Want to teach impactful cybersecurity education in your classroom?
Learn the top tips for teaching cybersecurity to your students this Cybersecurity Awareness Month.
It can be challenging to teach accessible, fun cybersecurity lessons, especially when you lack time or experience in the subject.
That’s why, this Cybersecurity Awareness Month, we’ve made it EASY.
Check out our five tips for teaching cybersecurity in your classroom, both in Cybersecurity Awareness Month, and beyond!
1. Establish cybersecurity best practices
A sensible first step when teaching cybersecurity is to introduce some cybersecurity best practices.
Cybersecurity best practices include:
- Avoid sharing sensitive data publicly.
- Create secure passwords and consider using a password manager.
- Don’t open links from untrustworthy sources.
- Update digital systems with the latest software.
You can easily turn this into a lesson activity! Split your class into groups with sticky notes and see who can come up with the most ideas. This will let them share their knowledge of cybersecurity best practices before diving further into the topic.
2. Introduce practical cybersecurity lessons
When it comes to teaching cybersecurity, the theory will only get your students so far. In the real world, cybersecurity is a hands-on subject.
“Specific to cybersecurity, an integral piece of any training is the opportunity to work in an interactive hands-on environment.” - cybintosolutions
Let your students put the theory into practice by trying some fun cybersecurity activities. Here is an idea to get you started!
Cryptography lesson plan
- Introduce cryptography methods to your students like Caesar or Arnold ciphers. A quick internet search will give you more information about these ciphers.
- Ask your students to create their own secret alphabets or use an existing one.
- Encourage your students to write out some secret messages using their chosen code and see if their classmates can crack them.
You can also try this free code-cracking challenge in CyberStart when you register today.
3. Promote inclusivity around learning cybersecurity
Simply uttering “cybersecurity” in your class may put some of your students off straight away. But who can blame them when we introduce complex subjects through dry theory?
Getting every student interested in learning cybersecurity requires making the topic accessible to everyone’s learning styles.
Try these teaching methods in your classroom to get everyone interested in learning cybersecurity.
Capture the Flag competitions
Capture the flag (CTF) competitions are fun ways to build your students’ practical cybersecurity skills and create engagement.
Many CTF competitions run throughout the year such as picoCTF or CyberStart America in the US. You can also run your own mini CTF whenever you choose with CyberStart Groups.
- Register your class with CyberStart.
- Add all your students to a Group.
- Set a timer, then challenge your class to score as many points in the CyberStart challenges as they can.
- You can play too and get your students to try and beat your score.
Educational videos are an entertaining way to break up theoretical learning and are great for keeping your class engaged.
Places to find free educational cybersecurity videos:
- On Youtube channels like My CS and Network Chuck
- In CyberStart’s Field Manual
- On LinkedIn Learning
4. Focus on student empowerment, not fear
The thought of cyber criminals and digital threats can create anxiety or fear among some people. To combat fear and create student empowerment, try these tips!
- When discussing a specific cyber attack, walk your students through the steps that could be taken to prevent it.
- Make your students aware of how cyber skills can help keep them safe in this new digital world.
- Encourage your students to learn the ethical side of hacking and how it can be a valuable tool for uncovering software vulnerabilities and keeping safe online.
“At first I was disinterested because I only knew cybersecurity was related to hacking, which at the time I found super creepy. Now that I have started CyberStart, I have learned so much about cybersecurity, how to keep yourself safe online, as well as what not to do for your company’s security.” - CyberStart player
5. Use gamified cybersecurity learning platforms
When teaching a complex topic like cybersecurity, gamified learning can help promote engagement around the subject.
Gamifying cybersecurity lessons also give your students empowering practical skills that they wouldn’t learn in a textbook.
70% of teachers in one survey said they saw increased student engagement when using educational video games.
There are many gamified cybersecurity platforms to try online. CyberStart offers 200+ gamified cyber security challenges where students can learn programming, digital forensics, password security and many more hands-on skills while catching cyber criminals across a thrilling storyline.
Get ready to introduce cybersecurity lessons that will engage and enthuse your students beyond expectation. Access some free cybersecurity lessons, challenges and resources by signing up for your free CyberStart account!