Kendra Sue Finch, a Technology Integration and Innovation Coordinator at Westminister Schools of Augusta, led the GenCyber Middle Grades Teacher camp at Augusta University and found a very creative way to incorporate the NSA Day of Cyber into her GenCyber Middle Grades Teacher camp. “I felt it would be important for ALL of the teachers who attended the camp to be able to introduce their students to the amazing opportunities in the field of cybersecurity that they could pursue in their future,” commented Kendra.
I needed my teachers to break into 5 groups of 6 teachers each. Instead of just putting them in groups, I decided to make my grouping strategy reflect the Day of Cyber content. Each teacher was given a “Top Secret and Confidential” letter. Each letter explained that the teacher had been selected to begin training to become one of the following jobs:
- Vulnerability Analyst
- Crypto Analyst
- Exploitation Analyst
- Capability Development Specialist
- Cyber Research Specialist
The letter gave a brief description of their job and what role they would one day play in protecting our country. I got all of the descriptions and job titles from the Day of Cyber content as a way to introduce to the teachers to Day of Cyber. All of the teachers learned about the role that they were being trained to fill today, and then they moved through a series of 5 “training exercises” to prepare them for their future role with the NSA.
The teachers who attended and ran the Day of Cyber experience really enjoyed learning about the exciting careers that my students could pursue in the field of cyber security. They were introduced to the hard and soft skills that various cybersecurity specialists need and use.
“For example, mentioned one of the teachers, when I see one of my middle school students who enjoys learning to program spreadsheet formulas, I can say, “Wow! You seem to enjoy solving problems creatively with technology. I bet you would enjoy a career in cybersecurity as a cryptoanalyst.”
That’s really all it takes to generate a spark of interest in the students. And once they begin asking questions, I can take them through the Day of Cyber program. I honestly didn’t know how to begin conversations about the great opportunities for students in the field of cybersecurity before I went through the Day of Cyber program.