Thursday, January 4, 2024

U.S. Department of Education invites UTSA and Alan CyBear to teach kids about cybersecurity

U.S. Department of Education invites UTSA and Alan CyBear to teach kids about cybersecurity

SEPTEMBER 21, 2023 — The UTSA Center for Infrastructure Assurance and Security (CIAS) is in Washington, D.C. this week to demonstrate its cybersecurity programs and engage audiences with Alan CyBear, a mascot encouraging everyone to be responsible for cybersecurity. Faculty and staff from the CIAS are attending the 9th Annual ED Games Expo, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education.

The Expo, held at the Kennedy Center, is an annual public showcase of game-changing forms of education technology. This year, the event is featuring more than 50 programs advanced by the U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences and across government. The CIAS’ K-12 cybersecurity program is supported by the Air & Space Outreach program.

The CIAS K-12 Cybersecurity Program provides an innovative approach to improving cyber hygiene and expanding student interest in STEM education, specifically cybersecurity. This initiative exposes K-12 students to cybersecurity education and possible career paths in this discipline.


“Through education, research and community programs, the CIAS is committed to making our world more cyber secure.”



“We are thrilled to have been invited to participate in the ED Games Expo this year,” said Larry Sjelin, CIAS director of game development. “The CIAS has long been committed to fostering a culture of cybersecurity among K-12 youth, and this event supports this effort. The Expo engages all grade levels, and we’ll be able to educate young learners on the importance of good cyber hygiene while also introducing them to cybersecurity careers with our fun and engaging card games.”

The CIAS is demonstrating its three card games at the Expo: Cyber Threat Guardian (grades K-2), Cyber Threat Protector (grades 3-5) and Cyber Threat Defender (grade 6-12+). The card games are designed to teach school-aged children and teens about cybersecurity principles while also demonstrating that cybersecurity careers are exciting and accessible.

A primary objective of the ED Games Expo is to provide students and educators a rich experience to try out emerging educational technology while meeting face-to-face with the developers. This enables developers to connect to and hear from industry partners, researchers and other key stakeholders.

The Department of Education also extended an invitation to Alan CyBearTM, who encourages audiences nationwide to develop a culture of cybersecurity. Alan CyBear helped organizers kick off the public portion of the summit, the ED Games Expo for the Public, along with Theo and Cleo from Between the Lions and PBS Kids.

“Through education, research and community programs, the CIAS is committed to making our world more cyber secure,” added Sjelin. “Having this opportunity to engage the Department of Education, teachers and a variety of audiences with Alan CyBear and share our full K-12 cybersecurity program shows that UTSA is a leader in this space.”

In addition to the Expo’s many in-person events at the Kennedy Center, CIAS Engagement Manager Julina Macy is participating in a showcase to discuss innovations in cyber learning. As a panelist, Macy will explore new educational trends in cybersecurity and reaffirm the need for cybersecurity awareness in the educational technology space.

The UTSA Center for Infrastructure Assurance and Security (CIAS) is a national leader in the advancement of state and community cybersecurity capabilities and collaboration. These efforts are seen in the CIAS’ focus areas of cyber defense competitions, cybersecurity training and exercises, and educational game development.


EXPLORE FURTHER
Learn more about the CIAS.
⇒ Explore the organization’s K-12 Cybersecurity Education programs.

The CIAS is also a founding member of the National Cybersecurity Preparedness Consortium, which provides research-based, cybersecurity-related training, exercises and technical assistance to local jurisdictions, counties, states and the private sector.

UTSA is the only Hispanic Serving Institution to hold three National Center of Excellence designations from the NSA and the Department of Homeland Security.

Julina Macy



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UTSA Today is produced by University Communications and Marketing, the official news source of The University of Texas at San Antonio. Send your feedback to news@utsa.edu. Keep up-to-date on UTSA news by visiting UTSA Today. Connect with UTSA online at Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and Instagram.


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