From Staff Reports
Over the past two weeks, more than 30 teachers and 90 students from high schools across the region converged on the campus of Louisiana Tech University to take part in the 6th annual Cyber Discovery camp. This program is hosted by the Cyber Innovation Center (CIC) and its National Integrated Cyber Education Research Center (NICERC).
NICERC serves as the catalyst for disseminating the CIC’s academic outreach programs. Cyber Discovery is being implemented nationwide through a grant with the Department of Homeland Security.
Cyber Discovery is led by NICERC Subject Matter Experts and university faculty from Louisiana Tech University. The program is best described as a catalytic event for engaging students and teachers in the world of cyberspace by covering its relative ethical and social issues, applications, vulnerabilities, and security. The program provides an interdisciplinary experience for the participants by showing the connections between History, Engineering, Mathematics, Political Science, and Computer Science within today’s social context and current technologies.
“Cyber Discovery was created by a team of university faculty at Louisiana Tech in 2008. With the support of the Cyber Innovation Center, the program has been recognized as a national model for teacher professional development while simultaneously engaging students in meaningful and academically rich experiences through cyber,” said Dr. Galen Turner, CIC Chief Academic Officer. “It is an honor to have led this team since the beginning and even more so as we work with faculty at other institutions around the country.”
During the two week-long residential camps, students and teachers participated in hands-on engineering and computer science labs, a cryptographic treasure hunt, creative writing assignments, cyber film sessions, and collaborative team discussions. These experiences culminated in a final cyber challenge at the end of each week. Bossier schools participating included Airline, Benton, Haughton, and Louisiana New Tech at Plain Dealing, Parkway.
While the students benefit from the challenges and camp curricula, a strong emphasis is placed on the participating high school teachers. Before arriving at Cyber Discovery, teachers attended two professional development workshops that provided them with the opportunity to gain insight into the disciplinary threads Cyber Discovery showcases, network with higher education professors at Louisiana Tech University, and acquire the hands-on experience they would need to lead their teams through each event challenge.
At the end of Cyber Discovery week 1, Parkway emerged as the first place winner, followed by Haughton which placed second. At Cyber Discovery week 2, Benton and Catholic High School took home first and second place, respectively. Each first place team was awarded $1,250 while the second place winners were given awards of $750.
For more information about Cyber Discovery, NICERCs professional development opportunities, and other educational programs offered by NICERC, visit www.nicerc.org.