Introducing Data Science-Cybersecurity Concepts to High School STEM Teachers during an Intensive Six Week Summer Research Experience
Abstract: The Western Texas – Research Experience for Teachers was a National Science Foundation (NSF) funded program to introduce data science and its application in cybersecurity concepts to high school STEM teachers in the region with the fundamental goal of integrating those concepts into their respective curriculum. The group was comprised of 11 teachers, five females and six males represented in all high school STEM classes. A team of six professors led the group – with three from Computer Science and three from Education. The professors were assisted by five graduate students – two from Computer Science and three from Education. The Computer Science professors taught, demonstrated and broke down the complex concepts in ways that were accessible to the teachers. The teachers demonstrated a deep understanding of the scientific concepts by developing research projects and integration of the learned concepts into pedagogically sound strategies in their respective units and lesson plans. The process of how the material was covered was documented through naturalistic qualitative observations, analysis of teachers’ research projects and the adapted units and lesson plans. Preliminary data is indicative of teacher enthusiasm, adaptability and efficacy in equipping their students with adequate skills in cybersecurity integrated in the existing curriculum.