Iowa State University has created the nation’s first cyber security curriculum for the K-12 classroom. We hear a lot about literacy and digital literacy. What about security literacy? The Security Literacy Project is dedicated to providing educators the materials needed to teach security-literacy to grades K – 16. The prime goal of practical computer security literacy is to provide students with the information and processes to secure their digital devices and information. The topics and objectives of the teaching modules are designed specifically to meet this goal.
The primary method for educating students and the general public about cyber security has been through limited awareness campaigns and the construction of top-ten security lists.
Formal computer security education is the key to combating the threats intrinsic to the Information Age. Each day, people are inundated with alerts and pop-ups informing them about patch updates, antivirus signatures, firewall exceptions, suspicious emails, and malware threats but lack the proper education or vocabulary to make value-based decisions regarding the benefits and consequences of taking specific action on these items. This course in practical computer security provides the context and knowledge for students to apply computer security best practices when faced with a novel situation and the ability to be proactive, not reactive, in the face of new threats. It is argued that computer security literacy is not only the next logical step in computer security defense; it is the most important step that, we, as individuals can take. Through this website and project ISU encourages and promotes security literacy.
Two types of materials are available to support various classroom settings and curricular objectives.
- The first set of materials are called Cyber-Toons and are short (1-2 minutes) videos designed to be played in a class to simulate discussion around a topic. The Cyber-Toons can be included into any class and are more targeted at middle schools. An instructors guide, discussion questions, and short assessments are provided with each of the Cyber-Toons.
- The second set of materials are longer modules (5 to 10 minutes) that are also in video format. These are designed to be used in class or in a “flipped” course (where students watch the videos before class). Like the Cyber-Toons instructors can pick modules based on topic to be included in any existing course. A curriculum for a school that wants to teach an entire course on security literacy is also provided. The modules are designed for upper middle school and high school.
Access the course at http://www.security-literacy.org/