Integrating Cybersecurity and Cryptology in Elementary Preservice Education: Influence on Perceptions, Confidence and Intent to Teach


Cybersecurity educational efforts are urgently needed to introduce young people to the profession and give students and teachers cybersecurity knowledge to protect themselves from increasing cybercrime. In this study, 56 elementary preservice teachers participated in a 3-hour intervention within a technology integration course that introduced them to a curriculum, [TITLE], designed to teach cybersecurity and cryptology to upper elementary classrooms. The study used pre-post surveys, an engagement questionnaire, and observations to investigate the influence of this module on elementary preservice teachers’ perceptions about the importance of teaching cyber security in elementary school, confidence in their ability to teach cybersecurity, intention to teach cybersecurity in the future and engagement during the intervention. While most preservice teachers had minimal prior experiences with the content, there were positive changes in their perceptions, confidence, and intention to teach cybersecurity and cryptology content. There was also evidence of cognitive, behavioral, and affective engagement throughout the intervention. While longer interventions and opportunities to teach these concepts in authentic settings would likely be even more impactful for preservice teachers, this study suggests that even short interventions can have positive results and is a step forward in bringing cybersecurity and cryptology content to preservice teacher education.


Christine Wusylko
University of Florida

Kara Dawson
University of Florida 

Pavlo Antonenko
University of Florida 

Zhen Xu
University of North Carolina