GPAEA’s 21st Century Classroom in Ottumwa

Lisa Jacobs, Instructional Technology Specialist

The 21st Century Classroom in the Ottumwa Office is HERE! The primary use of the 21st Century Classroom will be for teacher professional development, student learning opportunities, and educational meetings that will benefit from using technology and collaborative spaces. You may notice the color scheme and furniture is similar to the Room21C in Burlington with the same collaboration tables and chairs, wireless connectivity to large video monitors for each group, and writable walls. There are also some unique features in Ottumwa’s Room21C. The construction began by removing the wall that was previously between the old computer lab and the ICN room. The larger room (61 ft X 31 ft) allows for additional spaces including a circular conversation “campfire”; a larger lounge area that seats fourteen adults with wheelchair access; tall café tables; casual benches and cube ottomans. The three basic design tenets for both the Ottumwa and Burlington 21c classrooms are that they be #1 moveable & flexible; #2 have video displays for each work group; #3 have writable surfaces for each work group. This link will provide more information about the 21st Century classroom design:

It is intentional that there is no “front” of the room. The space was designed to move away from the default method of lecture style teaching that is supported by traditional classrooms with rows of individual desks. Learning will focus around the 4Cs (Creativity, Critical Thinking, Communication, and Collaboration); Productive Group Work; SAMR model; TPACK; and Design Thinking. Here is a link with more details about teaching and learning in a 21st Century Classroom:

It is desired that educators and students who experience learning in the 21st century classroom will be motivated to consider how environment and technology can inspire learning in their own classrooms. It may be baby steps such as creating collaborative spaces or adding more writable surfaces. Or it may be bigger steps.  There are several schools in the area that are in the design phase or already have their own 21st Century Classrooms. If you would like assistance in designing learning environments or implementing 21st century instructional strategies in your own classroom, Great Prairie AEA has a technology team that can assist. One way to get started is to schedule a learning experience for your teachers and/or students in one of the GPAEA 21st Century classrooms.

The focus for all student groups visiting the classrooms will be on student learning and will involve pre-visit planning session(s) with a GPAEA Instructional Technology Specialist or Coach. When possible the Technology Specialist or Coach will visit students in their own classroom before and after visits to the 21st Century Classroom. Planning the learning experience will include details such identifying specific learning expectations, deciding how to group the students, using technology to personalize and enhance learning, and using technology to assess student learning. Reflection will also be an important part of the experience. Here are some common questions we will ask when you plan a visit with students to the classroom. How many students will be in your group? Is there a lesson or topic that you would like to focus on during a visit to the 21st Century classroom? How often do your students work in collaborative groups? What technology do your students use on a regular basis? Do you have devices students can bring with them?

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Thank you to everyone who attended the Ottumwa Room21C Open House on February 22. You can schedule professional development or student learning opportunities in the Ottumwa 21st Century classroom by contacting or for the Burlington 21st Century classroom contact

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