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Cybersecurity Teacher Training Finishes with Success

The teacher training week kicked off the first of three summer cybersecurity camps. Educators expanded the tools in their cyber pockets, ready to pass on their new knowledge to their upcoming students for the year.

As society advances, cybersecurity continuously increases in importance for the safety of individuals, companies, and communities. Professors from BYU recognized this. To more fully spread cybersecurity knowledge, Associate Professors Geoffrey Wright and Justin Giboney expanded the previous free weeklong cybersecurity camp to three weeks of camps, allowing teachers, boys, and girls the chance to attend. This was made possible with the help of a National Security Agency Gencyber Grant.

Professors, cybersecurity major students, and other volunteers assist in organizing and running these events. One week ago, on Monday, July 12, the teacher camp began and carried on throughout the rest of the week successfully.

The teacher camp is open to K-12 teachers interested in expanding their teaching skills and cybersecurity knowledge. It trains and helps educators to share cybersecurity concepts, resources, and lesson plans. This ensures the information not only gets passed onto the attendants, but to the students enrolling in these teachers' courses. With fourteen participants—all of which will have roughly 30-60 students each year—this leads to a large impact on the community.

The teachers skills were put to the test in the Immersive Cybersecurity Experience (ICE). Each person worked in different roles, putting their cybersecurity skills together to accomplish tasks and avoid their virtual rocket ship's destruction.
Photo by Abi Falin

Monday through Friday, volunteers and hired staff trained attendees in topics ranging from breadboards to password safety to wiring. Although each day differed in specifics, the camp overall focused on providing methods for defense and protection within the cyber world.

Giboney started educating about cybersecurity a decade ago, drawn in by the opportunity to solve problems and protect others. Giboney oversaw the first week of camp and aimed to give teachers the tools to increase their student’s desire and ability to participate in this technological realm. This way, the students can add to the force of online protectors.

“We want students that can be able to research on their own, find out things on their own, have a desire to learn things,” Giboney said, “so that they can keep up and they can stay ahead of the bad guy.”

The “bad guy,” or in other words, hackers, infiltrate more than company systems. Their online breaking and entering can affect individuals, local and national financial institutions, and government organizations. Staying up to date on new technological resources and methods is key in stopping criminal conduct and preventing any damage that would ensue.

At the end of the week, the educators earned prizes for their participation and performance.
Photo by Abi Falin

The sooner the teachers can pass on the most recently acquired knowledge, the better. Megan Warren is a cybersecurity major that serves in an administrative role for the camp. She noted that the trainees not only gain new information to pass on to the kids, but they also learn how to appeal to a diversity of students.

“I personally would have loved to have taken more cybersecurity or more computer science classes in high school, but I didn’t really feel like it was something that girls could do.” Warren said, “I didn’t know about things, or I didn’t feel like I could be a part of them. So, I think it’s cool having a teacher camp, so that they can find ways to reach out and bring more kids in and get them more interested in programs like this.”

This week from Monday, July 19 to Friday, July 23 will be the boy’s camp. Follow our Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter to stay updated on the events and activities going on every day.

To learn more about basic cybersecurity, check out this Q&A with Giboney.