that you, the fresh graduates, will become knowledgeable people like Alan Kay, via both learning your major courses and extra reading.

Perseverance is the third point I want to make to benefit your future study.

People often say that persistence is victory. Actually nobody can win without persistence.

I’m not sure if any of you have such an experience: in order to solve a difficult problem, you spend days and nights on it without much eating and sleep. Your brain is fully occupied by this problem almost all the time. After this state lasts to a certain stage, and when maybe you are waiting for an elevator, eating a meal, or any other inadvertent moment, suddenly a flash of insight cuts through the fog of your mind with a clear, shining thought, just like Edison invented the light bulb. If you have had this experience, then congratulations, you have experienced the four steps (respectively, preparation, incubation, insight and verification) model of the creative process described by famous scholar Wallas in 1926. As witnesses, we usually can only see the moment when others receive their inspirations, but ignore the long, boring, lonely, painful, and faltering process of learning and incubation that each innovator has been through. Admittedly, creativity requires the ability to divergent thinking; to achieve this, we need to collect evidences and draw conclusions from the rich and colorful life, and hence we sometimes need to step out of the classroom and school walls to feel and discover the “outside” world. However, ideas and products of great value and potential are actually the result of knowledge accumulation and meditation, to be more specific, to completely understand the issues of interest and to turn novel ideas into reality.

I remember the time when I was still in the Children’s Palace and had to weld together a group of small but complex units of a ship model. The procedure was to firstly weld the thinnest copper wires into several different parts and then weld these parts together. However, because the temperature of the iron tip was very high, it would easily fall apart if carelessly handled. I had no other choice but keep trying with more care. I must put these difficult parts together. At the beginning, it was nearly impossible for me to fuse a single group of copper wires, even after a few days of work. After several weeks’ practice, I became capable of welding several groups in just one day. In fact, when you are feeling the most painful in doing something, it is usually also the moment of you improving at the fastest rate. As the Chinese proverb goes, “the highest eminence is to be gained step by step”. Indeed, every step you make is a step closer to your “ahah moment”.

In the book “Learning To Be”, UNESCO pointed out that the four pillars of lifelong learning are learning to know, learning to do, learning to live together and with others, and learning to be.

Learning to know is easy to understand. You, the fresh graduates here, are graduating from Tsinghua University High School International with academic gains and personal achievements. You must have continuously strengthened your cognitive abilities in the course of study. “Zhuangzi Yang Sheng Zhu ” talks about “Human life is limited, and knowledge is infinite. If someone learn knowledge in a rote way, he is a nerd. ” Especially in the era of information explosion, the pursuit of knowledge does not mean that we should try to learn all things at all times, but instead we should only understand and use knowledge flexibly, it is the most important.

The second pillar of lifelong learning is learning to do. Itprovides the skills that would enable individuals to effectively play their part in global economy, society and policy.High school graduation not only means the end of an educational stage, but also means that the students shall carry the responsibilities and obligations of an adult citizen from today. Regardless of choosing to take higher education or directly entering the job market, they should improve their general skills so as to cope with the ever-varying challenges.

The third element is to learning to live together. Many of you may end up with studying abroad or going to a new academic/work environment. Respecting each other’s differences and achieving common goals through cooperation and exchange is one of the magic tools to survive and thrive in the future. Especially in today’s increasingly complicated world, almost all tasks require us to co-exist and collaborate with people of all kinds. Therefore, we need to step out of our comfort zones and start to develop our inter-personal skills.

One of the last and most crucial pillars of lifelong learning is to learn to be. It provides self-analytical and social communication skills to enable individuals to develop to their fullest potential psycho-socially, affectively as well as physically, for an all-round complete person. With the continuous development of science and technology, many jobs will probably be replaced by tools or machines. Many scholars even have the fear that the world will lose its humanity because of technological development and mass adoption of robotics. To avoid this, we should all learn to actively pursue self-realization and fully explore the potential and talents within us. This will make each of us a unique individual with irreplaceable and attractive spiritual elements.

What makes lifelong learners outstanding is that they never set boundaries and obstacles for themselves. If they are interested in anything, they will let their passion drive and push themselves beyond their limits. They never think of any moment as “too late to learn”, neither do they admit that “I may not be a good learner”.

That’s all for my advice, and I hope it is helpful with your future study.

Dear graduates, a new life awaits you. You are a group of young people who pursue their dreams, live up to expectations, and work hard. The world is a kite, it may be far away from you and full of unknown fantasy. But no matter how the kite sways in the wind, the line is always in your hands. I believe that you will embrace the broadest sky after trying so hard to move forward.

Thank you to the 2018 graduates and congratulate you again!

Early this month TULLL (Lab for Lifelong Learning, Tsinghua University ) had the pleasure of having an interview with the “China Today” magazine. The report was then published on June 6th.

We believe that learning is not only about gaining knowledge, but also the holistic development of people. Their physical, social, emotional, cognitive and creative competencies can be promoted and developed through play. Man are born with curiosity, creativity and the need of socializing. Zhang Fei, or Alex, the Curriculum Design Lead of TULLL introduced how we convey the concept of “Learning through Play” in teaching design and learning experience.

Learning through Play

By staff reporter ZHOU LIN

WE are living in a fast changing world. All the knowledge and techniques we learn today are already outdated when it comes to the upcoming needs of tomorrow. Our offspring may have to change their jobs or careers constantly in their lifetime, and vocational education and lifelong learning are necessary for them to adapt to this changing world. Tsinghua University Lab for Lifelong Learning (TULLL) was born to address the needs. Team members of TULLL firmly believe that children should develop their internal motivations, independent thinking, creative capability, as well as the ability to establish positive connections with surroundings and other people, and all these are necessities for them to deal with future challenges.“Learning through play” prepares children to grow into creative, engaged, lifelong learners.

Inspiring Kids’ Curiosity

Zhang Fei, or Alex, is the curriculum design leader of TULLL. A graduate of Tsinghua University in 2008, Alex has a bachelor’s degree in automation and a master’s degree in business administration. A wide range of hobbies and interests and his rich work experience in multiple areas prepared him to be a qualified teacher. Starting from the autumn semester of 2014, Alex became a full-time teacher in the primary school attached to Tsinghua University, along with his six-year-old son who began his studies there, where he designed curriculums to teach basic knowledge of robotics programming for students. In April 2016, Alex joined the team of TULLL and was responsible for designing a scientific curriculum, which he called “unplugged programming class.” The curriculum series is for first-grade primary school students who are encouraged to use simplified tools, instead of computers or expensive teaching instruments, to learn knowledge about computer science in games.

Children listen carefully to Alex introduce the game rules.

How to teach programming without computers? Alex devised a teaching scenario called “Presidential Meeting.” It is a game especially designed for children to understand that in the Internet era, we have to share information with others to make our life more convenient but also we need to protect our privacy, giving the kids a concept of information security and cryptographic protocols.

Alex had to work a bit to gain the kids’ attention initially. “Today, we are going to talk about a big issue!” Pupils immediately turned their heads to Alex waiting for the big news with curiosity and excitement.

The story started from the Facebook data leak scandal. Alex gave a brief introduction about the world largest social media company Facebook, and the disturbing news report that the data of more than 50 million Facebook users were inappropriately used by a British data analysis company in activities allegedly connected with U.S. President Donald Trump during his 2016 campaign. The misuse of the private data was reported as an abuse of user privacy.

For the storyteller Alex, challenges lay at every step. He had to be ready for all kinds of children’s questions. “Why does Facebook have so much user data?” “What is the data used for?” “How does the data analysis company get access to the data and how does it predict people’s behaviors?” “Why do the presidential campaign teams need this data?” “How are users being controlled?”

In early education, the priority is to protect children’s inherent curiosity and maintain their enthusiasm for learning, meanwhile empowering them with scientific learning methods. Teachers thereby have to prepare for all questions from kids, demanding a knowledgeable and versatile teacher with a broad knowledge of various disciplines and in-depth knowledge of education and psychology.

Problem Solving in Creative Ways

When the kids understood the details of the data leak scandal, they were shocked, “Oh my God! My parents may be in danger. Evil-doers can steal their personal data and our family can be manipulated.”

Alex, the curriculum design leader of TULLL, teaches kids how pictures and words are digitally compressed.

Now it was time for Alex to pose the big question: how to protect our privacy?

Children’s answers varied including using cipher code, fingerprint lock, and face ID. Some suggested delivering their online purchases to others’ houses, some considered deleting their WeChat accounts or even throwing away their cellphones.

Alex kept on asking, then “how can we order take-out food, or call a taxi on the Didi App, or use GPS in a foreign country without knowing their language, or use mobile payments for shopping?”

Kids soon realized that in the era of the Internet, nobody could be isolated from the network; in other words, no one could live a life without information exchanges. How to protect our critical information and data while allowing it to better serve us?

Alex successfully introduced the kids to games. He created a simulation in which every child played the role as a country’s president who controlled a certain amount of nuclear weapons. They had to keep it a secret so as to ensure their country’s security, but they were also facing attacking aliens which required that all nations united and calculated the total number of global nuclear weapons. How to cooperate with other nations and also protect their own privacy?

“After a brainstorming session, the little presidents around six or seven years old worked out some reliable solutions.” Alex mentioned that one group of children proposed that each nation divided their number into several parts and gave each number to different persons, mixed them together without knowing anyone’s nationality, and then summed up all the numbers.

Alex discusses the concept of information security and cryptographic protocols with kids.


Alex also gave his own solution which needed an organizer and some national presidents. The organizer spoke out a random number and passed it to the President of country A, adding it to the nuclear weapon number in A’s country; then added it to the number of country B, and kept on going the calculation until all the countries’ numbers were included. In the end, the organizer subtracted the random number and the result would be the sum of all statistics. In the whole process, no one knew exactly how many weapons other countries had. The random number is what is known to as a cryptographic protocol which can protect information security and privacy.

Redefinition of “Play and Learn”

During the whole process of the game, there were no presumptions, the key point was to encourage children’s active thinking so as to find solutions through team cooperation and give them basic knowledge of computer science.

As the late professor Seymour Papert from Massachusetts Institute of Technology observed, we should realize that children are outstanding learners and adults should sometimes learn from them rather than asking them to think like us.

In Alex’s game design and teaching practice, we may discover that the TULLL team redefined “play and learn.” Learning is not simply memorization of knowledge; the physical, social, emotional, cognitive and creative capabilities of children also need to be promoted through games based on their inherent nature such as the love of discovery, creative thinking, and active expression of their own ideas.

Those interesting games help children observe the connections between different matters, effectively understand knowledge, and express their understanding of the world. Children’s devotion to the process, their curiosity, excitement in games, and their positive experience all have a close connection with learning.

While people are still discussing the “knowledge-based society,” professor Mitchel Resnick from MIT prefers to talk about the “creative society.” Early in 2006, Mitchel predicted that China was progressing from “Made in China” towards “Created in China.” Creativity is an opportunity but also a challenge for China and the crux of “quality education” is to cultivate children’s creativity. Preparing today’s children for tomorrow’s “creative society” is the thing both educators and parents need to think on and take action.  

On March 15 2018, Mr. Søren Holm, experience lead from Lego Foundation visited Tsinghua University Lifelong Learning Lab (TULLL) and held a workshop. Lab members collaborated to prototype a Lego home targeting at developing five different skills that Lego aims to develop in children: physical, social, cognitive, creative and emotional skills. The workshop culminated in prototyping a large Lego home with the all the five skill zones included.


Lego Foundation is always devoted to innovation in playing formula. They integrate learning into playing. Mr.Søren Holm showed us the five skills that children need to develop, which are physical, social, cognitive, creative and emotional skills. Physical skills aim at developing spatial understanding and nurturing an active and flexible body. Cognitive skill means concentration, problem solving and flexible thinking. Emotional skills focus on understanding, managing and expressing emotions by building self-awareness and handling impulses. Social skills emphasize on collaborating and communicating. Creative skill means coming up with ideas, expressing them and transforming them into reality.

Mr. Søren Holm showed us the Lego house they had in Denmark in which people from all ages would enjoy themselves. The first questions he proposed is what you think that could be included in the Lego home that will make all people want to come? All lab members gave their own answers. Alex wanted a trash-feeding robot, a lot of food and a telescope. Qianhui wanted a Marvel’s comic book with lights. Di wanted some dogs and cats.  Everybody put their own thoughts on the board.

Then all the lab members were divided into four groups. Each group created a Lego model for developing a skill in the five areas.

For cognitive skills, Jing’s group built a classroom setting, a therapy corner and a workout center. In a classroom setting, there could be exams, learning difficulties and conflicts with other students, all of which may lead to high stress level. Therefore, a therapy corner with food, trees and flowers was built in which people could relax themselves. Moreover, a workout spot was also built in order to make people more energetic and refreshed.

For physical skills, Alex’ s group built a 3-D maze which was inspired by a famous game Monument Valley. This game is about doing tasks through impossible structures. Alex’s group believed that by imagining different structures, people could get a better perception of space. Also, by walking through the bricks, people are also doing sports.

For emotional skills, Zichun’s group designed a storyboard in which all the people on the scene had different emotions. The couple were happily married, but the girl’s ex-boyfriend was also on their wedding who was very jealous and bitter in mind that he hid a sword behind his back. The cameraman and his fellow were documenting their wedding party. All they thought about in their minds was to finish their job as soon as possible and got paid.

For social skills, Emma’s group designed a Mahjong table. Mahjong is a very social activity in China where people from all ages could gather around the table, playing Mahjong and chatting with each other. If guided properly, children could learn a lot from Mahjong, including social skills and mathematical thinking.

For creative skills, the group developed a Story box. People could choose different themes through the turning table. The they use the Lotto box to get random bricks. As psychological experiments have corroborated, scarcity could increase creativity. Children will thus be forced to create their own stories using scared bricks.

Mr. Søren Holm commented on everybody’s work and said that he would be really happy to enter a place like that. Then he asked that every group take some inspirations from other group’s work and redesign their own work.

Finally, we put together the social world from Emma’s group, the creative work from Jing’s group, the physical world from Alex’s world, the emotional world from Zichun’s group and the cognitive world from Siyang’s group to prototype a brand new Lego home. Bravo!