Two Kennesaw State University professors, Joy Li and Yan Huang, have teamed up to create virtual reality games to help elementary school students learn the basics of cybersecurity. They believe that the combination of video games and learning will lead to highly engaged students because video games are so popular with children. The virtual reality games will require players to demonstrate their knowledge in cybersecurity to progress in the game.
“Our aim is to take concepts that are otherwise very complex for students and put them in a format that is much simpler for them to understand,” said Huang, who is a professor in the College of Computing and Software Engineering at Kennesaw State, “This delivery method also allows us to continue refining our lesson plans to ensure they are accessible to students regardless of background and are effective in teaching them about cybersecurity.”
When the player puts on the VR headset, they are taken to the “Cybersecurity Park” where they can explore six different areas that cover cybersecurity topics including ransomware, hacking, and phishing. Each area has a unique game that is based on one of the topics. For example, the phishing topic has a fishing game, and the ransomware topic has a medieval castle that the player must defend from enemies disguised as knights.
“Cybersecurity is not yet an official part of school curriculums, yet we are living in an increasingly digital world,” Li said. “This presented us a wonderful opportunity to make an impact on education by using games, which has become one of the most efficient ways to grab their attention. On a secondary level, we hope that this kind of exposure will encourage kids to pursue careers in cybersecurity.”
Only four of the six modules are currently available to play, but Kennesaw State students will have the last two modules completed soon. Once they are done, the game will be released free of charge for any elementary school student or teacher who want to develop valuable cybersecurity skills.