Room 241: A Blog by
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University-
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Leadership Insights

A teacher leading a Tinkergarten class

Exploring Tinkergarten’s Learning Model

By Jennifer Gunn December 10, 2018

The outdoor education movement gets children outside to experience hands-on learning in nature. Some organizations are taking this approach to the next level. One innovative example is Tinkergarten, which offers outdoor classes and activities that incorporate play-based learning. Available to children and families in 47 states, Tinkergarten’s activities are designed to “help kids develop a host of important capabilities, including empathy,… Read More

Understanding Culturally Responsive Teaching

By Jennifer Gunn December 3, 2018

Culturally Responsive Teaching (CRT) is so much more than a trendy education term, but many educators struggle to define it. They are unsure of how it’s different from other equitable teaching practices and they can’t explain how to utilize it in their classrooms. Zaretta Hammond’s popular book Culturally Responsive Teaching and The Brain: Promoting Authentic… Read More

In order for students to be successful in school, they first have to be in school. Seems logical, right? But for millions of students in the U.S., attendance is a barrier to success with lifelong consequences. Here’s a look at how chronic absenteeism impacts learning, and how schools can begin to turn the tide. Measuring… Read More

Many states are coping with teacher shortages, particularly in low-income districts with students of color. The coping mechanism has largely involved hiring under-qualified teachers to fill vacancies, leaving our neediest students receiving lower quality teaching. Meanwhile, teacher education programs have seen a large decline in enrollment, which translates to less certified and qualified teachers for… Read More

The Impact of Income on Student Success and What We Can Do About It

By Mary Jane Pearson, PhD October 30, 2018

The American Dream depends upon the belief that, regardless of your background, if you work hard enough you can achieve your goals. But extensive research has shown that income does impact student success. As educators, what can we do about this national issue? Read on to find out how one Portland school addressed the challenge. Research on… Read More

Emerging Technologies in Higher Education: A Case for Putting Learning First

By Patrick Garrett York, MFA October 25, 2018

There are few things that evoke a sense of wonder — the type abundant in childhood and precious to adults — like pulling plastic wrap off a glimmering new phone. With the push of a single button, the screen to comes to life, glowing with possibility. How many hours in my day will I win back… Read More

Expanding STEM To Underrepresented Communities

By Jennifer Gunn October 24, 2018

STEM occupations continue to seriously lack minority representation, and therefore STEM programs are needed more than ever in schools that serve minority and low-income populations. As the nation moves toward a greater emphasis on STEM learning and prepares students for a more technological future, it’s time for a tectonic shift, expanding STEM learning opportunities to all students…. Read More

A Framework for Teaching Tomorrow’s Innovators Today

By Jennifer Gunn October 22, 2018

It’s said that today’s teachers are educating students for a job market that doesn’t yet exist. Foundational skills are still important, but how should this generation’s educators teach tomorrow’s workers and innovators? 21st-century learning is at the heart of a movement preparing students to work in a very different world. But the concept of 21st-century… Read More

Post-Crisis Challenges Associated with School Shootings

By Gail Kirby, EdD October 20, 2018

We never want to think about our worst fears but, when it comes to our school’s crisis preparedness, we need to make sure we have the proper protocol in place. Research indicates that schools are the least prepared to handle crises such as school shootings. Scant evidence-based data exist to help understand the challenges that school districts… Read More

Mobile Classrooms: Makerspaces and STEM Learning on the Move

By The Room 241 Team October 15, 2018

STEM and STEAM learning doesn’t just have to happen within the confines of a classroom or a proper school lab. Many schools can’t afford 3D printers or makerspace equipment. Therefore, STEM learning is on the move and these companies, organizations and school districts are working to provide high-quality STEM learning on the road and in a… Read More

Why Educators’ Voices are Essential to EdTech Innovation

By Jennifer Gunn October 9, 2018

SmartBoards, iPads, Google Classroom, and 3D printers — these are just some of the tools found in classrooms today. Gone are the days of clunky overhead projectors, transparencies, heavy textbooks, and loose-leaf notebooks. “Edtech,” short for educational technology, is a booming industry with seemingly endless new apps and products hitting the market each year, promising to… Read More

How Teens Can Benefit From Recess

By Kara Wyman, MEd October 8, 2018

When we think of recess and playtime, most of us think of cute little kids on the playground. But couldn’t our middle and high school students benefit from a break too? Adolescents often face a variety of challenges and, while I’m not suggesting we get teens on monkey bars or force a game of tag,… Read More

STEAM isn’t just the flavor of the month in education. It’s a crucial component toward building critical-thinking and creativity skills for our nation’s learners. For the evolving world of work, students need to develop these skills so that they become curious, analytical thinkers who are our future problem-solvers. STEAM-centered learning provides a powerful avenue for… Read More

Achieving Student Success: Community Colleges to Learn From

By Nicole Mace, MEd September 28, 2018

When looking at successful higher education institutions, we often focus on well-known, four-year universities, but analyzing what makes specific community colleges successful can teach us a great deal about how to support and engage today’s students. There are more than 20 million working adults who are college dropouts in the U.S. and community colleges enroll 40% of all… Read More

Leading Difficult Staff Conversations About Race

By The Room 241 Team September 26, 2018

Talking about race and its effect on academic achievement and teacher practice is one of the most intimidating and difficult conversations today. However, in order to truly disrupt inequity and provide the very best learning environment for out students, it is imperative that we unpack the intrinsic behaviors, deep beliefs, mindsets, and behaviors that harm… Read More