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Cybersecurity in the K-12 Space

Listen and learn

Listen and learn : Panel

Wednesday, December 2, 3:15–4:00 pm PST (Pacific Standard Time)

Jessica Boersma  
Dr. Nathaniel Evans  
Sara Gonzalez  
Dr. Kenneth Kass  

Examine elements of a cybersecurity curriculum in the K-12 space. We'll share the tri-fold approach and explore elements with current educational frameworks commonly used in evaluation of curriculum and performance and suggest the development of a framework for evaluating cybersecurity curriculum.

Audience: Curriculum/district specialists, Teachers, Technology coordinators/facilitators
Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices not needed
Participant accounts, software and other materials: None
Topic: Computer science & computational thinking
Grade level: PK-12
Subject area: STEM/STEAM, Computer science
ISTE Standards: For Coaches:
Teaching, Learning and Assessments
  • Coach teachers in and model design and implementation of technology-enhanced learning experiences using differentiation, including adjusting content, process, product and learning environment based on student readiness levels, learning styles, interests and personal goals.
Digital Age Learning Environments
  • Model effective classroom management and collaborative learning strategies to maximize teacher and student use of digital tools and resources and access to technology-rich learning environments.
For Educators:
  • Explore and apply instructional design principles to create innovative digital learning environments that engage and support learning.

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

In this session we will examine elements of a Cybersecurity curriculum/activities in the K-12 space, dividing and providing examples of the tri-fold approach (cyber for IT, digital citizenship and cybersecurity for workforce) that is currently being utilized. We will examine these elements of Cybersecurity through the lens of current educational frameworks commonly used in evaluation of curriculum and performance. We will also suggest adaptations as appropriate toward development of a framework for evaluating cybersecurity curriculum.

We will provide example resources for educators to take back and will demonstrate strengths and weaknesses with current activities.

We will break the perspectives down into K-5 and 6-12 having members on the panel from each side discussing some of the differences as it relates to cybersecurity.


1) Talk about what open cybersecurity focused curriculum exist and what they contain. Include a discussion of the importance of why this should be taught early (20 min)
2) Discuss common mistakes noticed in activities or lessons, including obtaining audience perspectives and stories (15 min)
3) Summarize this all into a common mistakes to avoid list including audience suggestions (15 min)
4) Discuss common cybersecurity related topics and what types of information or lessons would be valuable (20 min)
5) Answer Questions or hear stories people have (20 min)

Supporting research

Need for more people to fill cyber jobs:

Cybersecurity weakness in K-12:

And its pretty much non-existent in K-5 unless your talking digital citizenship and even that is limited.

More [+]


Jessica Boersma, Harvey School District
Dr. Nathaniel Evans, Argonne National Laboratory

Dr. Nathaniel Evans received his Doctorate in Computer Engineering with a specialty in Cyber Security from Iowa State University, one of the first NSA Centers of Excellence in the country. He has spent time working in the Intelligence Community and for a variety of companies including Walt Disney World, Principal Financial Group and the Computer Security Institute. Nathaniel also has his CISSP and currently teaches a Certified Ethical Hacking course at Moraine Valley Community College and a Cyber Awareness master’s course at University of Chicago. He currently runs DOE's CyberForce Competition.

Sara Gonzalez, Maya Angelou Elementary School
Dr. Kenneth Kass, Endeavor Schools

Ken is the EVP of Technology at Endeavor Schools. Ken holds Ph.D. In Curriculum & Instructional Technology from Iowa State University, and a Masters of Public Administration from Drake University.

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