NDIT announces online cybersecurity competition for middle, high school students

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Categories: COVID-19

North Dakota Chief Information Officer Shawn Riley today announced the availability of CyberPatriot, an online cybersecurity competition for middle and high school students. CyberPatriot is the National Youth Cyber Education Program created by the Air Force Association to inspire K-12 students toward careers in cybersecurity or other science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines critical to our nation's future. 

“North Dakota students can lead the nation in cybersecurity – one of the most in-demand skills globally,” said Chief Information Officer Shawn Riley. “CyberPatriot is part of our intentional approach to 21st century education and more than 40 public and private sector stakeholders are working together to advance the goal of Every Student. Every School. Cyber Educated.”

“Providing engaging, online learning experiences for our students is an important aspect of teaching 21st century skills, particularly during the current environment,” said State Superintendent Kirsten Baesler. “CyberPatriot is a wonderful opportunity for students to learn valuable skills in a fun environment and help North Dakota continue to develop the next generation of cybersecurity professionals.”

The competition, designed for any student regardless of prior cybersecurity knowledge, challenges teams to find and fix cybersecurity vulnerabilities in virtual operating systems. Using a proprietary competition system, teams are scored on how secure they make the system. Top teams advance through the online round of competition, and the best of the best advance to the in-person National Finals Competition. The competition includes a training round Sept. 9 – Oct. 5 and Oct. 7 – Nov. 6, with a registration deadline of Oct. 15.
 
NDIT will cover registration fees for up to 25 schools. Schools should contact Tony Aukland at aaukland@nd.gov for more information. Otherwise there is a $205 registration fee for high school teams and a $165 fee for middle school teams. Waivers are available for all-girl teams, Title I schools and Service Division JROTC/CAP/NSCC teams. Full program details can be found on the CyberPatriot website.

This is one of several computer science and cybersecurity-related programs offered throughout the year as key elements of North Dakota’s K-20W Initiative. North Dakota had the highest per capita participation in the SANS Institute’s Girls Go CyberStart program the last two years, with teams from Century, New Town, Fargo North, Red River, West Fargo, Sheyenne and Williston High Schools qualifying for the national championships in 2019. NDIT’s EduTech also offers computer science and cybersecurity professional development opportunities for K-12 educators. Related trainings include:

  • CYBER.ORG - September 17th
    Learn how CYBER.ORG empowers educators to teach cyber confidently through no cost curriculum, resulting in students with the skills and passion needed to succeed in the cyber workforce.
  • code.org - October 8th
    Find out about professional learning opportunities available for K-12 teachers to learn how to teach coding, coding concepts and about STEM careers. Learn about teacher credentials and computer science and cybersecurity standards implementation.

North Dakota’s K-20W Initiative is an award-winning, statewide approach to computer science and cybersecurity education. Learn more about the initiative here. And watch the video highlighting how North Dakota’s focus on STEAM education is helping students succeed in a 21st century global economy.

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