Staff Report

JOHNSON CITY – Twelve teacher candidates from East Tennessee State University’s Clemmer College will spend the upcoming year as student teachers in a new curriculum that focuses on incorporating computation and digital
learning with STEM and language arts in elementary school classrooms.
The initiative is part of a new $665,887 project funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Teacher Quality Program called “Integrating STEM and Literacy with Computation in Elementary Education,” or iSLICEE.
Teachers from local school districts have been recruited for iSLICEE and will serve as mentors to these twelve students. This summer, the mentors will spend a week on campus learning best-practices and strategies for integrating coding, digital learning and the components of computational thinking into STEM and language arts curricula.
The educational experience will also be enhanced through the use of robotics for teaching coding.
This fall, the participating students will be assigned to one of the mentors during their year-long residency experience.
“We want our teacher candidates to not only be a generation of consumers of digital technology but also to have an understanding of how to use these tools to further computational thinking in the classrooms,” said Dr. Chih-Che Tai, principal investigator of the project and assistant director of the ETSU Center of Excellence in Mathematics and Science Education.
For the past several years, Tai and his colleagues have led similar initiatives at ETSU that have provided training to elementary, middle and high school educators from the across the region on best-practices in teaching science, math and literature.
In addition to the grant from the U.S. Department of Education, the Center of
Excellence has received funding from the Tennessee
Department of Education and the Tennessee Higher
Education Commission.
The current iSLICEE
program is a joint effort
between the Clemmer College, College of Arts and Sciences, School of Graduate Studies and nine regional school districts.