Free virtual cybersecurity camps offered this summer

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Augusta University and the Department of Defense are offering two virtual, no-cost or reduced-cost computer science and cybersecurity camps for students this summer, and registration opens May 1.

Dr. Ashley Gess, assistant professor of STEAM education in the College of Education, alongside Dr. Michael Nowatkowski, associate professor with the School of Computer and Cyber Sciences, created an initiative called T3C: Building Teacher Confidence in Computer Science/Cybersecurity (CS/CY).

Area educators completing the computer science endorsement at Augusta University will be paired with P-12 colleagues who have already successfully completed certification in CS/CY and together, they will teach a week-long virtual computer science summer camp for students entering fourth through eighth grades in fall 2021.

Gess said the purpose of the camps are simple: to change the face of cyber careers.

“It’s about how to get students into that workforce and how to widen the diversity of who chooses to persist in these fields,” said Gess.

The kids’ computer science camp integrates certified teachers, linking their various content areas with computer science, cybersecurity and informational technology.

“They’re going to be using a micro: bit to tell their COVID story and they’re going to be coding. We’re going to be teaching some of the English language arts literacy standards as well as the computer science. We are going to be educating them on how to do that safely, which is the cybersecurity component,” said Gess.

There are two options for students to log on for synchronous instruction and they will also have asynchronous follow-up work.

“By taking the content and allowing students to apply the content through a design process toward applying it to a bigger problem, that’s real. That’s when we start getting more people interested in CS and CY,” said Gess.

The kids’ cyber camp this summer takes place June 28 through July 2. The cost is $10 per day along with a one-time fee of $17.95 for the micro: bit 2.0 GO Bundle. Students must have reliable internet access and a computer for instruction. Some scholarship opportunities are available.

To register, go here. For possible scholarship opportunities and any other questions, contact Dr. Ashley Gess.

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