Blockchain. Only a few years ago, the term was known by a small group of people. Most people these days have heard of blockchains, even if they only know it as “the thing that makes bitcoin operate.” While cryptocurrencies are the most well-known use of blockchain technology, it is by no means the only one. Blockchains may be used in a variety of industries, including healthcare and education, because they are secure, decentralized ledgers.
What Blockchains could do for education
1. Records of students. Academic transcripts are currently one of the most time-consuming and labor-intensive processes in higher education. Each entry must be manually reviewed to guarantee correctness before a certified transcript of a student’s grades may be issued. The certification of course contents is another type of student document that is commonly sought. In K-12 education, it’s possible that a kid in one state takes an Algebra class and then transfers to another state to attend a school that also offers an Algebra program. So far, everything has gone well. Is the substance of both courses, however, the same? Comparing the content of the courses is one way to verify this. This may be tiresome in K-12.
It’s a nightmare at the university level. The teaching materials at the university where I attended medical school were roughly 700 pages. Each sheet should be signed and stamped for each student who wants this record (to ensure accuracy). However, if this information were recorded on a blockchain, a person might access a comprehensive, verifiable record of subject courses and academic achievements with only a few clicks.
2. Certificates and diplomas Diplomas and credentials for students might be issued and maintained on a blockchain, much like grades. Employers would simply need to be given a link to a digital diploma instead of requesting the institution that issued the diploma to authenticate a paper copy. This is already in progress. MIT started delivering electronic, blockchain-based certificates to its graduates in 2017. This prohibits applicants from presenting false degrees to potential employers, which is an all-too-common occurrence.
3. Insignia. Aside from degrees, a typical resume offers a wealth of extra information that employers may find useful. We’re talking about talents such as foreign language proficiency, technical expertise, or unique qualities that aren’t necessarily tied to a person’s employment. I am a medical doctor with a master’s degree in primary care diabetology, for example. That, however, does not reveal that I am fluent in four languages, can build up computer networks, understand cryptocurrency, or am a qualified chef. However, these abilities are difficult to prove. However, a person can hire a third-party expert to validate that expertise and provide a certificate or badge. If these are maintained on a blockchain, they demonstrate that a person possesses the necessary abilities.
4. The storing of files. Institutions will need a lot of file storage capacity to keep digital curriculum, records, degrees, and other information. Back to the problem of centralizing the files, storing everything on local hard disks. It would be a major issue if the hard disks were destroyed or compromised in any manner. Although cloud storage is a possibility, purchasing the required quantity of cloud storage space may be out of reach for many organizations. Blockchain-based cloud storage services like Filecoin might be one option.
5. Courses and lessons Many blockchains also support smart contracts. This implies that lectures and courses may be written into the blockchain and run automatically when specific criteria are satisfied. A teacher, for example, may assign pupils chores. The smart contracts on the blockchain may verify the accomplishment of each task automatically. Teachers might be paid in crypto tokens for completing all responsibilities, and pupils could be given credits. This method might be used to layout whole courses.
6. Publication. Students, instructors, professors, and researchers produce high-quality content on a regular basis. However, getting published is a difficult task. Enrico Fermi’s 1933 paper on interactions, Hans Krebs’ 1937 paper on the Citric Acid Cycle, Rosalyn Yalow’s 1955 research that established the foundations for radioimmunoassay, and even Kary Mullis’ 1993 paper on polymerase chain reaction were all dismissed for various reasons—and all of these papers went on to earn Nobel Prizes for their authors. However, publishing on a blockchain might make it easier for new authors, academics, and other professionals to enter the sector. Blockchains may also aid in the administration of rights and the prevention of piracy.
7. Cost-cutting Many of the aforementioned applications imply that many labor-intensive, time-consuming activities will be automated. This results in cheaper expenses for schools, which might result in savings for students who won’t have to pay back loans for years. Schools and universities might also save money by eliminating middlemen in various processes and saving on file storage space.
8. When we consider how blockchains can affect education, we can see that in the not-too-distant future, both K-12 and higher education institutions may use them for record-keeping and credentialing. Let’s take a deeper look at what a blockchain-enabled K-12 scenario may look like: Each state can develop its own education-related blockchain with smart contracts and its own crypto token. The New York Education Token, for example, may be created using the blockchain of New York State (NYET). For starters, any school may use the blockchain to store its teaching materials. Any school may immediately see if another school’s Algebra course is a perfect fit for their own.