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This week Columbus State University’s TSYS School of Computer Science is hosting a workshop to provide a select group of local teachers with the skills and knowledge they need to bring cybersecurity curricula into their schools.
“I wanted to learn about cybersecurity because it is a highly needed area,” said Chris Lovelock, workshop attendee and technology and engineering teacher at Double Churches Middle School. “It has been a lot of information in a short period of time, and it has been good to network with other teachers.”
Lovelock is one of the 20 teachers selected for the first-of-its-kind program, after more than 70 local educators applied. Most of the participating teachers have a background in science, technology, engineering, or math. However, for a few attendees – like Decarlos Hughley, a physical education coach at Double Churches Middle School, – the workshop is an introduction to cybersecurity.
“It is not something you can’t learn,” said Hughley. “As a teacher, you have to keep learning, and this is something you need to know.”
Led by CSU professors Dr. Lixin Wang and Dr. Yesem Peker, the workshop engages attendees in hands-on activities that enhance knowledge and skills in cybersecurity. Participating teachers receive a complete set of teaching materials for high school and middle school cybersecurity courses, a cybersecurity training certificate, and a $600 stipend.
Stephen Childers, workshop attendee and Harris County High School computer science teacher, says that the workshop has provided him with valuable resources that he will begin using as early as next week when he hosts his own cybersecurity camp for students.
“I’ve been working with TSYS to create bridges between industry and students,” said Childers. “I can already see tons of applications for how this can be used in the classroom.”
The workshop is sponsored by a grant from GenCyber, a jointly funded effort by the National Security Agency and the National Science Foundation. This is the first GenCyber workshop for teachers that CSU has hosted; although the university offered a GenCyber camp for middle school students last year.
With a mission to grow and improve cybersecurity education in the United States, GenCyber seeks to increase interest in cybersecurity careers, help students understand safe online behavior, and improve teaching methods for cybersecurity content. CSU’s GenCyber workshop continues through Friday.