Local teachers tap into Kennesaw State for cybersecurity instruction

KENNESAW, Ga. (Jul 24, 2021) — Faculty members from Kennesaw State University’s College of Computing and Software Engineering and Bagwell College of Education are helping metro Atlanta middle and high school teachers educate their students about cybersecurity.

Local Teacher cybersecurityThrough a grant they received from the GenCyber program, assistant professors of information technology Shirley Tian and Zhigang Li and assistant professor of instructional technology Yi Jin have been leading a cybersecurity education camp for the past two weeks. The 25 local teachers selected to participate, at no cost to them, have been learning how to integrate the basics of cybersecurity, algorithmic thinking and computational problem solving into their curriculum.

“The GenCyber teacher camp is a great collaboration that aligns with the University’s R2 research agenda,” Jin said. “We have merged our expertise, with KSU’s School of Instructional Technology and Innovation providing the practical K-12 teaching knowledge and the College of Computing and Software Engineering providing the hard science of cybersecurity, to equip the participating teachers with training in both aspects.”

That knowledge, in turn, will be passed on to the teachers’ middle and high school students. The stated goals of the camp are to increase interest in cybersecurity careers and diversity in the cybersecurity workforce, help all students understand correct and safe online behavior, and improve the methods for teaching cybersecurity content in K-12 school systems.

Along with completing individual coursework and group activities online, the GenCyber camp participants visited both the Kennesaw and Marietta campuses for hands-on labs and face-to-face lectures. The camp culminated with the teachers working in small groups to develop lesson plans that they will implement in their classrooms in the coming school year.

“Having a growing community of cybersecurity advocates at the middle and high school level enables us as educators to promote this field to grade 6-12 students, which will help us in our diversity and inclusion efforts,” Tian said. “The true finish line of a GenCyber Teacher Camp is not the last day of camp. The finish line is the successful transfer of cybersecurity into each teacher’s classroom.”