(ShreveportTimes.com) The Cyber Innovation Center and its National Integrated Cyber Education Research Center rolled out their local Cyber Discovery education program this week, with the first outside-the-Ark-La-Tex efforts at the University of Baltimore.

About a dozen teachers and three dozen students are being immersed in the world of Science-Technology-Engineering-Math (STEM) and cyber education through an interactive, project-driven learning environment, a release from the CIC says.

In it, three core threads —engineering, cryptography and the liberal arts — converge. Other components include computer programming, cyber security, architecture, cyber ethics and technical writing.

“The CIC is very excited to have the opportunity to share Cyber Discovery with the University of Baltimore,” said G.B. Cazes, CIC vice president. “It’s not only the first step in our national rollout, but the beginning of a game-changing event in education for our nation.”

The Cyber Discovery Model was created in partnership with the CIC and Louisiana Tech University in 2008. Since then, the model has ignited students’ interest in STEM, the release says.

On Monday, six high school teams from the Baltimore area registered at the University of Baltimore’s campus for the first installment of Cyber Discovery.

Cyber Discovery is a dynamic professional development program that culminates in a weeklong, residential camp for teams of six students and two teachers from each participating schools.

The experience allows students to explore the world of cyberspace while teachers learn new techniques for engaging their students in STEM. The end result is preparing the next generation of cyber citizens.

“During the camp, students will understand the history of cyberspace, cryptography and cybersecurity, experience cyber applications and programs, discuss social and ethical implications of the field, explore cyber careers (and) gain an appreciation for the need for cybersecurity,” a release from the University of Baltimore says. “High school teachers participating in the camp have already received training and are actively recruiting and coaching their student teams.”

The teachers also will receive a stipend for their work, as well as funds for instructional materials.

Throughout the weeklong experience, students participate in a series of tasks that range from robotics challenges, a cryptographic treasure hunt, creative writing assignments, evening cyber film sessions and dynamic team discussions.

Each event is designed to prepare teams for the Final Cyber Challenge, the camp’s culminating event. The Baltimore Final Cyber Challenge on Saturday will include a large obstacle course complete with historic landmarks and a layout similar to a circuit board.

Teams will navigate the course while competing for scarce resources, symbolized by marbles, and return them safely to their customized cyber forts. The teams with the most marbles and total points from the week will be named the winners of Baltimore’s Cyber Discovery 2012.

The focus of Cyber Discovery is high school teachers, who took part in two professional development workshops led by university faculty before the weeklong camp.

The teachers then guide the students through the camp challenges. The collaborative partnerships between the high school teachers and university faculty and the camp experience empower the teachers to implement the Cyber Discovery lessons into their classrooms and, thus, affect students semester after semester, the CIC release said.

The model was created and developed in part through a $2.35 million grant award from the Department of Homeland Security.

“Cyber Discovery is truly a revolutionary education model,” said Dr. Brian Etheridge of the University of Baltimore. “Teachers are eager to learn how to engage their students in the classroom. It is amazing to see how excited and absorbed high school students become during this challenging week.”