Laurin Buchanan, Principal Investigator for Secure Decisions and an industry leader in cybersecurity awareness, will speak at the NICE K-12 Cybersecurity Education Conference on December 5th in Nashville, Tennessee. The presentation, titled “Exploring the power of storytelling for cybersecurity education with middle school children,” will share initial findings from a two-year research project funded by NSF to determine how a prototype web application for creating branching, interactive webcomics can be used to teach middle school students about cybersecurity. These graphic narratives can incorporate culturally relevant pedagogy, and have the potential to attract a broader and more diverse body of students to the field of cybersecurity.
The presentation will address how Comic-BEE, an innovative all-in-one application that allows educators and trainers to create interactive branching comics without help from a programmer or artist, can inform the development of new approaches to teaching and learning cybersecurity. Comic-BEE gives students the opportunity to make decisions and control the flow of the story, so they quickly learn the consequences of those decisions. Comic-BEE also can collect metrics that allow educators and employers to assess specific cyber knowledge and skills. Using Comic-BEE, the NSF project hopes to attract a broad and diverse workforce to the field of cybersecurity, starting in middle school: expert-created comics are used to evaluate a student’s knowledge, skill, and ability in cybersecurity. Students’ understanding of cybersecurity challenges and consequences is deepened using a comic creation activity. The presentation will review what worked and what didn’t, as well as some of the challenges encountered in the first year.
The NICE K-12 Cybersecurity Education Conference gathers educators, professionals, researchers, and others in the cybersecurity space to examine the challenges—and opportunities—for cybersecurity education in elementary and secondary schools. The two-day event (December 4-5) will feature speakers, panels, workshops, and exhibits describing methods and tools to improve the current state of cybersecurity education. You can learn more about the event and register for it.
Laurin Buchanan is a Certified Information Security Systems Professional, and Principal Investigator with the Secure Decisions division of Applied Visions, Inc. She spent two decades managing IT operations and information security in the corporate sector, most recently for a Fortune 1000 company. She now uses that operational background to lead R&D efforts for new and novel solutions to improve the cybersecurity decision making by humans in the loop, from automating decision support for network security policy management, to modeling and automatically mapping dependencies between missions, users, and cyber assets. Most recently she has worked to understand the decision processes of Computer Network Defense analysts and the use of visualizations to enhance those decisions, and to develop Comic-BEE, a novel, interactive approach for cybersecurity education and evaluation using interactive webcomics that are engaging for all age and expertise levels.
Comic-BEE is based on research sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate, Cyber Security Division (DHS S&T/CSD) via contract numbers HSHQDC-14-C-B0019 and HHSP233201600057C. The views and conclusions contained herein are those of the authors and should not be interpreted as necessarily representing the official policies or endorsements, either expressed or implied, of the Department of Homeland Security or the U.S. Government.