1. Laurin Buchanan
  2. http://www.linkedin.com/in/laurin-b-8766551
  3. Principal Investigator
  4. Cybersecurity for Middle School Teachers and Students (CyberMiSTS)
  5. https://www.stonybrook.edu/commcms/cybermists/index.php
  6. Secure Decisions
  1. Lori Scarlatos
  2. https://www3.cs.stonybrook.edu/~lori/
  3. Cybersecurity for Middle School Teachers and Students (CyberMiSTS)
  4. https://www.stonybrook.edu/commcms/cybermists/index.php
  5. Stony Brook University Stony Brook Univ
Facilitators’
Choice
Public Discussion
  • Icon for: Laurin Buchanan

    Laurin Buchanan

    Lead Presenter
    May 12, 2019 | 07:52 p.m.

    Thank you for taking the time to watch our video – and welcome to the discussion!

    CyberMiSTS is still in the development stage; our first curriculum development workshop with teachers will be held in July 2019. CyberMiSTS builds on a prior NSF project (https://www.ic.sunysb.edu/Projects/bigsce/) using branching web comics* to raise awareness in middle school students about cybersecurity concepts and careers. We found that students enjoyed the comics approach, but getting participation in the afterschool workshop was a real challenge. This was in part because the adults (teachers, administration, parents) thought that only students that were already “good at STEM” should participate in cybersecurity. In fact, the opposite is true: current research shows that we can teach the technology, but we need true diversity of thinking to resolve our significant cybersecurity challenges.

    *If you want to see what a branching web comic is, take a look at these samples:  https://comic-bee.com/comic/.

    We are excited to engage with you all this week and answer any questions you may have about our project, but we are also interested in learning from YOU:

    1. If you had to teach middle school students about cybersecurity, what would you want to know, or have, beforehand?
    2. Do you use stories to engage students in what they're learning? Examples please!
    3. If you’re involved in a makerspace, library, camp or other informal learning opportunity, would you be interested in offering a module on cybersecurity concepts and careers for students, and what supports do you anticipate needing?

    And before you leave the showcase, be sure to vote for your favorite video - even if it isn’t ours!

  • Icon for: Joni Falk

    Joni Falk

    Co-Director of CSR at TERC
    May 13, 2019 | 04:06 p.m.

    Hi Lauren, Very much enjoyed this presentation about a field that is only going to get larger and larger and can motivate students. I thought that you might be interested in communicating with the leaders of another project on the video showcase (Discovering Digital Forensics)  https://stemforall2019.videohall.com/presentati... that is for high school students, but may still be very relevant.

    Have you run these workshops for teachers yet? How have they responded? Do they have time within their curriculum to incorporate this? Do you expect that they will teach this during the school day or after-school? Very interested to hear more. Thanks!

  • Icon for: Laurin Buchanan

    Laurin Buchanan

    Lead Presenter
    May 13, 2019 | 05:17 p.m.

    Hi Joni! We will run the first workshop this July. Teachers of other subjects often already have a packed schedule with no time to add new curriculum, so in CyberMiSTS we target CTE teachers. They will be creating a module to teach during the school day - the length of that module depends on their students, their school and how prepared a teacher feels after the workshop. We already know some participating schools are looking to build out a more complete cybersecurity curriculum in the middle school to "queue up" students for the high school curriculum, but I'm honestly hoping we can help teachers create curriculum that gets their whole class interested in learning more about cybersecurity.

    Thanks for the pointer to the Digital Forensics presentation, I'm still sifting through the list to see what all is here!

     
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    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Joni Falk
  • Icon for: Kristen Reed

    Kristen Reed

    Facilitator
    May 13, 2019 | 07:50 p.m.

    Hi Laurin, I was curious, in the comment above you mention that middle school teachers are looking to "queue up" students for the high school curriculum. Is there a currently a high school cybersecurity curriculum that high schools are using?

     

     
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    Discussion is closed. Upvoting is no longer available

    Laurin Buchanan
  • Icon for: Laurin Buchanan

    Laurin Buchanan

    Lead Presenter
    May 14, 2019 | 08:56 a.m.

    Hi Kristen - there is no "standard" curriculum for cybersecurity in K12, but there are some applicable concepts identified in the K12 Computer Science (CS) Framework (rev. 2017), and they did publish a 1 pager about cybersecurity - available at K12cs.org.

    One of the issues with teaching cybersecurity is that the most common answer to cybersecurity questions is, "it depends" - based on context, goals, risks, etc. There is no periodic table of elements like there is in Chemistry. This, combined with it being a relatively immature discipline and the tremendous rate of tech change, makes it challenging for teachers in K12 to teach: there is an incredible lack of reviewed & sharable curricular content that address foundational concepts which are appropriate to middle school or high school age students, and has learning objectives, with activities and assessments - and includes "the correct answers" - but which does not require significant computing / lab resources and knowledge of programming by students & teachers.

    This project is based in NY, where there is no formal K12 CS statewide program, and cybersecurity content in K12 is almost non-existent. I plan to reach out to the participating teachers from the district that has some cybersecurity curriculum at the high school in order to learn more about what they are doing, but classes here go to the end of June and they may not have much bandwidth.

  • Icon for: Kristen Reed

    Kristen Reed

    Facilitator
    May 13, 2019 | 07:48 p.m.

    Hi Laurin, I was excited to learn about your project! I was wondering about what a cybersecurity lesson might look like in middle school. What sorts of issues do you anticipate building the curriculum around? Thanks! Kristen

     
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    Laurin Buchanan
  • Icon for: Laurin Buchanan

    Laurin Buchanan

    Lead Presenter
    May 14, 2019 | 09:41 a.m.

    Because we are trying to broaden participation in cybersecurity, we want to attract interest from those students who do not already identify as being interested in STEM. And students will have a wide range of prior exposure to / experience with computing & computer science (see the aforementioned lack of standardized CS curriculum - I know several high schools who have *no* CS in the high school). The curriculum will be introduced by illustrating in a branching web comic what can happen to real-world things that kids may care about - such as drones and cranes, games and movies - when there's poor cybersecurity, particularly when critical communications are not secure, e.g. the importance of encryption in many different industries.

    That is a great opening for introducing students to the concepts of data protection (confidentiality, integrity, availability, threats, vulnerabilities and risk) and lead to the concepts of authentication (who am I?) and authorization (what do I have access to?); privacy and anonymity; data types and data states. On the more technical side are concepts such as passwords (creating & managing strong passwords, encryption & hashing, attacks / how passwords get compromised) and privacy (network-level spying, HTTP vs HTTPS, tracking, cookies, advertising).

    The workshop will provide teachers the raw materials to develop a curriculum that is tailored to the abilities of their student population, access to other existing material and activities, and information about different cyber careers, particularly those related to the concepts above. During the workshop, each teacher will focus on creating curriculum around one concept, but they will have access to the curriculum created by other participants at the end of the workshop, ensuring a wide range of curricular concepts they can take back to the classroom.

  • Icon for: Michael Lee

    Michael Lee

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 14, 2019 | 04:21 p.m.

    I totally agree with you that reaching out to students in their middle school years is important. I was especially interested in your statement (in the video) about wanting to increase participation for those students who are more interested in "creative and social issues that in science and technology" and (in your comments) wanting to attract interest from those students who do not already identify as being interested in STEM. I understand that the interactive branching web comics is a way to facilitate this, and am interested to learn more (likely after the teachers have implemented this into their classrooms) about how successful this is and what the students think about it!

  • Icon for: Laurin Buchanan

    Laurin Buchanan

    Lead Presenter
    May 14, 2019 | 05:00 p.m.

    I'm a music major (BA) with art history grad school who never studied computer programming, yet for the last 20+ years I've had a very successful career in cybersecurity, including managing corporate security; I'm now a practitioner turned researcher. In the past I've been floored many times by colleagues who had CS degrees who demonstrated a lack of understanding about a) business needs, b) consequences of tech that can be abused c) the creativity of both attackers and unhappy employees or d) all of the above.

    Middle school students in our prior NSF project really liked reading the branching comics, but liked creating their own story even more. Students in the first workshop initially struggled with the idea of creating of branching paths, but in later workshops we had worked how to scaffold them through this process.  We've also had university instructors assign writing a comic in lieu of a term paper - and that has had very good feedback from both instructors and students. I can share more if you're interested in that.

    Just to clarify: branching comics are part of the curricular materials, but there are many more materials & activities that will be included and available for the teachers to use. The comic is partly to get students to engage with the topic.

    And - if anyone interested, there is a contest this summer for middle school educators to create a branching web comic about strong passwords: https://cybersavvyeducators.com/.

  • Icon for: Rachel Garrett

    Rachel Garrett

    Facilitator
    May 14, 2019 | 05:47 p.m.

    I think you've made a really clear and compelling case about why cybersecurity is an important part of learning for everyone. Exciting work! One question that comes to mind, especially as your approach asks teachers to develop their own curriculum, is how much content knowledge teachers need to teach middle grade cybersecurity lessons? Also, while this is still development phase, I'm curious what kinds of early indications of desired outcomes you are looking for from teachers and/or students?

  • Icon for: Laurin Buchanan

    Laurin Buchanan

    Lead Presenter
    May 15, 2019 | 10:47 a.m.

    Thank you for the positive feedback and excellent questions! We don't know exactly how much content knowledge is required in this particular instance - identifying that is one of the challenges this project. In part, we are leveraging our experience in a prior cybersecurity workshop with middle school students, and what limited published research exists on this topic - there is very little evidence-based research on what works in cybersecurity education, particularly with K12 students. We have chosen concepts and topics that are very broadly applicable, and are providing teachers with a lot of supplemental material.

    We are surveying teachers before and after the workshop about specific cybersecurity concepts and self-efficacy, and they will be using journals and Journey Maps during the workshop, and there will be a half-day workshop with teachers after they have used the curriculum in class. Our hope is the understanding and self efficacy measures increase during the workshop. As for students, we will be providing teachers with informal pre- and post-surveys on career interests as well as various knowledge assessments hat can be used in class (before, during and after) instruction. Any student data returned to us will be aggregated and anonymized. We would like to see an increase in student understanding -and that is likely to be easiest to identify. Most students can name several different medical professional work roles (doctor, nurse, pediatrician, surgeon, etc.) - having them be able to name different cybersecurity work roles would be a win. The ultimate outcome would be to have some number of students indicate actual interest in some cybersecurity work role as a career option, and understand what they can do now to best prepare for that career, what classes to take in high school, etc.

  • Icon for: Cynthia Callard

    Cynthia Callard

    Facilitator
    May 14, 2019 | 08:24 p.m.

    I really appreciated your video, your project description, and reading the comments posted so far!  Really interesting work, and really exciting that you are engaging middle school teachers and students (and as a former middle school teacher, I know what a challenge that can be!).  I have to say, I have not given much thought as to the path that one takes to know and understand cybersecurity.  And certainly even simply raising awareness of teachers and students about the issues you noted above is important.  Are you currently working with local teachers in your region for the summer institute and pilot next year?  How are you imagining scaling up eventually?

  • Icon for: Laurin Buchanan

    Laurin Buchanan

    Lead Presenter
    May 15, 2019 | 11:03 a.m.

    Thank you joining in the discussion here! Yes, we are working with local teachers on Long Island for this summer's workshop and to pilot the curriculum during 2019/20 school year. We will be running another workshop in the summer of 2020, and participants from this year's workshop may be invited back to mentor the second cohort of teachers during the workshop. That will also increase their confidence, and provide them with additional curricular materials to take back to the classroom.

    We hope to scale up in a couple of different ways. As we are videotaping some of the discussions with cybersecurity researchers, we plan to create an online course intended for middle school educators without a cybersecurity background, which will be offered by Stony Brook University either as PD or potentially as part of an education degree program. We've taken note of some of the other participants in this showcase, like the Video in the Middle - https://stemforall2019.videohall.com/presentati... and plan to reach out to them to learn more from what they did.

    Another option to scale up is to package the materials and approach as an curriculum offering for educators (formal and informal) who already have a cybersecurity background. There are many K12 educators who are prepared to teach cybersecurity in the classroom, but need curricular materials that do not require a full lab of equipment with downloaded virtual machines.

  • Icon for: Rachel Garrett

    Rachel Garrett

    Facilitator
    May 15, 2019 | 02:00 p.m.

    "And certainly even simply raising awareness of teachers and students about the issues you noted above is important."

    Cynthia, I thought this was well put. This video opened my eyes to thinking about the cyber security education that is needed simply for being a member in modern society, in any field of work.

    Laurin, thanks for your response to my earlier question. I appreciate your thoughtfulness about the content to include and how you are making it accessible (per also your response to Cynthia.) It does seem like your work could have two veins, for general knowledge and awareness raising and also for building expertise for addressing cyber security. I look forward to seeing your work progress!

     

     
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    Laurin Buchanan
  • Icon for: Cynthia Callard

    Cynthia Callard

    Facilitator
    May 15, 2019 | 10:51 p.m.

    Agreed.  Thank you for your thoughtful responses Laurin, and for your insights/reflections Rachel.  I so appreciate hearing about these efforts and learning about this field!

  • Icon for: Ed Mondragon

    Ed Mondragon

    K-12 Teacher
    May 16, 2019 | 04:39 p.m.

    As a passionate 29-year career educator interested in developing a K-12 cybersecurity educational program (and 14-year veteran middle school teacher), I would like to invite all of you to consider participating in the NICE K12 Cybersecurity Education Conference this coming December in Orange County (CA). 

    I have been working arduously to bring cybersecurity into the secondary level (ms/hs) and have seen some progress in Utah, but the progress is all in the high school level. I believe a middle school (and elementary) cybersecurity program will help in numerous ways. First, it will train individuals to be more aware of the threats with online activity which is helpful since most incidents are caused by human error. Second, there are excellent cybersecurity careers available for individuals with diverse knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSA); as Laurin mentioned, her background in music and art history are not listed anywhere in regards to KSA needed for cybersecurity, but this is why it is important for ALL students to have access to these types of problem solving activities. Finally, there is a projection of 3.5 million unfilled cybersecurity jobs by 2021 which will only be addressed if students get introduced to these career KSA early in their schooling; I believe the shortage is because it has been an uncommon, invisible career field with many positions filled by on-the-job training which will not be adequate as the threats grow in every area of our lives.

    Kudos to the work that has been done and which will advance as time progresses. I hope to meet all of you at the conference aforementioned; I serve on the planning committee for the conference.

     
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    Laurin Buchanan
  • Icon for: Laurin Buchanan

    Laurin Buchanan

    Lead Presenter
    May 16, 2019 | 05:21 p.m.

    Thanks Ed! I hope to see you at the NICE K12 conference this year!

     
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    Ed Mondragon
  • May 19, 2019 | 08:05 p.m.

    Very timely and exciting project.  So thankful for the STEM for All Showcase. What an excellent way to bring like minded (busy) researchers together. It is such a relief to hear the need for creativity and diversity in Cyber Security articulated so clearly!  Through lessons learned in the process of developing curriculum for High School, we see the need for more education in in earlier grades for students and for teachers. We are also keen on the idea of developing a program for adult learners. 

    Glad to meet you virtually and would love to learn more about CyberMiSts and see if there are any opportunities for collaboration in the future.  We will be presenting a Cyber Sleuth Workshop for teachers at ISTE - is there any chance that you might be there? 

  • Further posting is closed as the showcase has ended.