By Michele Roberts and Joshua Streiff
On September 15 and 16, IU SICE co-hosted Indiana’s first ever Computer Science conference for K-8 teachers. Over two hundred teachers learned more about the Indiana K-8 Computer Science standards including assessment plans and computational trends. In key informational sessions about the new standards, the workshop offered panels and presentations from school districts, product demonstrations from industry partners, and practice with hands-on activities for classroom use.
The SPICE session "Hands On Cybersecurity" was one of the most attended sessions the event offered. Joshua Streiff (Program Manager for the Center for Security & Privacy in Informatics, Computing, and Engineering) used a variety of IoT devices to offer hands-on instruction in leading young students through security and privacy processes with smart home toys and devices. Showing the process of threat modeling toys, discussing security concern examples, and disassembling internet-connected toy bears, the educators learned a new model for student educational methodology.
Interest in Cybersecurity and security education is at an all time high with K-12 educators. Teachers are in need of security experts who can help them form and convey this information to their students. As Michele Roberts, Director of Computing Outreach at IU said,
“I was not surprised that the SPICE session was so well received. I am asked a lot about Cybersecurity programs and issues when in the field; this is clearly a topic of interest for students and teachers alike.”
Indiana’s Department of Education has asked IU's School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering (SICE) to help develop a high school course in Cybersecurity, and to work with interested teachers to prepare them to teach the course. Additionally, several educators who attended the event will be traveling to IU to see SPICE's research center, known as the “Internet of Things” house. As such educational programs are supported at both state and federal levels, these researchers are interested in collaboration efforts with SPICE's outreach team, including both curriculum development and workshop creation. IU's new Cybersecurity Risk MS program also saw interest after the event with an educator applying for the program.
The Computer Science conference is just one part of IU SICE’s mission to support Computer Science education for Indiana students and just one example of SPICE’s dedication to outreach and education. Further expansion of our support of educational outreach continues, externally with future workshop events, and internally with two Capstone teams working to build educational demonstration tools for future events.