Cybersecurity Lab is a simulation from the Public Broadcast System’s (PBS) Nova Labs. Signing up for the simulation, the player becomes the head of IT for a new social networking website. The player’s primary job is to keep the website free from crippling internet attacks. This task is not easy as outside hackers, botnets, and an internal company mole attempt to pilfer information or otherwise disrupt the start-up’s service. Yes, it is a game. Yes, it is highly educational.
Through this simulation, students are introduced to the world of cybersecurity. Specifically, they learn how to make robust passwords (and why), how to spot “phising” attacks (drawn from actual examples), how to recognize the types of viruses, exploits, and attacks in the world today, and even get a fine introduction into the Scratch visual programing language.
There is robust teacher support in the form of an Educator’s Guide. Objectives, a lesson plan, and extension activities are well thought out and engaging. Really, the simulation sells itself. Your kids will enjoy it and thank you for assigning it.
This simulation is perfect for any Computer Science class. It is also fun to play as a “stand-alone” for kids who are interested in computers or cybersecurity.
Do I plan to use it?
Cybersecurity Lab is one of the best educational games I’ve found in terms of time played (under an hour, engagement, and learning. Yes, I already used this simulation as a weekend homework assignment for my Advanced Placement Computer Science Principles class. The kids enjoyed it so much that many of them replayed the game in order to better their previous score.
Commitment and Learning Curve:
Low. Just sign up and play. You learn very quickly how to use the simulation.
Best for ES MS or HS?
HS, and high-level MS.