Cyber Security for Students


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Overview and Purpose

Cyber Security for Students: Introducing Primary students to what Cyber Security is through hands on learning and labs. This course is for educators and caregivers of lower elementary students who are interested in teaching their students about what cybersecurity is and why it is important.  As a teacher with a background in first and second grade I have developed this course with younger learners in mind in order to start developing their cyber knowledge.  Cyber Security is a rapidly growing and important field and I want to expose students of all genders and backgrounds to this topic early in order to encourage their interest in it as they move throughout their education.  

Students will develop knowledge on what cyber security is and why it is important.  Students will develop basic coding skills which form the foundation of cyber defense.  Students will develop an inquisitive and inclusive attitude towards the field of cyber security.  

Needs Assessment

The Educational Problem

As educators seek to integrate more digital devices and platforms into their classrooms the threat from cyber security also increases. According to the State of Ransomware 2021 reported that the education industry had significant security weaknesses which led to them suffering from the most ransomware attacks. (Arcserve, 2022) So the systems and devices that students are using everyday have a high likelihood that they will be compromised.  Students can also face cybersecurity threats from cyber predators and malware.  Additionally with so many students playing online games they are exposed to phishing scams, viruses and harassment.  These cyber threats are the reality of students' lives and will continue to become more sophisticated.  This is why it is so important to introduce even young students to the concept of cyber security. (Berkeley Extension) Not only will they be able to protect themselves they will also be able to potentially protect their community and future employers.  

Learners Involved

This course will focus on concrete lessons and examples for educators to share with lower primary children on what cyber security is and how to protect themselves.  This course could be of use to the following groups with no prior knowledge necessary.

  • Educators
  • Parents
  • Librarians

Analysis of Gaps The intended learner is an educator of lower primary children K-2 whose students use devices that have internet access.  NYSED has released guidelines and standards around device knowledge and usage.  The lessons that I will be offering will be aligned with their  K-12 Computer Science and Digital Fluency Standards for Cybersecurity.  Teachers are constantly being asked to teach more and changing standards in a limited time period.  By having these lessons already prepared I am giving teachers the ability to teach to a content area where they may not be comfortable or think is a priority.   Existing Efforts Existing efforts are piecemeal and of low priority.  The NYS Digital Fluency Standards are still in draft form. (New York State Education Department) Especially with the onset of the COVID pandemic teachers are struggling to help students fill significant gaps in reading and mathematical skills.  However the threat of cyber security is real and can be ignored to the detriment of districts and their students. Phishing is one of the top malware types and continues to be used against millions of people each day.  Cyber security protects people from all kinds of potential harm and safety should start with young students just as they are taught to be safe in public places.  

Intent Statement

This course will instruct users about the importance of cyber security and will offer specific lessons and examples of ways that it can be taught to K-2 students.  

Performance Objectives

Participants will be able to define what cybersecurity is.

Participants will identify why it is important for students to learn about cybersecurity.

Participants will develop safeguarding skills for school or home computers and devices.

Participants will construct a cybersecurity mini lesson after analyzing various examples.  

Course Units

Unit 1: What is Cybersecurity?

Upon completion  of this unit, learners will be able to:

  • Define cybersecurity
  • Understand common words and phrases related to cybersecurity
  • Be able to explain why cybersecurity is important

Learners will match definitions and words through an interactive platform

Unit 2: Why is it Important to Teach K-5 students about Cybersecurity?

Upon completion of this unit, learners will be able to:

  • Identify cybersecurity risks that pertain to students
  • Be able to recognize these risks from given examples
  • Plan and implement risk reduction strategies

Learners will chose a risk reduction strategy and explain how they would implement it in their teaching environment

Unit 3: Incorporating Resources in the Classroom

Upon completion of this unit, learners will be able to:

  • Discover  places to find resources
  • View an example lesson
  • Create their own mini lesson

Learners will create a mini lesson that includes an interactive student component

Extended Resources

Larson, M. B. and Lockee, B. B. (2020). Streamlined ID: A Practical Guide to Instructional Design (2nd edition). New York, NY: Routledge.

DRAFT NEW YORK STATE COMPUTER SCIENCE AND DIGITAL FLUENCY LEARNING STANDARDS. (2020, January). New York State Education Department. Retrieved Febuary 16, 2023, from

Arcserve. (2022, March 8). Why teaching cyber security in schools is imperative.

Berkeley Extension. (n.d.) Cyber security in education : What teachers, parent, and student should know.