State Spotlight: Clinton Innovation Classroom First of Its Kind in Iowa

Clinton High School (CHS), in Iowa, will be debuting its new innovation classroom in the spring of 2013. The school’s principal, Karinne Tharaldson Jones, describes the classroom as 21st-Century skills-based, providing students with increased opportunities for collaboration - a skill highly sought out by colleges and employers.

The innovation classroom focuses on collaboration within the classroom and across the world, with other innovative classrooms. The layout of the classroom allows for small and large group interaction—the teacher will be located in the middle of the room playing a secondary role to students, who will sit around him/her and do most of the “teaching.” Additionally, students will work together in small groups distributed around the classroom to solve a specific problem/challenge. The teacher will then display student ideas on a projector.

It took two years’ worth of setting aside funds in the CHS budget, along with grant money, to pay for the classroom to be developed. Teachers will be trained soon in order to implement the new classroom style in the spring. While the classroom will debut in the Science department, it will expand across other disciplines across the curriculum.

The innovation classroom style was first witnessed at the University of Iowa, where similar sample classrooms give students the opportunity to transform, interact, learn and engage (TILE). These TILE spaces will also be in collaboration with the CHS classroom. There are seven TILE spaces across the country (including at MIT, University of Minnesota and North Carolina State University), most of them at the higher education level—CHS will be the first and only high school version in Iowa.

Note: This blog post was originally authored under the auspices of the National High School Center at the American Institutes for Research (AIR). The National High School Center’s blog, High School Matters, which ran until March 2013, provided an objective perspective on the latest research, issues, and events that affected high school improvement. The CCRS Center plans to continue relevant work originally developed under the National High School Center grant. National High School Center blog posts that pertain to CCRS Center issues are included on this website as a resource to our stakeholders.

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