The National Integrated Cyber Education Research Center (NICERC) is taking its cyber curriculum on the road.
The program will expand to several new states in the next nine months, including stops in California, Minnesota, Tennessee, New York and Maryland. In addition, their annual Education Discovery Forum (EDF), held in Shreveport this year, will attract 300 or more teachers to the area, all with the desire to learn about the NICERC curriculum.
Following this year the EDF will travel to several major cities around the country, including those in Nevada, Georgia, Texas, Washington and Florida.
“From a national perspective, we have planted the flag…we are leaders in cyber education, right here in Bossier City,” G.B. Cazes, Vice President of the Cyber Innovation Center and Director of NICERC, said.
The NICERC cyber curriculum has been developed in partnership with a variety of partners. Louisiana Tech University has been a key strategic partner and contributor. Bossier Parish Schools have also been instrumental as they provide a ‘test bed’ for curriculum development and feedback. Additional universities and teachers are contributing as the national expansion continues.
The NICERC cyber curriculum was piloted two years ago to 75 localteachers. The program was expanded last year to 150 teachers and doubled in reach this year.
Cazes said they expect it to reach 1,000 to 2,000 teachers per year moving forward.
“We’re estimating right now to impact just over 1,000 teachers go through our professional development opportunities [within the next year],” Cazes explained. “Each teacher will impact around 122 students per year. If we reach 1,000 teachers, that’s 122,000 students that will be impacted by our content. As we continue to grow, we’re talking about really making an impact on the growing cyber workforce.”
The cyber curriculum is broken down into subjects based on grade levels. STEM: Explore, Discover, Apply (STEM EDA) engages middle school students through a series of hands-on projects that help improve their problem-solving and critical thinking skills.
Simply put, Cazes said STEM EDA integrates science, technology, engineering and math with liberal arts and infuses it with cyber elements. The curriculum continues into high school with Cyber Literacy, Cyber in Society, Cyber Science, Physics, and Advanced Math for Engineering and Science.
Looking ahead, Cazes said he sees the NICERC cyber curriculum implemented in all 50 states, impacting communities similar to what’s currently happening in Bossier.
“Cyber touches everything we do every day of our lives,” Cazes said.
“We are trying to create valuable cyber citizens; someone who will help, not hinder, our national cyber security efforts. We will continue to share our content and also develop the content as it evolves.”