Spotlight On: CyberPatriot
CyberPatriot is an organization created by the Air Force Association (AFA) to inspire K-12 military children towards careers in the fields of cybersecurity, science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. They believe these disciplines are critical to our Nation’s future, and as such they offer several programs and initiatives aimed at helping children develop technical skills, expand critical thinking, and prepare for challenges of the future.
Teams of high school and middle school students compete as newly hired IT professionals. Through a series of online competition rounds, they are tasked with finding and fixing cybersecurity vulnerabilities. Winners receive an all-expenses-paid trip to the National Finals in Maryland.
There are two Air Force Association cyber camps open to K-12 students, both of which are intended to provide fun, hands-on learning of cybersecurity principles. The camps teach students everything from cybersecurity basics to more complex concepts related to specific software systems. Both camps culminate in a CyberPatriot competition where students put their new knowledge to the test. Registration for CyberPatriot Summer Camp 2021 is open until May 1st.
For Grades K-6, this initiative is comprised of three interactive learning modules which increase awareness of online safety and cyber security principles. Materials can be downloaded at no cost and can be used at home or in the classroom.
AFA’s CyberPatriot is publishing pre-K reader books centered around the topic of cybersecurity. Their first book, Sarah the Cyber Hero, was released in 2017.
The Senior Citizen’s Cyber Safety Initiative teaches older individuals about password hygiene, malware, marketing scams, and social media awareness. It also offers resources for victims of cyber scams. This is available as a self-paced course or in a workshop setting.