Technology is transforming the way we live, work, and play. It’s all around us, integrated into every aspect of our lives, yet we still find ourselves struggling with how best to incorporate technology into the classroom. In my experience, we must use technology as a tool that engages students in learning while also inspiring and even motivating them to explore the world around them.
The Cyber Innovation Center, through its National Integrated Cyber Education Research Center (NICERC), has taken the approach of incorporating technology in the classroom as a mechanism to increase student engagement and drive student learning. It’s important to note that this approach focuses on developing strong science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) skills while also integrating liberal arts disciplines to provide a context for the content (answering the Why question). The outcome produces a more well-rounded student with strong critical thinking and problem solving skills and the ability to innovate and communicate.
Obviously, creating these types of learning environments takes resources and training, so NICERC has created the Cyber Interstate™, a robust library of STEM and cyber curricula that includes a modular format for ease of implementation in any classroom. Since teachers are the key to a systemic and sustainable change in education, NICERC also provides dynamic professional development opportunities. In essence, it’s like hitting the lottery for teachers where curricula, master notes, lesson plans, and supplemental classroom resources are all packaged together and available at the click of a button.
One of those supplemental programs is the Day of Cyber. NICERC is proud to partner with the National Security Agency (NSA) and LifeJourney to bring the Day of Cyber to classrooms across America. The Day of Cyber is an online cybersecurity mentorship experience that enables students to test drive and experience a day in the life of six NSA cyber professionals, introducing them to challenging, real-life cyber scenarios while engaging students to explore the growing number of careers in cybersecurity.
Why is this important? Today, there are over 380,000 unfilled cybersecurity jobs in our nation with more becoming available every day. The Day of Cyber is an excellent tool that brings awareness of these opportunities to students while providing valuable teaching moments for teachers. The Day of Cyber online experience is available to any student or teacher and can be run by schools any time throughout the year. Teachers wishing to access the Day of Cyber can click here to register.
It’s important to remember that we don’t know what problems our children will be forced to solve, and we can’t begin to fathom the resources they will have at their disposal. Therefore, it’s imperative we teach them how to think critically and creatively. What tools are you using in your classroom to prepare students for the many challenges and opportunities that lie ahead?