The MALDT program has a wide appeal for educators from all aspects of the field of education. Melissa Bowers is an Early Childhood Special Education Teacher at Sparta Area Schools and she was drawn to the program because of the scramble that occurred when schools were shut down in March. When starting the program, Melissa strived to maintain a mindset of immediate use where she determined how to apply her knowledge to her career with special education students and their families. One of her instructors, Heather Kellstrom, recognized the challenge Melissa has when teaching littles virtually. She said, “Melissa learned how to design lessons to meet learners right where they are whether in-person or virtually. Furthermore, Melissa spoke about the increase in participation in her virtual learning students by employing some of the processes, strategies, and tools from her coursework.”
Melissa said one of the most powerful things she’s learned thus far is Mayer’s Principles of Multi-Media Learning. “This was an “ah-ha” moment and something I could put into practice right away. I keep a list of the principles by my desk as a mental checklist to keep my lessons focused and intentional in my lesson design” she noted. She encourages all educators who are recognizing the shift in education through creative technology use to consider a program like the MALDT to learn how to better meet the needs of all learners. She said, “Using the information I am learning in the MALDT program, I hope to better assist my learners to close learning and development gaps and help students reach their potential.”
Teaching at the other end of the spectrum is Jason Barden. An ASL instructor at CMU and Montcalm Community College, Jason is taking his learning from the MALDT program and modifying classes for adults. His instructor, Heather Kellstrom, said, “Jason talked about taking all of his learnings on true instructional design and modifying the courses that he is currently teaching. Additionally, he was a stellar learner in the cohort group that I worked with. He was such a deep thinker and a great supporter of many throughout the course.”
For Jason, having more knowledge about academic theory and best practices for integrating multimedia has been the biggest benefit. He said, “I’ve been constantly evaluating my current courses through the lens of the MALDT coursework and seeing areas where I can utilize what I’ve learned in improving the courses I teach. I am already engaged in redesigning portions of my courses by incorporating single point rubrics, backward design, and utilizing some of the Mayer design principles.” The program originally drew him to it with the hope that he could not only learn about learning, design, and technology but that he could truly apply what he would learn. He went on to say, “I anticipate as I progress through the rest of the MALDT program I’ll continue to find plenty of areas I can improve!”
Jason’s advice to anyone considering applying to the MALDT program was to just do it. He noted the relevance, fun, support, and invaluable knowledge applicable to education right now as reasons educators should enroll in order to develop themselves professionally. If you’d like more information about the MALDT program at CMU, please contact Dr. Ray Francis or the graduate enrollment office.