Elementary students learn the basics of cyber in a weekly computer coding class

Sunday, Aug 6, 2017

COLUMBIA COUNTY, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- As the cyber security field continues to grow in our area, so does the education for it.

Right now high school students can choose to take cyber security classes on their own, but in Columbia County it's mandatory for elementary school students to take computer classes, which could help them in a future career in cyber.

The computer class is fun for the students at Lewiston Elementary, especially the young ones who only think they are playing.

Andrea Stein is a Paraprofessional at Lewiston Elementary and she runs their computer labs.

She said, "Kindergarten loves it because they still thinks its a game."

The younger students don't even realize that they are learning real computer skills.

"I try real hard to make sure they're playing something that teaches them motor skills, mouse skills, and some typing," said Stein.

Columbia County Elementary School students have a computer class once a week where they will learn the basics behind cyber security.

"It starts with keyboarding basics, then there's a segment on preparing them to code, and then once we get past learning patterns, and directives we go into another website which is really block coding," she said.

Block coding is where the students can really dive in.

"The children see little rectangles, but when they want to see what they actually created we can flip it and toggle it to HTML and see the java script on the other side," said Stein.

Stein said having these skills is necessary.

"They need to know it because they're going to be doing everything on the computers when they're older. It obviously is evident now on computers and in the classrooms they have tablets," said Stein.

She makes sure to get her students thinking about careers in the cyber field early.

"I ask them have you ever heard of cyber command because we have a lot of military families at Lewiston and when they hear that and we can actually start talking about they can have a career in that field; they get really excited," said Stein.

In middle and high school students can choose to take classes geared towards cyber.

High schools in Columbia County even offer a "cyber pathway" for their students to take which is made up of three courses.