Education Scotland x TryHackMe: Creating a Skilled, Cyber Aware Generation

We worked with Education Scotland to provide students with an interactive, gamified, real-world learning experience. We aimed to initiate engaging, understandable learning and broaden students' future prospects.

Education Scotland x TryHackMe: Creating a Skilled, Cyber Aware Generation
  • Education Scotland rolled out temporary access to TryHackMe for six schools from across the country over seven months finishing at the end of this academic year (June 2022)
  • Nine initial topics were covered, including penetration testing, network security, web application security, and operating system forensics
  • 100% of teachers asked enjoyed using TryHackMe in cyber security lessons
  • Students gave the platform a 4-star rating - especially enjoying ethical hacking and Wireshark training labs
  • In collaboration with CyberScotland, TryHackMe ran a Capture The Flag (CTF) event for over 1400 students

TryHackMe worked with Education Scotland to provide teachers with a training resource for cyber security lessons - giving students an interactive, gamified, real-world experience. The objectives of the partnership were to initiate an engaging and understandable learning experience, introduce cyber security verticals as career paths, and broaden students’ prospects.

Education Scotland is Scotland’s national improvement agency for education from early years to adult learning. Cyber crime is estimated to cost the global economy $10.5 trillion by 2025, approximately £8 trillion. Combined with a lack of skilled workers in the niche, cyber security is - and is growingly so - a crucial focus for education, working towards a fleet of skilled workers to combat cyber crime.

Investing in cyber education

Cyber attacks affect the entire landscape of countries’ economies and business ecosystems. Cyber criminals target governments, businesses, individuals, and educational institutions - usually for financial gain.

There are estimated to be over 2.7 million unfilled cyber security jobs across the globe, with a skills workforce gap meaning there aren’t enough skilled employees to fill the demand.  In addition to this, young generations are often faced with work uncertainties and difficulty choosing the right path of study, with a lack of secure options for the future.

With the imminent risk to a plethora of targets combined with a skills shortage needed to mitigate threats and student uncertainty, it's no surprise governments are investing in the field.

Education Scotland x TryHackMe: The logistics

Six schools were chosen for the preliminary launch of TryHackMe training, covering 100 students. We analysed the training rooms best representing the school syllabus to create learning paths aligned to National Progression Awards at SQL levels 4, 5, and 6.

Teachers previously experienced challenges in navigating cyber security training - such as school computers blocking the technology and VMs needed to practice hacking and defending in a safe environment. Running purely through the browser, TryHackMe allowed students this hands-on experience without process barriers. Bite-sized, practical training showcased cyber security topics in a format transferable to jobs in the market, consumable for all levels.

As a teacher I feel that TryHackMe helps support effective teaching and learning.  It provides a resource in a virtual environment with real-world examples and best practice to deliver lessons. It also helps to overcome technical barriers found in the classroom and enhances teacher skills and knowledge in cyber security.

We also ran a CTF event for 1400 Scottish students. Participants were given training across themes including web exploitation, network exploitation, and digital forensics - with learning schemes suitable for complete beginners to higher-level hackers. The event featured a cyber security competition where participants hacked machines and solved cyber security challenges to earn points.

Education Scotland x TryHackMe: The results

We were delighted to work in collaboration with TryHackMe to provide practitioners with a training resource for cyber security lessons, and also to deliver the Capture the Flag event aimed at building learners’ cyber security skills. This event was a great success with 1,400 learners from across Scotland participating either at school or at home. It is essential that our children and young people are cyber aware. Our digital officers will continue to work with a range of partners to support practitioners in schools and ELCs to engage confidently with cyber resilience internet safety experiences and outcomes. - Ollie Bray, Strategic Director, Education Scotland

Feedback across teachers, students, and Education Scotland was overwhelmingly positive. The management dashboard allowed teachers to see students’ progress in one space, swiftly detecting individuals needing extra support and guidance. Seeing this collated in a private dashboard format was cited by teachers as a brilliant benefit to keeping tabs on progression.

Almost all students found they understood cyber security concepts while using TryHackMe. They were motivated to learn and became more confident in their ability to problem solve. TryHackMe allows students to work independently or with peers in an engaging learning environment, building progressively on their skills and knowledge, with myself as a teacher there as support, asking questions and taking part in discussion.

We’re so excited to help bring forward a new generation of cyber experts to the world. It’s incredible to see students’ progress and young people grasping concepts that initially seemed alien, and we know these drives will help to strengthen the cyber security of regions across the world.