By Devin PartidaPhoto by Dan Nelson on Unsplash
Curricula must shift for educators to create a well-informed next generation of cybersecurity analysts. Though robotics is an umbrella containing many branches, K-12 teachers can use robotics to teach cybersecurity more effectively than other subjects.
Why Teaching Cybersecurity is Essential With Robotics
Every societal shift causes an influx of cybersecurity risks, including economic distress and natural disasters. The opportunities for cybercriminals only increase as desperation and vulnerability increase.
Preparing K-12 students in their robotics courses now will give them an advantage as educated professionals and vital figures in the cybersecurity world. With over 3.5 million jobs in the cybersecurity sector expected to open by 2025, the demand is high.
No topic is too complex or too simple, as educators can adjust for the grade. Robotics could introduce students to related cybersecurity topics, such as:
- Hacking and its ethics
- Security awareness
- Computer science foundations
Ever since the pandemic, the world is becoming even more technologically reliant. The workplace and education system has digitized. Schools need to prepare students for potential jobs in cybersecurity and assert how robotics will help every job, regardless of field. They could instruct how robotics can automate processes such as surveying safety compliance for improved cybersecurity and give them expectations for future training.
How to Implement Robotics and Cybersecurity in Curricula
The digital world is intangible, especially when students don’t face the implications of poor cybersecurity practices as part of their lessons. It’s crucial to make education as tactile as possible. With robotics, doing so is as easy as bringing in some hands-on technology.
Many robots on the market — including Zenbo and Sphero — act as teaching aids for young kids. These have pre-installed objectives for students of any age to have fun while learning cybersecurity. The bots can teach anything from internet basics to password management.
Budgets withstanding, teachers could purchase resources and task students with projects to assemble robots — making them engage in cybersecurity concepts first-hand.
Travis Smith at Tripwire did this to engage high school interns to interact with robots by creating a Wi-Fi-controlled car with a Raspberry Pi and a smart video car kit. Doing this allowed the interns to observe network traffic, learn how to break into and connect to the car’s controls and create defenses for it with strong passwords and encryption.
Vanderbilt also conducted a study on students learning cybersecurity through robotics. Throughout a weeklong camp, children confronted cybersecurity topics and hands-on assignments. This experience proved to help students with lower prior knowledge catch up to advanced ones and encouraged engagement with more complex concepts throughout the course. All of this happened because of robotic implementation.
How the World Can Change
Teaching cybersecurity with robotics will construct a widespread awareness that cybersecurity threats exclude no one — everyone using technology is a potential target. The more educators share this fact, the more commonplace the knowledge will be for upcoming generations to adapt to even more significant technological developments.
Using robotics education to teach cybersecurity also dissolves expectations. This field is for people of all ages and skill levels, not just adult professionals. Cybersecurity is inclusive regardless of demographics.
Greater acceptance brings more motivated and empowered individuals into workplaces and college classrooms worldwide. Thus, schools and workplaces could see increased protection in the future if teachers prime workers to know what phishing scams and ransomware look like.
It also helps create a safer human population, as good cybersecurity practices affect everyone with access in all parts of life — personal, professional and educational. It teaches essential yet simple techniques, such as:
- Avoiding sharing personal information.
- Being careful what websites you click on and what you download.
- Knowing about camfecting and other ways hackers can manipulate tech.
- Using secure connections.
- Teaching password and privacy practices.
- Backing up your data in protected places.
Utilizing robotics in education for a wider spread of cybersecurity knowledge can increase student engagement and preparedness for the professional world.
Educating for a Safer Technological World
It is essential to provide accurate reflections of the world's technological threats when students exit a traditional school setting. With robotics, young minds will be ready to tackle the challenges even as they adapt and change long after they graduate.
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