PD and a BRVGS Student Update

I have continued to work with Emily, my BRVGS student. We have continued to work on developing professional development lessons for teachers, and this will be our busiest month in terms of teaching other teachers.

Emily has continued to develop two more lessons to add to her original Passwords lesson. She’s developed one on scams and phishing, and another on creating a positive digital footprint. We have decided that three is a great number of lessons, and we’ll make sure that her teaching is done by the end of the first semester so that she can work on her portfolio and other final pieces for her senior project.

It has certainly been a pleasure to work with Emily for this project, and I’m really glad that I took her on as a student. She has had some really good ideas, and has worked hard to research and implement them. She’s gotten pretty good at considering her audience and how much she can cover within a 30 minute time period. She has learned to think about how the information is presented, and what her audience will need for takeaways. She’s also learned to modify and redesign her lessons for different age groups. She will be teaching her lesson on passwords to a couple of high school classes, and she has had to consider what to do for students versus what needs included for adults.

Emily has presented a few different sessions at this point, and she still finds herself being very nervous during these sessions. She wants to work on being more confident, but this takes a bit of time, and it can be really hard. It’s even harder when you’re teaching your teachers, and she’s doing a pretty good job at trying to overcome this. I’m not sure I could have done much better myself in high school if I were in her shoes. I was always the shy kid, and didn’t really become confident speaking in front of groups until my college communications course. It is something that takes time.

She has asked if I will share her lessons online like I have with the Passwords lesson, and I do plan to do so once we’ve had a chance to present and make any tweaks necessary. I’m also planning to add her lessons to my professional development repertoire and offer them to staff. One of her goals for her community service was to continue to spread the information after she has finished with her project. I am happy to continue her work.

Overall, so far this project has been very beneficial to us both, and I’m glad to help out. I will certainly miss working with her once the semester ends!

Student Designed Cyber Security PD for Teachers

For the past couple of weeks I have been working with a BRVGS student named Emily. Emily is a senior working on her final project for the governor’s school program, and one part of the project involves community service. She is interested in the cyber security field, and so her lead teacher suggested she team up with me, as I teach professional development to other teachers. Her goal for her service is to design and teach lessons on cyber security issues that teachers and others face online

I’ve been very pleased with the team up so far, as Emily is a very hard working student. I showed her how teachers begin to design and plan lessons, and she took to it like a fish to water. She decided the easiest thing to start with would be a lesson on passwords. She did a lot of research, and we narrowed down her ideas to teaching how to create password algorithms for a user. There are many different ways to create an algorithm for this, but Emily had found one that seemed to be pretty easy.

We planned and developed her lesson. She started with a hook that talked about what happens with easy passwords and how one person used this to his advantage with government servers. She has a link to a password strength test website where the audience can test the strength of their old passwords and see how long it might take a hacker to crack them. From there, she works with the audience to identify characteristics of good and bad passwords. With that in mind, she goes over the algorithm step by step, using the example of creating a password for a Google account. The audience then practices by creating a password with the algorithm for Facebook. Finally, she wraps up the lesson and asks a couple of exit questions.

Once she had all of her ideas out and in order, we worked on adding explanations. I wanted her lessons to be able to be understood by anyone looking over them, especially anyone who judges her final BRVGS portfolio. I created a simple lesson plan template for her to use, and she copied and pasted her lesson ideas into that so that things were neat and organized. She then decided to create a handout of the algorithm steps. I had to laminate a couple of copies for her teaching use, and then I also made plain copies so that teachers could take it with them.

It was a lot of work, and I hope she has been able to discover how much work can go into just one lesson plan. She’s enjoyed it though, and she’s ready to begin doing research for her next lesson. Now that she has one lesson plan under her belt, this one might turn out to be a little easier for her.

Though the lesson plan has been finished, Emily is not done just yet. She is gearing up to teach the lesson to teachers. She has practiced with family at home, and has brought a friend to my office space so I could listen as she taught the lesson to the friend. We currently have 1 teacher booked for a lesson in the next couple of weeks, and have some more to ask. Emily is planning to gather feedback from those teachers after each lesson, and I am giving them PD credit for helping out a student.

I hope to provide another update after we have worked with some of the teachers. I know Emily is going to do a great job. I know that I have already learned a lot from her, and I’m hoping other teachers will feel the same way.

Want Emily’s lesson? You can get it here!