“If we teach today’s students as we taught yesterday’s then we rob them of tomorrow.” During the pandemic, technology facilitated education in the best way. Therefore the intertwining of blockchain and education #EdChain will certainly be really. Blockchain is an immutable, decentralised form of database that stores information. As the name suggests, it is a chain or a series of blocks that store data like the date, time and amount of transactions.
The most important feature associated with blockchains is security. Each block within a blockchain contains a hash of the previous block. Hashing makes it difficult to alter the blocks. Thus it ensures immutability. Incentivising miners ensures integrity as they disapprove malicious transactions. These mechanisms ensure the high security of data.
The intertwining of blockchain and education would help improve teaching and learning in various dimensions.
Decentralized control over data
Blockchain can store data related to students’ credentials. It can also store details like the skills or courses that students have learnt. Consequently, a centralized authority will not control this data. It would also enable the students to share this data with their prospective employers. Furthermore, students can store data related to both classroom learning and skill enhancement. It would ensure accuracy in the resumes. The security mechanisms of blockchain ensure the safety of the data. Students cannot alter past educational certificates stored on the blockchain so it would ensure accuracy. Blockchain also takes care of privacy. This is because blockchain would store the hash of the data rather than the data itself. Students can also encrypt data before storage at the option of the student. We already have many blockchain-powered applications that facilitate the record-keeping of digital credentials and intellectual property.
Students cannot alter their past educational certifications. Therefore, employers would get the most accurate information about their skills. This would also help find the perfect matches between employers and job seekers. A distributed ledger system like blockchain supports safe chronological academic records. By integrating transparency and accuracy blockchain can create a strong relationship between employers and job seekers.
Make learning engaging
Blockchain can also make learning more engaging. This would help us to move forward from the conventional tools of teaching and learning. Blockchain’s OpenSource framework is a tool that can enhance online teaching and learning. It would also facilitate the personal development of students. New technologies combined with blockchain can provide personalized learning. Consequently, we can customize the content to suit the needs of different students. We can also have gamified online education to make learning interesting.
Students can also enter into various Smart Contracts with the university through blockchain. These contracts can be related to various payments like tuition fees or examination fees. The contracts will provide convenience and safety of transactions at the same time. Smart Contracts in Blockchain can help automate administrative tasks. Additionally, this would also reduce overhead costs related to administrative tasks.
Efficacy in Selection
Blockchain would certainly reduce CV fraud by streamlining the data provided by the students. It can also make appropriate matches between employers and job seekers by suiting their requirements. Blockchain-based university diplomas would certainly be a good leap forward in the selection of job seekers
Digital Credentials Consortium is an initiative that aims to enhance the record-keeping of digital academic credentials. The initiative started in 2018, intending to create a safe mechanism for storing digital academic credentials. It will enable the students to hold a lifelong record of their academic achievements. Students can easily share this data with the employer as well. The students will also get other benefits like safety, security and privacy. Moreover, they will not be required to pay fees to get copies of their credentials from the university. It would also benefit the educational institutions by managing records securely, eliminating the risk of identity fraud. Thence they can save the cost and time required in admin work. Subsequently, the employers would get the benefit of easy access to accurate records.
MIT is one of the leading institutions that has developed blockchain applications to streamline academic accreditation. It believes that the intertwining of blockchain in education can be used for various purposes.MIT Media Lab and Learning Machine’s Blockcerts is a platform. It allows educational institutions to incorporate blockchain accreditation in their programs. The University of Nicosia offers accredited courses through verified certificates on the blockchain. Southern New Hampshire University issues bachelor and diploma degrees in a digital format on the blockchain besides in a traditional paper format.
Educational technology has made good progress over the last 20 years but, there is a long way to go. Modern technologies like blockchain can facilitate progress effectively. According to the Gartner, 2019 CIO Survey around 2% of higher education respondents has already incorporated blockchain. On the other hand, 18% are planning to do so. However, 47% are not interested in incorporating blockchain in education. The possible reason behind this seems to be a wait and watch approach. Keeping in mind the hype and potential risks of blockchain respondents probably aim at playing safe. Record keeping is the most promising use of blockchain besides security and privacy. Overall we have numerous universities and enterprises aiming at enhancing education by intertwining blockchain with it. These universities use blockchain not only for record-keeping but also for teaching and learning purposes.
We need to have an accepting attitude towards change. Amalgamating technology in education may seem difficult. But it is the need of the hour. New technology can improve the existing methods by saving time and cost at the same time. Many universities have already explored this walk still we need more efforts in this regard. As they say, change is the only constant, so we need to be more receptive to this change.