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Carnegie Mellon's Cyber Academy a Finalist for Japan Prize

Through the creative efforts of Carnegie Mellon University's Information Networking Institute (INI) and CyLab, a novel interactive cybersecurity portal for children, The Carnegie Cyber Academy, has been named a finalist for the Japan Prize.

The Carnegie Mellon entry is one of more than 300 innovative research tools competing for top honors in an international competition designed to encourage higher standards for educational multimedia content.

The Japan Prize was established in 1965 by NHK as International Educational Program Contest with the aims of improving the quality of educational programs around the world and contributing to the development and fostering of international understanding and cooperation.

Keeping these original aims, in 2008, Japan Prize reformed its content and now targets not only TV programs but also other linear contents, websites, educational games, and other interactive products with audiovisual contents. This was to cope with circumstances facing educational media including the diffusion of information-communication technologies and the initiation of digital broadcasting and the spread of the Internet in the field of education worldwide.

"I am delighted that our INI team is a finalist for such a venerable award because this designation recognizes our strength in fostering outstanding educational programs that support the world's cybersecurity needs," said Dena Haritos Tsamitis, INI director and director of education, training and outreach for Carnegie Mellon CyLab.

The MySecureCyberspace game and companion website were designed to teach Internet safety and computer security to children and adults. Created by the INI and Carnegie Mellon CyLab, the interactive materials teach users how to avoid cyber predators and malicious viruses. Cyber hackers attack some websites more than 350 million times per day and thousands of child predators troll websites for unwary victims every hour.

"We launched the game in October 2007 with the endorsement of Pennsylvania Attorney General Tom Corbett, and since then schools around the world have downloaded the game for use in classrooms," said Tsamitis, who was instrumental in helping the university be re-designated as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance, and designated for the first time as a Center for Academic Excellence in research by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security.

Sally Yanagihara, a second-year student in the INI Masters of Science in Information Technology (MSIT) program at CyLab Japan, will give a short demonstration of the cyber game on October 23 in Tokyo as part of the final stage of the competition. Award winners will be announced October 26 in Tokyo.

Ames Kraemer, the INI creative lead for the game and companion website, said the team is extremely excited and honored to have made it to the final round.

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