In today’s world I am sure I don’t need to point out how important cyber security is and it will be even more central in the future. Understanding how to protect both your financial and personal data is vital for all pupils and not just those interested in a career in computing. As a Computing Science teacher it is therefore my duty to ensure I do all I can to have the next generation as prepared as possible.
So that I can give the skills needed for all levels, I realised I needed to have a good understanding of language and skills around cyber security as well as having up to date course material. This would then allow me to both develop a curriculum to suit all BGE pupils as well those interested in Cyber Security as a career.
I have been attempting to introduce the National Progression Award in Cyber Security to senior pupils over the last couple of years. I attended various SQA courses and seminars, I read all the material and I did some online courses from other providers. This all gave me some confidence but I still never quite felt able to have real discussions or importantly problem solve when inevitably things go wrong. I still spent most of my time responding to pupils with “let me go find out” and start asking colleagues and web searching.
When I was offered the chance to do the Ethical Hacking Module with Abertay University I jumped at the chance.
For the first couple of weeks I felt completely out of my depth but I re-watched lectures, re-attempted the practical work and in the weeks following I was feeling confident in at least discussing topics with the NPA students using the industry language and giving them anecdotes that I wouldn’t have previously.
The course was clearly designed to align with the NPA and this meant that the same issues I came across are likely to be those that the pupils might also find challenging. Although I am far from being a cyber security expert, I now have much more confidence and the increased skills needed to support pupils who will go on to specialise. I have been able to bring to BGE classes a new ethical hacking and data security topic added to S2.
If you are a Computing Science teacher, whether presenting pupils to NPA Cyber Security or not, I would recommend taking the chance to do this course if offered.
Computing Science Teacher, Stirling High School (SHS Computing (@SHS_CompSci)