Creativity and technology courses honored with MSU AT&T Awards

August 5, 2020

Two Michigan State University College of Education courses were recognized for their implementation and use of technology to enhance teaching and learning.

One course earned first place in the Best Fully Online category, and another earned an honorable mention with the 2020 AT&T Faculty-Staff Instructional Technology Awards.

“One of the key aspects of our course is that we are talking about good pedagogy and practices, but also focusing on modeling ways to implement creativity into the classroom,” said Bill Marsland. He is the co-creator and a current instructor of CEP 833: Creativity in K-12 Computing Education, which won first place in the AT&T Awards competition. “Every assignment ends with: How would you use this in your class, in your job? Take what we’re doing in this course, and find a direct application.”

Bill Marsland headshot
Bill Marsland

The course—one of three comprising the K-12 Computer Science Education graduate certificate program—is a stand-alone credential and can be used toward both M.A. and Ph.D. degrees within the college. It was developed to show how creativity, and creative use of tools, can be used in teaching computer science.

The asynchronous, seven-week course has a “low entry point, so teachers can jump in whether they have computer science experience or not,” Marsland explained. “Remember: Students won’t have a lot of experience with computer science either!”

The course encourages teachers to find ways to bring computer science into the classroom in engaging and unique ways. Students, Marsland says, will engage in computer science in the real world in a myriad of ways, so they should experience it like that in the classroom, too.

Candace Robertson headshot
Candace Robertson

Marsland developed the course with Candace Robertson, assistant director of student experience and outreach in the M.A. in Educational Technology (MAET) program, of which both Marsland and Robertson are 2012 graduates.

Brittany Dillman, MAET graduate certificate programs coordinator, oversees CEP 810: Teaching for Understanding with Technology, which earned an honorable mention in the 2020 MSU AT&T Awards.

Considered an introductory course for the MAET program, the course provides a foundation of educational technology, and how teachers should and could view technology as it relates to education.

“We help people connect to theories of learning and how we learn,” said Dillman. “We’re always coming back to learning and to students, and not focused on, ‘I used a fancy tool today.’ To me, that’s the power of this course. It’s not about some brand-name technology, it’s about how can we use resources best to help students learn.”

The course is featured in the Educational Technology graduate certificate program and serves as an elective course for graduate students across the College of Education.

Brittany Dillman headshot
Brittany Dillman

“This course supports our students learning how to be intentional in their use of technology in the classroom and to think critically about educational technology,” Dillman continued. “There’s really cool technology out there, but that doesn’t mean it’s the best decision for your classroom. This course can help you see that, know how to find other tools or tweak what is available. It shows you how things can fit together, how it can make your teaching—and students’ learning experiences—better.”

Like many courses offered in the College of Education, CEP 810 is regularly being analyzed to improve its structure, methods and outcomes. Following submission to the AT&T Awards, CEP 810 was adapted to be more web accessible, with help from Accessibility Coordinator Gabrielle King.

“As it was, the course was good,” Dillman said, “but now, we’ve made it even better.”

The annual AT&T Awards were modified this year as a result of the novel coronavirus. Read additional information on AT&T Awards, and learn about previous winners from the MSU College of Education.