In today’s data-packed world, cyber security has become one of the top concerns. Everywhere from your local school system to big data servers used to hold government information are impacted by cyber security protocols.
Likewise, teachers and schools both have started to ensure kids start learning about cyber security from a young age. However, cyber security is by no means an easy topic, and teachers are increasingly relying on expert help to cover the topic.
But, what are the best cyber security lesson plan resources to cover this subject? Below, we’ll cover not only what you should look for in these sorts of resources, but who the best providers are!
What Is Cyber Security?
Cyber security is a fundamental digital system and concept about managing a computer’s system and network to protect it from data theft and corruption. To understand this better, let’s look at some common functionalities found in your typical cyber security software:
- It can automate several cyber security tasks like data cleaning (to check data for viruses). Additionally, it can automatically complete updates for the computer system, saving you time.
- It scans for potential cyber threats in real time and alerts you when it finds one. In addition, it provides you with the best course of action.
- It has multiple layers of protection for computer systems, including excellent encryption systems.
While cyber security is often hidden behind a veil and not on the forefront of people’s minds, it has vast implications for the safety of our data. It’s also an incredibly, incredibly complex topic. As such, lesson plan resources have become vital for technology teachers regardless of their personal skill level.
What Should Educators Want From A Cyber Security Resource Provider?
Educators of any kind should know what they want from a cyber security resource before choosing a provider. There are many qualities that a cyber security lesson plan provider should focus on when designing their teaching resources.
Here are the elements educators should want in these specific cases.
They Should Want One Or More Introductory Cyber Security Course
Cyber security is a complex web of concepts, automated features, and valuable tools, so learning it isn’t easy. Additionally, there are many types of cyber security topics to explore that cover everything from individual computers to humongous company networks.
For these reasons, cyber security teaching resource providers must offer an excellent introductory course.
An entry-level course on cyber security should give a broad overview of its uses and impacts. Additionally, it should have a clear structure and not be too long. Again, cyber security is a complex topic, and even adults need to be broken in to these topics slowly in order to be able to absorb them.
They Should Include Accurate Cyber Security Teachings
Unsurprisingly, the worst thing that a cyber security lesson resource provider can be is inaccurate. Providing students with the wrong foundations basically guarantees that they won’t be able to understand more complex aspects of the topic.
The easiest way to make cyber security teaching accurate is to follow a strict curriculum standard. When a cyber security teaching resource provider does this, it ensures that they complete detailed teaching objectives that have been reviewed and identified by large organizations. It also ensures they’re teaching the information in a way that works with their student’s skill levles.
They Should Demonstrate What It’s Like To Use A Cyber Security
The final thing educators should look for in cyber security teaching resources is interactive elements. These will give students an idea of what it is like to use cyber security in practice.
These interactive elements can, of course, come in many forms. However, the key here is that it takes the subject beyond theory. Once students see cyber security in action, it’s much easier for them to explore related topics as well – such as the societal impact cyber security has on everyday life.
What Are The Best Resource Types For Cyber Security Software?
When you know what you want from a cyber security software teaching resource, you need to shop around and find the best and most popular lesson plan resources. To help you get a start on your cyber security teaching resource research, we’ve listed out the “types” of resources you should be looking for along with the criteria mentioned above.
Entry-level courses are a brilliant way to introduce students to cyber security. They are optimized to assume that students have zero knowledge about cyber security’s existence. It also saves you the time from having to put together a lesson plan yourself.
These courses should aim to do a few things. First, of course, is to define what cyber security is. Even if it’s dreaded, students need to explore these core ideas in theory before they can explore other topics.
Next, and probably equally important, is they should explore the “why” of cyber security. Instilling students with the importance of why cyber security is even “a thing” will help get them invested. Once they know the dangers and implications vulnerable data has, the more they’ll want to understand how to protect themselves.
As a note, it doesn’t hurt if these courses cover a bit about computers as well.
Cyber Security Courses On Specific Topics
After students know what cyber security is and grasp why they should care, it’s time to focus on specific topics. At this point, it really depends on what you as a teacher want to cover. That being said, we do still recommend courses here, as it ensures you can get industry experts explaining the topics.
There are a lot of topics to explore, from computer viruses to internet protocols and encryption. With these courses, though, the important thing is to make sure they cover one topic at a time. As mentioned several times already, cyber security is a complex topic, so students really need focused attention on one topic at a time.
On that note, though, make sure you match the topic to the student level. In other words, Year 3 probably isn’t ready to dive into encryption.
Just to example in this case, we want to take a look at Zenva Schools’ course Managing Data in Networked Systems.
While cyber security is not the main focus of this course, it does do one thing very right: it focuses specifically on encryption in a high school-friendly manner. As part of this, the course provides an interactive activity that even provides a demonstration of how encrypted data is transferred across a network and decrypted.
What Are The Lesson Plan Resource Providers With The Highest-quality Cyber Security Teaching Resources?
Because cyber security is a relatively new subject in schools, the number of teaching resources for it is growing significantly. Therefore, many popular teaching resource providers offer competitive products like detailed cyber security courses.
However, which one of these is the top solution? We will show you some of the leading cyber security lesson plan resource providers that can help your teaching efforts.
Udemy is an online video course provider. On the platform, individuals can purchase courses on just about everything – from cooking to 3D modeling.
As such, it should be no surprise Udemy has tons of content on cyber security. In particular, there is a huge focus on beginner-level content suitable for younger learners. However, for more advanced students, there is also a lot of topic-specific content to uncover.
As a bonus, there are numerous teachers on Udemy since anyone can make a course. So, you can pick and choose the course that works best in your classroom.
This being said, keep in mind two things. First, Udemy is a consumer platform before it is a platform for schools. Thus, teacher tools are kind of limited. Second, the choice of teachers also means quality varies – which also means you’re going to have to shop around and spend time on that.
Simplilearn is another online course provider – this time with a huge focus on providing courses for job training. As part of their collection, they have a large library of cybersecurity-focused content.
Whereas Udemy was mostly beginner-level oriented, Simplilearn offers a comprehensive set on the entire cyber security suite. This includes basic introduction level content all the way to certification preparation. They also partner with various companies and universities to ensure their courses are useful for professionals.
On the other hand, though, do keep in mind this is mainly aimed at college students and adults. While K12 schools can certainly still find use for them with their beginner courses, they are simply not the target audience.
Last but not least, we want to add Zenva Schools into this mix. Zenva Schools is a course provider aimed at K-12 schools specifically.
Now, to be upfront, Zenva Schools does not have content specifically focused on cyber security. What they do offer, however, is a collection of courses on digital systems and how they impact our lives. As part of these courses, Zenva Schools does cover elements of cyber security, so students can learn about computers and cyber security at the same time.
It is also worth noting that Zenva Schools has some other standout features compared to others on this list. First, since they were geared towards schools, courses are specifically aligned to the Australian Digital Technologies curriculum and several US-based curricula as well.
Second, Zenva Schools provides a lot of features for teachers. This includes classroom management, pre-mapped lesson plans, and reports on student progress. Thus, it is very easy to incorporate any of their courses into a teaching plan.
What Is The Best Cyber Security Lesson Plan Resource Provider, And Will That Change?
Overall, the best resource provider will depend a bit on your situation. Everyone offers something a little different in the realm of cyber security, so do your research first.
However, do make sure to consider Zenva Schools. While it doesn’t have the focus on cyber security like the other providers on our list, it offers material matched to actual curriculum standards. With a huge course collection and teaching tools to boot, it’s a very good resource to consider even if you have to use other supplements as well.
In the end though, cyber security is a monumentally important topic to cover, so don’t miss out.
If you’re from a K12 school and want to try out our platform, fill out the form below.
We’ll organize a free trial so you can test it out with your students in class!