The Multi-State Information Sharing & Analysis Center® (MS-ISAC®) has named Whitney Hohmann, a Carver Elementary School fifth-grader, as a national winner of the organization’s annual Kids Safe Online Poster Contest. In addition to the national award, the MS-IAC and the State of Iowa Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) named Whitney and her classmate, Joseph Alkhoury, as winners of the contest at the state level.
Hohmann’s entry was one of 13 selected as national winners from thousands of entries. MS-ISAC will be creating a Cyber Safety activity book in which Whitney’s artwork will be showcased sometime in October, in honor of National Cybersecurity Awareness Month. This marks the third year in a row that Carver Elementary has had two Carver recipients representing Iowa in the national competition.
Hohmann’s poster encourages students to “Bee Careful!” while online and Alkhoury’s message is to “Take Time Before Your Post!”
All fifth-graders at Carver are given the opportunity to participate in the Kids Safe Online Poster Contest annually through a collaborative art and digital citizenship project. The contest, led at Carver by art teacher Julie Lammer and technology coach Donna Schmitt, centered around how to treat others online; how to handle cyberbullying, unwanted attention and strangers online; keeping private information private; and navigating the internet safely. Students carefully considered which of these topics need reinforcement among their peers and designed creative posters to display their advice.
Through the project, Lammer asked students to identify how art can inform or change beliefs, ideas, and/or values. Through this identification process, students came up with a theme of how they could influence peers to think twice about their cyber choices. Schmitt then introduced students to the drawing tools available in PowerPoint and taught students to create backgrounds and/or fonts for their poster submissions.
Students completed their posters in art class using various media including marker, paper, colored pencil, and collage techniques. The posters were a springboard for engaging in dialogue about digital citizenship, and they allowed students to display their artistic talents while showcasing the importance of internet safety.
The MS-ISAC, which hosts the contest, is grant-funded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and it is the focal point for cyber threat prevention, protection, response, and recovery for the nation’s state, local, tribal, and territorial (SLTT) governments.