One of the Cyber Innovation Center’s primary missions is to develop a sustainable knowledge-based workforce that can support the growing needs of government, industry, and academia. In 2010, the Cyber Innovation Center created the National Integrated Cyber Education Research Center (NICERC) to advance its academic outreach and workforce development programs across the nation. Click here to learn more.
NICERC works with its partners to design project-driven, application-based curricula that engages students across primary, secondary, and post-secondary grade levels. The Department of Homeland Security has identified NICERC as the national model for cyber education thus allows for the free distribution of content and curricula. The robust library of curricula, The Cyber Interstate, contains numerous full-year, K-12 courses that are modular in form and hands-on. This design provides teachers and school systems with a rigorous program that showcases a systems-level understanding of real-world applications of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and cyber. In addition, this context-based approach to STEM incorporates components of liberal arts, allowing teachers to embed the curricula across multiple disciplines
In addition to curricula and professional development workshops, NICERC has also developed a series of informal education opportunities that include camps and competitions. These events also incorporate professional development for teachers and a dynamic learning environment for students. Camps include Junior Cyber Discovery, Cyber Discovery and Analysis & Investigation through Cyber-Based Scenarios (AICS) Camps. The Regional Autonomous Robotics Circuit (RARC) is a local and national series of competitions throughout the academic year that provides a fun, competitive learning environment that reinforces lessons being taught in the daily classroom. Finally, student events, called Cyber Days offer students an opportunity to be immersed into the world of cyber through fun, hands-on activities that generate awareness and create interest in cyber education and cyber career opportunities.
NICERC believes that teachers are the key to systemic and sustainable change in education. In order to create a 21st century learning environment, teachers must have the resources and professional development to begin making the shift from the classroom of yesterday to the classroom of tomorrow. NICERC’s programs focus on the professional development of teachers so they can engage their students in transformative ways – preparing them to become the next generation of engineers and cyber professionals.