The Future is Now: GPAEA’s 21st Century Classroom

Dr. Sally Lindgren, Director of Technology & Innovation

21st Century Classroom Open House
Tuesday, September 30
3:00 – 7:00 p.m.
Join us virtually via Zoom at

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Room 21C is the result of re-designed learning efforts to create a learning environment specifically designed to promote both collaborative and personalized learning through the use of technology. GPAEA’s Bright Bytes data suggest that there is a large-scale need to develop the attributes of 21st Century learning. These attributes, known as the 4C’s (communication, collaboration, critical thinking and creativity) are factors that are linked to improved student achievement and career success.

Recent research about active learning spaces comes under several different names including SCALE-UP, TEAL, TILE and others. But regardless of the name, the conclusions are the same. The classroom must support active learning using digital media and flexible space.

GPAEA’s 21st Century Classroom, located in the Burlington AEA Office, offers a two-fold design: a classroom and a learning lounge.

The learning space integrates the three tenets of classroom design:

  • The classroom furniture must be mobile and flexible.
  • Each collaborative area must have access to a digital display.
  • Each collaborative area must have a writeable surface.

The use of digital media is a primary ingredient used to promote understanding and engagement with content. The room also has an interactive table, networked lighting, a two-way audio management system, a theater sized screen with a 3D projector, and all of this is controlled by an iPad!

GPAEA’s Room 21C is only one of several efforts that are underway in Southeastern Iowa to re-design the K-12 classroom into 21st Century Learning Spaces. The Mt. Pleasant Middle School Science classroom has been transformed. Cardinal Community School District is in the process of creating both a classroom and several learning lounge spaces at the Middle/High School building.


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