Project summary

Orange County Public Schools Cyber Security Program

Project summary


Orange County Public Schools Cyber Security Program


Orange County, Florida, USA

Year group


Number of students


School background.

Orange Technical College’s Mid Florida and Winter Park campuses (OTC) are part of Orange County Public Schools. OTC mainly runs short one-year industry-certified courses that give their students skills suitable for high growth in-demand careers. They started their cyber security program as they recognised it as one of the fastest-growing fields in I.T and use pi-top [3]s and pi-topCEEDs as part of their program.


The students at OTCs’ learning curriculum is based around the EC-Council’s Certified Ethical Hacker Certification which is then supplemented with lots of hands-on project-based learning.

The cybersecurity program is built using the Kali Linux operating system as it's the main hackers’ toolkit. The students have a full version that runs on the Raspberry Pi.

Thomas ‘T.J’ Thoss, Instructor for the Cyber Security Programme at OTC said: “I wanted to find an inexpensive product to show students how to build their own Raspberry Pi-based laptop. That was when I found the pi-top [3] and pi-topCEEDs. And the thing that blew me away though was all the software that came with the pi-top that completely changed the way that I teach this program.”

As well as hacking skills their students learn python scripting. T.J said: “I find that python scripting is a very difficult subject for me to teach students. It's hard to keep the students interested and engaged and you know it's programming so not the most exciting thing to learn. But by using the pi-top projects and exercises and all the invention that comes from using the Inventor’s Kit – it’s a much more interactive and engaging way for my students to learn python scripting.”

Orange County Public Schools Cyber Security Program

A pi-top [3]

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Class activity.

At the end of the system hacking section - the students have to take everything that they’ve worked on up until that point and actually hack into a test server that their instructor has set up and configured. They find the password to pass that unit.


  • The course at OTC is viewed as an exemplar with educators from across the US coming to see the course in action and to learn from how it’s delivered.
  • Students learned to build their computer and about what makes up computer hardware by building their pi-top laptop.
  • The students learned about the software by making projects and python scripting through the Inventor’s Kit.

It's extremely, extremely important for our students to understand all theory. But then it’s also really important that they must be able to go in and perform the hands-on tasks.

Thomas ‘T.J’ Thoss, Instructor for the Cyber Security Programme

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