Cultivating Elementary Students’ Interest in Cryptography and Cybersecurity

Xu, Z., Koh, R., Antonenko, P., Dawson, K., Bhunia, S., Benedict, A. (2019). Cultivating elementary students’ interest in cryptography and cybersecurity. Presented at the 2019 Conference of the UF Nelms Institute for Connected Worlds, Gainesville, FL.

This poster provides an overview of the CryptoComics project. Specifically it addresses the following aspects:
• Cryptography is the foundation of cybersecurity (Paar & Penzl, 2010).
• Skills underlying the basic encrypting and decrypting practices in classic cryptography requires a fundamental understanding, awareness, and sensitivity in making sense of language, while more recently, mathematical algorithms (Swenson, 2008).
• Encrypting and decrypting practices in classic cryptography parallel the skills children must develop to gain morphological awareness and become successful readers, writers, and symbolic analysts.
• Morphological awareness is the recognition, understanding, and use of word parts, or morphemes, that carry significance – a critically important but often overlooked component of K-12 education (Henbest & Apel, 2017).
• Morphological awareness helps students become successful readers, writers, and symbolic analysts (Reich, 1992).
• Connecting cryptography and morphological awareness in K-12 education would serve as a new, exciting, and societally important context for improving morphological skills, awareness and knowledge of cybersecurity, and development of identity in STEM.