Our Islands, Our Future

iolani-rSponsored by Maui Economic Development Board (MEDB), ‘Iolani Ku’oha, a Hawaiian Language Immersion Program (HLIP) teacher for ‘O Hina I ka Malama at Molokai Middle School, recently attended GenCyber Summer Camp on Kauai. The camp, which is funded jointly by the National Science Foundation and the National Security Agency, provides educators and students with the tools they need to be safe and responsible online. “Using current technologies through hands-on-activities, cyber security experts introduced the camp participants to the concept of digital citizenship and online safety information,” said Ku’oha. “With this new experience, I can help my students learn the basics of coding, another language form, and also reinforce their interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) careers.”

Through attending the Kauai GenCyber Camp, Ku’oha was invited to attend the Colorado GenCyber Camp held at the Denver Language School, a dual immersion language school teaching in Spanish and Cantonese. “This was a great opportunity for me to collaborate with other Immersion teachers and develop tutorial strategies in our specific language,” Ku’oha said. “I came away with a comprehensive set of lesson plans mapped to appropriate standards, which I will be using with my students; a starter kit in robotics, which I’ve already implemented in my classroom; and a network of like-minded Immersion teachers to share future ideas with.”

“I discovered Ozobots at camp,” Ku’oha explained. “This tiny toy robot blends the physical and digital worlds; and teaches programming. Ozobots can identify lines, colors, and codes on both digital surfaces, such as an iPad, and physical surfaces, such as paper. The tiny robots offer fun teaching methods for delivering cybersecurity content in K-12 computer science curriculum.”

Because of her summer experience in both camps, Ku’oha was chosen from among a few teachers in Hawaii and Colorado to attend an upcoming GenCyber program in Alaska. “I wouldn’t have these opportunities without the support of MEDB and Women in Technology,” she added. “I’m so grateful to them!”

The GenCyber program ensures that students understand correct and safe online behavior; especially as society becomes more reliant on cyber-based technology in every aspect of daily life.

‘Iolani Ku’oha, Molokai Middle School, HILP Teacher