This past week the Cyber Innovation Center, through its National Integrated Cyber Education Research Center (NICERC) and Louisiana Tech University, piloted an exciting new program called Cyber Discovery 2.0. This week-long, educational program was sponsored by the Cyber Innovation Center through a recent grant from the Department of Homeland Security.

Cyber Discovery 2.0 builds upon the successful Cyber Discovery Model which was developed in 2008 and is now being rolled out nationwide. Unlike its predecessor, Cyber Discovery 2.0 is unique in that students experience events related to national intelligence on a dynamic and interactive level. The experience includes hands-on activities that incorporate investigative-analysis in a challenging and rapidly changing environment. Cyber Discovery 2.0 provides a contextual basis for the content and continues the approach of integrating liberal arts with science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines. The exciting new program was developed by a team of faculty that included representatives from Louisiana Tech University and NICERC.

Twenty students and ten teachers participated in the Cyber Discovery 2.0 pilot program The teachers from each school previously attended professional development workshops before leading their teams into the week-long challenge. The students who participated in Cyber Discovery 2.0 are rising juniors. Throughout the week teachers encouraged these twenty students to think critically and to discover their own potential.

Parkway High School teacher, Dale Bozeman, believes that, “Cyber Discovery 2.0 addresses fundamental keys in education such as creative problem solving, critical thinking analysis, and evaluation. Anytime you can put a kid in a situation where they have to stretch themselves, you are making a critical impact. You are building the kids’ confidence so that they can go into a situation and solve a problem and won’t be intimidated.”

Sarah Lawhorne, a student from Airline High School, said, “Cyber Discovery 2.0 is a very challenging program that requires a full team effort and high critical thinking skills which left all participants and myself with a higher knowledge of cyber technology. We learned how to better organize and analyze information and how to understand the impact of global matters and social networking to a larger extent in a very fun, hands-on way suitable for high school students. I feel privileged to have been able to participate in such a beneficial and engaging camp coordinated by such terrific professors.”

On Saturday, July 28, 2012, the students finished Cyber Discovery 2.0 by watching a fictional news broadcast that announced a national upheaval. Each team then briefed a panel of judges on how best to address the issues. After all the briefings were judged and scores tallied, El Dorado High School took home first place. Other participating high schools included Airline, Benton, Parkway, and Ruston.