Using a comic book to engage students in a cryptology and cybersecurity curriculum

Christine Wusylko, Zhen Xu, Kara M. Dawson, Pavlo D. Antonenko, Do Hyong Koh, Minyoung Lee, Amber E. Benedict, Swarup Bhunia

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


This article describes the use of a comic book to anchor a cryptology and cybersecurity curriculum for upper elementary students. Perceptions about the comic book from 138 students across 11 afterschool programs were examined using survey, classroom observation, and interviews. Data analysis revealed that the comic book created a “macrocontext” to situate learners in an exciting adventure about cryptology and cybersecurity. Students found the characters relatable, and their perceptions were tightly tied to other components of the curriculum. Reading the word bubbles was challenging at first, but got easier over time. This study illustrates how comic books can anchor unfamiliar STEM content for younger learners.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Research on Technology in Education
StateAccepted/In press - 2022


  • Anchored instruction
  • comic book
  • cryptology
  • cybersecurity
  • elementary education
  • informal learning
  • transmedia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Computer Science Applications


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