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Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences, and the Arts held a cybersecurity workshop for Arkansas teachers last week as part of the Coding Arkansas’ Future program. The teachers learned how computers communicate. – Photo by John Anderson of The Sentinel-Record

The Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences, and the Arts held a cybersecurity workshop for Arkansas teachers last week as part of the Coding Arkansas’ Future program.

“Gov. Hutchinson has challenged high schools and colleges to embrace cybersecurity as the state’s computer science education initiative matures in its second phase,” ASMSA Director Corey Alderdice said. “Even more so than traditional coding, information security requires an understanding of topics in hardware, networking and other advanced concepts.”

“This is an introduction to cybersecurity for teachers with absolutely no background in computer networking, starting from the basics of computer networking and understanding how computers communicate together, and how the devices that enable communication work,” said Daniel Moix, director of the school’s Coding Arkansas’ Future initiative.

The program has been supporting and teaching Arkansas teachers since 2015. The teachers can come in with whatever background they have, whether it is a college background or learning computer science on their own, he noted.

“We provided week by week support on how to teach the course,” Moix said.

The intent of the workshop was not to have the teachers leaving knowing everything about computer networking, but so they will be better equipped to take advantage of a lot of new resources available to teach cybersecurity, he said.

The workshop “not only introduces those subjects to teachers but also helps ASMSA to better understand how we can best support the state’s efforts,” Alderdice said.

Moix said this was the first time the school has hosted a cybersecurity workshop, noting the most rewarding part was seeing educators light up and remember what it is like to learn. Also, the teachers will be more comfortable with what they are doing because they will have done this multiple times.

“They don’t step out of their comfort zone very often,” he said. “What I love is seeing people have their aha moment, and I love waking that light bulb up in educators themselves.”

He said it’s important because there are increasing demands for access to information and immediate access, such as checking bank accounts. People used to receive their bank statements once a month. Next, people logged into their bank account and viewed it whenever they wanted to. Now, people want a notification of when their balance is low.

“As we have immediate access to information, with that comes the risk of people who don’t need to have access to that information,” Moix said.

Moix said he hopes teachers take away from the workshop resources that will allow them to have professional networking connections in the next city or county that they can reach out and be partners with.

Moix said he had a conversation with the class on the first day about resources teachers can use for their students that already exist, such as lesson plans and equipment. An Arkansas Department of Education grant funded the workshop.

“Each of the teachers are taking home tools to build networks and certain networking equipment that they might not necessarily have the funds for at their home-school to purchase for this purpose,” he said.

“ASMSA has been the state’s primary partner in establishing Arkansas as the national leader in computer science education. Our faculty are stepping up once more to lay the necessary groundwork that enables teachers across the state to introduce these concepts to students while preparing them for in-demand jobs over the next decade,” Alderdice said.

Local on 02/11/2020

Print Headline: ASMSA holds cybersecurity workshop for teachers

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