K12 Cybersecurity Projects/Initiatives

NCAE-C Cybersecurity Credit Transfer Agreement Development Initiative (09/2022-09/2024, H98230-22-0329)

This is an NCAE-C K12 cybersecurity Initiative which will collect status information about the current K12 cybersecurity education credit transfer and will develop virtual workshops to promote the cybersecurity credit transfer agreement development between K-12 schools and the NCAE-C Designated colleges and universities.

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Educational Cybersecurity Games

Web browser-based educational games covering all aspects of cybersecurity.

Captain Cryptobeard has sent you on a quest to uncover his treasure. Flex your deduction skills to uncover tools and clues across the islands, then use your cipher slider to uncover the treasure’s key. Students will learn how to use cipher encoding and decoding tools in a fun, exploration-focused environment.

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A short text adventure starring the computer whiz Alex. As a programming student, Alex encounters many ethical dilemmas relating to cybersecurity. Help him make decisions that reflect an ethical handling of personal and professional data.

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An expanded point-and-click version of the Ethics game. Visit locations around Alex’s town, collecting trinkets from a scavenger list along the way. Answer cybersecurity ethics questions hidden in special object events.

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A corrupt wizard has poisoned the kingdom’s water supply: You must infiltrate their castle and recover the poison antidote. Play through 7 different gameplay events, including resource collection, stealth, and puzzle-solving. Each section reflects concepts from the Adversary Thinking attack procedures.

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Join the Data Delivery Agents, and help mail data packets around the city. Navigate your agent’s car between network hops in tile-building puzzles. Learn about the way network-enabled devices connect with each other from Ebi’s helpful slideshows.

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Headquarter 526 manages confidential information across their teams. Learn about principles of confidentiality, integrity and availability across this top-down adventure game. Stop suspicious adversaries in RPG-style battle modes.

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You are a new visitor at System City: The civilization inside your computer. Platform your way across the city’s various locales; help the city’s residents keep their hardware and software updated in puzzle gameplay sections. Use safe reboot procedures to stop a dangerous virus attack.

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A city-builder game where you play as the cat island’s mayor. Build houses and government buildings, pave roadways, and use your money to decorate the island. During cybersecurity events, you must pass laws affecting your island’s safety, privacy, and finances.

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A role-playing adventure game involving risk assessment. As the Lieutenant of the S.S. Fossil spacecraft, you must make decisions to keep your team safe from dangerous asteroid fields and out-of-control AI. Consult with your crewmates, and assign them to tasks that best reflect their skills.

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NSF SFS Capacity Building Project (2017-2022, DGE1723666)

This project (2017-2022) will develop course curriculum modules, including virtual reality 3-dimensional games, robotic programming games, and practical labs based on simulated cases, for cybersecurity teaching in high school classrooms and extracurricular activities. The goal is to broaden participation in the cybersecurity workforce and give high school students awareness of future education pathways.

Summary Results

  • By June 30, 2018, data was collected from a total of 23 states regarding the elective cybersecurity course offerings. A total of 173 districts reviewed, only 15 offered a cybersecurity course. In contrast, a higher ratio (12 out of15 districts) offered a course in metropolitan areas studied (population of 500,000 or more).
  • A survey was developed in January 2018 and distributed to high school teachers with 214 respondents.
    • The Respondents indicated high levels of interest in the use of 3D games and additional topics noted by teachers as useful for their curriculum include stenography, cryptography, networking and server administration, ethical use of technology, web development, digital citizenship.
    • Many teachers do not have the ability to install new software or add new equipment.
    • Many schools do have devices available, often at a 1:1 ratio, and the mix is nearly equal between Windows, Apple, and Chrome-based operating systems. This indicates that the products under development must be both platform-agnostic and easy to access via the Web, rather than available only through the download and installation of software.
    • 207 out of 214 respondents (97%) agreed with the prompt, “I would like to learn more about cybersecurity.” Cybersecurity topics were all rated as something teachers would be interested or very interested in using in their classrooms
  • There were over 60 cybersecurity modules developed and hosted on a website in four areas:
  1. robotics programming,
  2. downloadable games,
  3. ethical hacking and
  4. cyber forensics labs.


  • Dissemination of materials has successfully happened through a variety of forums including conference presentations, GenCyber camps for teachers and students as well as other disseminating venues.
  • Project activities have led to seven conference presentations and material has been represented in six journal publications

K12 Cybersecurity Curriculum Material

To request access to download the GenCyber summer program material: Please contact Kyle Riordan at kriorda at pnw dot edu

To request access to the K12 Cybersecurity Labs: Please contact Kyle Riordan at kriorda at pnw dot edu
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