How I Use It
I teach a cyber security unit and I use this lab to supplement my instruction. When I was looking for resources while building the unit, I came across NOVA Labs and I am so glad I decided to use it in my classroom! I would teach major concepts in my class, then give time for students to work through the Lab throughout the unit. The coding challenge portion of this lab inspired the programming unit I now teach. The game puts the students in the role of chief technology officer of a start up company. The student gets to chose an avatar and a company (names are based on popular social media sites) before they begin the game. To navigate through the levels of the game there are three challenges: coding, password cracking, and social engineering. When I was using this game in class, I made sure I taught the concepts related to each challenge before I had the students work through them independently. I had students complete the lab during class time, so I was able to have some control over when they completed challenges. (Some students liked it so much, they did go home and played through the challenges independently.) This made their experience in the game much more valuable. While this NOVA lab worked very well for my 6th grade students, it might be too simple for high school students.
While this product is not a stand alone source for a unit on cyber security, I have found it to be a great way for students to actually apply their knowledge in a fun and engaging way. The program gives tips to students to help them navigate through the challenge, but my students would often just click past the tips, so I had to remind students multiple times to read the feedback given to them when they did not successfully complete a challenge. NOVA Labs provides a teaching guide and additional resources for instruction, which I did refer to when using this program the first time. If you want to incorporate instruction on cyber security in your classroom, I highly suggest NOVA Labs Cyber Security Lab!