University of New Haven Offers Cybersecurity Training for High School Teachers

The GenCyber Teacher Academy will enable educators to promote online safety in their classrooms.

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A new program aims to enhance cyber security, starting in Connecticut. The GenCyber Teacher Academy at the University of New Haven will train high school teachers to promote online safety in their classrooms.

With so much of our lives tied to the digital world, there is a growing need to be cognizant of cyber security.

“The need arises from the popularity, the penetration of these computing devices that we carry, handle, manipulate day after day,” Dr. Mehdi Mekni, GenCyber Teacher Academy Program director and associate professor of computer science and cybersecurity, said.

Now, that is something that will be taught in Connecticut classrooms.

At the upcoming GenCyber Teacher Academy, 25 Connecticut high school teachers will learn how to inform their students about cybersecurity.

Mekni is overseeing the week-long camp.

“Interactive activities, labs, self-paced type of learning,” he said.

The program is funded by a $150,000 federal grant, and will run for the first time from Aug. 8 to 12.

“We would like them to be aware of, what does it mean a computer network? What are the threats that characterize that type of infrastructure,” Mekni said. “We would like to learn to teach them how to understand a computer program, how to write a computer program, and put themselves in the mindset of the hacker.”

The hands-on program geared toward educators with STEM backgrounds will include lesson plan design, lectures, labs and games.

Each teacher will also get a $1,500 stipend and a free Chromebook to take back to their classroom.

Mekni said the academy is the first step in a larger goal: meeting a rising need for highly-skilled cybersecurity professionals.

“When we invest on instructors, we're going to affect, impact, improve generation after generation, year after year,” he said.

The application for the program is open until May 1.

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