Giving Compass' Take:

• The Wellington School in Columbus, Ohio provides an extracurricular cybersecurity program to help develop students' skills in project-based learning. 

• What are the key benefits of project-based learning, and how is this learning style promoting positive youth development? 

• Read about how classrooms can succeed with project-based learning. 

To maximize the benefits of computer science education, we should be looking for ways to bring it into authentic project based learning — but that is an undeniably tall order. One way is through data science. Another, it turns out, is through cybersecurity.

I recently had the chance to chat with Helen McConaghy, Technology Integration Specialist of The Wellington School (a K-12 school in Columbus, Ohio), who has spent this year building out a new extracurricular program focused on cybersecurity for her students, and has seen promising early results. She says the top five changes she has noticed are:

  • An ability to handle deadlines and pressure. At one point, for example, a computer wasn’t working that they needed to use, so she worked with a 5th grader to take RAM out of nearby machines to put together a new machine, then download software and get the project up and running.
  • The development of students’ collaboration skills. As students work together and rely on one another to complete the challenges, they develop important real-world skills.
  • New research skills, including how to discover and vet resources online.
  • Project management–the project makes them practice developing to-do lists of things they’ll need and keep updated notebooks to track changes (including documenting their code so their whole team stays in the loop, an important aspect of most real-world coding professions).
  • More confidence in exploring and working in the “cyberworld.”

Read the full article about cybersecurity, compsci and project based learning by Erik Day at Getting Smart.