Blockchain is working in Education

What is Blockchain?

Everybody is talking about bitcoin, blockchain, and dogecoin. Today we were testing some robots and even the students at Sunnyhills Primary School all knew about these currencies. Investopedia explains Blockchain as a type of database. A database is a collection of information that is stored electronically on a computer system. Similar to a spreadsheet, however, spreadsheets are designed for one person, or a small group of people, to store and access limited amounts of information. In contrast, a database is designed to house significantly larger amounts of information that can be accessed, filtered, and manipulated quickly and easily by any number of users at once.

Nowadays, most people have heard of blockchains, even though they might just know it as ‘something to do with bitcoin mining.’ While cryptocurrencies are the first widespread application, this is far from the only use for it. Being secure, decentralized ledgers, blockchains can be applied in many fields including finance, healthcare, and education.

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How could Blockchain be used in Education?

There are many applications and benefits for Blockchain-based solutions to be used in the Education sector.

  1. Student records. These days, academic transcripts are one of the most time-consuming, labor-intensive tasks in academic institutions. Before issuing a certified transcript of a student’s grades, each entry must be manually verified and accurate.
  2. Diplomas and certificates. Just like grades, a student’s diplomas and credentials could be issued and stored on a blockchain. Verification is crucial, instead of asking the institution emitting the diploma to certify a paper copy, employers would only need to be provided with a link to a digital diploma.
  3. File storage. Storing digital curricula, records, degrees, and other information will take up a lot of file storage space. Saving everything on local hard drives brings us back to ‘how we centralize these files?
  4. Lessons and courses. These can be programmed into the blockchain and executed automatically when certain conditions are met. For example, a teacher could set up tasks for students. The completion of each task could be automatically verified by the blockchain’s smart contracts. Upon completion of all tasks, teachers could receive payment with crypto tokens and students could be awarded credits. 
  5. Rewards. The computer nodes that constantly verify the integrity of the information stored on a blockchain receive rewards in the form of digital tokens like bitcoin. This is what is called cryptocurrency mining. People who use computers to verify education-related blockchains would also receive tokens as a reward. These tokens could then be traded on a safe cryptocurrency exchange like Kraken for other cryptocurrencies or used to pay for goods and services within the education community itself, as schools and universities could accept tokens as payment in cafeterias, subscriptions, bookstores, or even for tuition.

Students use Blockchain to help tell their stories.

For centuries access to students’ grades or transcripts had to be physically compiled, posted, or emailed. 

After 17 years leading Tata Interactive, Manoj Kutty launched LoudCloud, a competency-based learning platform. After six years of growth, Kutty sold LoudCloud to Barnes and Noble Education. To address the transcript dilemma, Kutty launched Greenlight Credentials last year.

Working with North Texas school districts, community colleges and universities as well as Dallas County Promise, Kutty assembled a team to build a technology platform that will give students ownership of their academic transcripts and access to stackable, lifelong credentials.

Kutty predicated within the next 10 years students won’t be applying to colleges; colleges will be recruiting students.

With growing interest in demonstrated competence over seat time and pedigree, many schools want to present a more complete picture of a young person’s capabilities. Dallas County high schools are going to deploy an extended transcript to more fully share career readiness information. Another example is the 250 schools that have banded together in the Mastery Transcript Consortium to create a new way to share demonstrated capabilities.

To read more about “How the Education Industry welcomes Blockchain” follow Alicia Verweij, Education Consultant for EDGEUcating.

However, if you want to buy into crypto-currency or just play Kai’s Clan collectible game, you have to be in it to win it.

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