VIRTUAL REALITY ART / RESEARCH
The CryptoClub: Cryptography and Mathematics Afterschool and Online is a multi-year research and development project harnessing the allure of secret messages to teach cryptography and mathematics. For over ten years I have been collaborating with mathematics professors Drs. Janet Beissinger, Vera Pless, Bonnie Sanders, and professor of psychology Dr. Susan Goldman to create digital resources for teachers and informal educators who want to introduce students to the exciting and important application of mathematics in a playful and engaging way. The project is based on the belief that teaching students cryptography is a great opportunity to immerse them in mathematical thinking and problem solving, while introducing them to a topic that is important in today’s world.Through a series of grants from the National Science Foundation, our team has developed books, online cryptography adventure games, websites, interactive offline games, interactive materials, training, workshops and resources for teachers and informal educators for teaching cryptography to middle school students. These curriculum materials were developed by mathematicians who have experience in mathematics education in both formal and informal settings, and tested by teachers and students in an iterative design process over six years, including a 2012-13 field test in 29 national sites. The project has trained over 250 educators who have led CryptoClub programs for over 3000 students in locations around the country, including schools, Boys and Girls Clubs, libraries, 4-H Clubs, YMCAs, and other informal educational sites. The CryptoClub project had a transformative impact on youth and their understanding of cryptography and serves as a national model for partnerships between afterschool and mentoring programs. I am a co-PI and the art director on the project contributing media art, design and interactive computer graphics expertise.
The project has received NSF’s 2015 Facilitator’s Choice Award in Teaching and Learning Video Showcase.
Tsoupikova has received 2011 Fulbright Intercountry Lecturing Program award to give lecture about the project at the University of Bergen, Norway.