Tag Archives: Education

Cadets learn to code

Each morning at 9:30 a.m, Makayla Davis of Aberdeen, Mississippi logs on to start her day. Instead of simply watching TV, hanging out or getting roped into yard work, Makayla is learning cryptography, network fundamentals and penetration testing techniques. 

She is one of 24 Air Force Junior ROTC cadets from 12 states participating in the inaugural Air Force JROTC Cyber Academy, an eight-week virtual course that will earn each cadet three college credits and prepare them for valuable industry certifications. She started the program when one of her teachers told her about the opportunity. “I was excited to learn new things that I could bring back to my school,” she says.

The course is part of the JROTC-CS Demonstration Project, a collaboration between the Air Force JROTC and CSforALL, aimed at growing the talent pipeline in critical technology careers. The project is funded through an advisory consortium of nonprofits, federal agencies and corporate sponsors, including Google. Google supports CSforALL, in addition to other organizations such as 4-H, Kapor Center and the Computer Science Teachers’ Association to ensure that all students, regardless of background, have equitable access to computer science learning opportunities.

The Air Force JROTC serves more than 125,000 cadets at nearly 900 high schools across the U.S. and overseas, but only 36 percent of those schools offer an AP computer science course. JROTC-CS aims to develop a way to increase computer science and cybersecurity programs at all JROTC high schools, and offer opportunities for cadets to develop skills, explore technical career paths and earn industry certifications, scholarships and more.

“This program embodies the AFJROTC mission: developing young citizens,” says Colonel Stephen T. Sanders, Director, HQ AFJROTC. “Whether our cadets have military or civilian careers in mind, we are preparing them for the future.”

The AFJROTC Cyber Academy is offered through Mississippi State University and was intended to be an on-campus experience. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the program went virtual and the cadets, instructors and mentors are logging in from all over the country. The team includes instructors and mentors from Mississippi State, the National Cybersecurity Training and Education Center (NCyTE) at Whatcom Community College in Washington State and Moraine Valley Community College in Illinois. 


Like everyone working or learning from home, the pivot to virtual created some challenges for the JROTC cadets. CSforALL raised funds to make sure all students had devices to participate virtually. In week six, the cadets have broken into project teams to research security challenges and share recommendations back to the group. Makayla’s team is exploring the use of deterrents, which are ways to prevent people from entering a site. She is excited at the prospect of developing a cybersecurity plan for her school, where she’ll be a “cybersecurity ambassador” when she returns.

Makayla and her fellow cadets have plans that go way beyond high school, though. “I’m thinking about how to combine cybersecurity with psychology for my future career,” she says.

New Media Literacy Lab equips students with essential skills to identify misinformation and stay safe online

This is a guest blog post from Lesley Podesta, CEO of the Alannah & Madeline Foundation.

The Alannah & Madeline Foundation is one of Australia’s most respected children’s charities, and is dedicated to protecting children from violence and its devastating impact. 

With the online world playing an increasingly important role in the lives of young Australians for education and entertainment, it’s more important than ever that we help them to develop skills to stay safe and identify misinformation.

Today, with the help of a $1.4 million investment from Google.org, we’ve launched Media Literacy Lab - the first dedicated teaching and learning tool where Australian students can develop crucial critical thinking abilities to navigate online environments. This new media literacy toolkit is currently available for free to Australian students nationally. Teachers can register at medialiteracylab.org.au

This groundbreaking education program will draw on fictional narratives with real-life examples to help students identify trusted sources of information, understand the impacts of hate speech and avoid manipulation.




“In Year 7, a time when everyone is connecting to the online world, kids don’t always know what to do,’’ said 15-year-old Solli Raphael.

Solli is a published author who has used social media to promote his book and connect with his audience. Now a Youth Ambassador for Media Literacy Lab, Solli believes the program will benefit fellow students as they embark on the online world for the first time.

“The lessons in the Lab are really engaging. There’s not an information overload and it’s all clear and easy to understand. This will really empower young people,” Solli said.

We’ve developed the first-of-its-kind program with industry experts, academics and schools. It’s designed for students aged 12 to 16, who will navigate six modules that are gamified and youth-driven.

Students will learn about media essentials, ways that they can verify information sources and be aware of deepfakes and bots. We’ve worked to ensure these important messages are delivered in a way that’s safe, insightful and engaging.

Young people aged over 13 mostly get news from three sources - social media, family and TV, but with those who rely on social media, only about half pay attention to the original source.

Media literacy skills are incredibly important for young people who can have a difficult time when it comes to determining fact from opinion. This means they can be more susceptible to misinformation, manipulation and hate speech.

Our Media Literacy Lab will work to shape a generation of media-savvy Australians who are more skilled to see this harmful activity for what it is, can better examine information and make more informed decisions.



“In Year 7, a time when everyone is connecting to the online world, kids don’t always know what to do,’’ said 15-year-old Solli Raphael.

Solli is a published author who has used social media to promote his book and connect with his audience. Now a Youth Ambassador for Media Literacy Lab, Solli believes the program will benefit fellow students as they embark on the online world for the first time.

“The lessons in the Lab are really engaging. There’s not an information overload and it’s all clear and easy to understand. This will really empower young people,” Solli said.

We’ve developed the first-of-its-kind program with industry experts, academics and schools. It’s designed for students aged 12 to 16, who will navigate six modules that are gamified and youth-driven.

Students will learn about media essentials, ways that they can verify information sources and be aware of deepfakes and bots. We’ve worked to ensure these important messages are delivered in a way that’s safe, insightful and engaging.

Young people aged over 13 mostly get news from three sources - social media, family and TV, but with those who rely on social media, only about half pay attention to the original source.

Media literacy skills are incredibly important for young people who can have a difficult time when it comes to determining fact from opinion. This means they can be more susceptible to misinformation, manipulation and hate speech.

Our Media Literacy Lab will work to shape a generation of media-savvy Australians who are more skilled to see this harmful activity for what it is, can better examine information and make more informed decisions.