The National Integrated Cyber Education Research Center (NICERC) today announced that the Cyber Education Discovery Forum (CEDF) will be held this year as a virtual event from June 22-25, 2020. The four-day professional development event is for K-12 educators seeking to bring cyber skills and career awareness to their classrooms. This year, for the first time ever, all the content will be delivered online, with a mix of live sessions, virtual office hours and at-home projects.
“While the decision to take CEDF virtual was driven initially by continued social distancing guidelines related to COVID-19, we are excited to be able to open the event up to a broader audience of K-12 educators who may not have been able to attend in person, but are hungry for professional development opportunities that will help them feel more confident introducing cyber into their classrooms,” said Kevin Nolten, director of NICERC. “We’ve seen a significant increase in demand for this kind of professional development in schools and districts across the U.S.”
NICERC provided over 17,000 hours of professional development focused on cybersecurity education to more than 2,500 teachers during the 2018-19 school year, and last year’s CEDF event attracted nearly 200 teachers from elementary, middle, and high schools across 29 states.
“Attending CEDF last summer was a powerful learning experience,” said Amy White, a teacher at Jim Bridger Middle School in North Las Vegas, Nevada. “ I left the conference feeling confident in my ability to introduce cyber topics to my students and with a rejuvenated passion for the importance of cyber education.”
Teachers are a critical force multiplier in efforts to spark interest and awareness of cybersecurity careers. Without K-12 teachers as a link to the future workforce, the U.S. will struggle to fill a growing number of cybersecurity jobs, projected at 1.8 million open jobs by 2022.
In surveys of previous CEDF attendees, respondents reported their confidence in integrating cyber content in their classrooms increase, from 62 percent who felt confident before attending CEDF to 86 percent following the event. By the end of CEDF, 92 percent of teacher participants expressed a willingness to encourage students to pursue cyber pathways through extracurricular activities, advanced STEM coursework, and career exploration.
In addition to professional development, NICERC develops and disseminates curricular resources for K-12 educators to integrate grade-appropriate cyber foundations in their classrooms immediately, at no cost to the educator, school, or district. More than 18,000 teachers across all 50 states and three U.S. territories are currently enrolled in the NICERC content platform. The content meets state standards for learning in 25 states and counting.
For more information or to register for the Cyber Education Discover Forum, please visit www.nicerc.org/CEDF.
The National Integrated Cyber Education Research Center (NICERC) is a cybersecurity workforce development organization that targets K-12 students with cyber career awareness, curricular resources and teacher professional development. The United States Department of Homeland Security supports NICERC through a grant from the Cybersecurity Infrastructure and Security Agency (CISA) to develop and distribute cyber, STEM, and computer science curricula to educators across the country. For more information, please visit www.NICERC.org.