Louisiana Tech University’s SciTEC, LOSFA, and CYBER.ORG Partner to provide teacher professional development, benefiting future students
SciTEC, LOFSA, and CYBER.ORG Partner to Provide Professional Development
Bossier City, Louisiana: CYBER.ORG, formerly known as the National Integrated Cyber Education Research Center, is pleased to work with the Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance (LOSFA) program of the Louisiana Board of Regents, and the Louisiana Tech College of Education’s Science and Technology Education Center (SciTEC), on the first of a three-part, state-wide, teacher professional development series offered for educators and counselors in the Louisiana GEAR UP network. A federally funded national initiative, the Louisiana Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) is supported by the U.S. Department of Education, which gives grants to states or institutions of higher learning to create partnerships with high-poverty middle or high schools. LOSFA administers Louisiana GEAR UP.
This professional development session is one component of a multi-year, multi-faceted, $2.8 million subcontracted effort serving students, teachers and counselors across the state of Louisiana in partnership with Louisiana Tech’s SciTEC. By focusing on high-poverty middle or high schools, this body of work is providing students in rural parts of the state an opportunity to learn about careers and degrees in a variety of STEM disciplines, including Cybersecurity.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the program was held online, which Jon Ownby, curriculum development specialist at CYBER.ORG, said it gave him and his teaching team an opportunity to present additional information in real time. Also, it allowed attendees who normally would have to travel long distances the same experience without additional travel expenses. “The biggest advantage leading a virtual workshop such as this one is the ability to share a link that participants can simply click on to visit a page or resource,” he said. “This eliminates the wait time it typically takes as people try to type a link into their browser from a PowerPoint slide.”
Ownby said there are over a half million cyber related jobs currently waiting to be filled.
“Coupled with this growing workforce demand is the growth and implementation of technology within society and our personal lives,” he said. “Students need to be educated in the skills and practices that will not only keep themselves, their families, and communities safe but also introduce them to opportunities within the cyber workforce. The benefits reach beyond the classroom to potentially influence all parts of society.”
The entire experience was engaging and informative for participants, said Diane Madden, SciTEC associate director and CYBER.ORG professional development site coordinator. “The value in statewide collaboration and hands-on learning using the parallax robots through the session made the experience valuable for teachers, engaging and unique,” Madden said.
Tireka Cobb, LOSFA Director of Field Outreach Services and Project Director of Louisiana GEAR UP, said she was impressed with the content that was presented and the feedback from educators who attended, such as Casady Mcevoy, an English teacher at New Iberia Senior High School. Mcevoy said it was an invigorating experience and covered the basics and the ethics of cybersecurity and society.
“There were a few readings of Isaac Asimov's ‘I-Robot,’ which was welcomed and covered some of the ideals of cyber society,” Mceyoy said. “The PD gave some interesting activities to keep students involved that I think will have the student excited for the modern-day class.”
The second part of the workshop series will feature a STEM Safety Instruction professional development in partnership with the International Technology and Engineering Educators Association. This will be held mid-July, followed by a program on the importance of social and emotional learning, featuring Discovery Education resources and supports.
ABOUT CYBER.ORG AND SciTEC PARTNERSHIP
Louisiana Tech College of Education, SciTEC, and CYBER.ORG partnerships is extends well beyond the GEAR UP subgrant lead by the LOSFA. It also includes a four-course graduate cyber education certificate sequence taught by Dr. Chuck Gardner and offered through the Department of Curriculum, Instruction, and Leadership.