June 14, 2015
June 14, 2015
June 17, 2015
K-12 & Pre-College Engineering
26.54.1 - 26.54.6
A Hands-On Approach to Develop Student Engineering Skills and Introduce Cybersecurity Concepts to K-12 StudentsWithout a doubt, today’s generation is one driven by computer-based technologies. Thevast majority of students uses computers and mobile devices on a daily basis andregularly posts on social media sites. As computer-related fields continue to grow, afuture job market rich in technology-based careers seems inevitable. At the same time, aspersonal and sensitive data is increasingly stored online, the task of protecting thisinformation represents another already-flourishing career field certain to grow in thecoming years. While many students can efficiently operate computers and mobile devices,most of these same students view computers as a sort of “black box” system, with littleunderstanding of the inner workings of a computer. Consequently, students frequentlytake for granted the security of the information they store or post online. To encouragestudents to pursue engineering-type career paths well represented in the job market, thispaper will discuss a set of lessons developed for high school students to introduce basiccomputer science principles, as well as the concept of cybersecurity.Our NSF-funded program pairs University graduate students with area high schoolteachers in an effort to encourage high school students to pursue careers in the STEM(Science, Technology, Math, and Engineering) fields. To accomplish this, curriculum isdeveloped by the teacher and graduate student, and based around the 14 EngineeringGrand Challenges set forth by the National Academy of Engineering. Through eachlesson, students are introduced to real-life applications of the skills they are learning inthe classroom and given an opportunity to practice those skills in a real-life setting.This study was conducted at a local high school, with 12th grade students in the secondyear of a 2-year Design Technology course. Throughout the course of the year, studentsparticipate in a series of hands-on activities relating to computer technologies andcybersecurity, including case studies, small group projects, and class discussions.Students conduct surveys of their peers and construct infographic displays illustratingcybersecurity-related data, such as average password length. At the same time, studentsbegin building basic circuits, and using Arduino microcontrollers accomplish simpletasks, such as causing a single LED light to blink at a defined rate. The year culminatesin the design and creation of Arduino-based biomimetic devices for user identification,where students apply their new computer programming and circuitry skills to buildfingerprint scanner devices. Student learning, as well as any changes in projected careerpaths, is assessed by pre- and post-surveys. The authors anticipate that the collected datawill show an increased student interest in pursuing STEM careers, as well as knowledgeregarding project-related material. If successful, this project could be applied in publichigh schools to teach students about computer programming and circuitry, and toencourage students to consider STEM and cybersecurity-related career paths.
Shultz, R., & Ueda, D. E., & Ward, J. S., & Fontecchio, A. K. (2015, June), A Hands-On, Arduino-Based Approach to Develop Student Engineering Skills and Introduce Cybersecurity Concepts to K-12 Students Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.23395
ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2015 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015