To understand its influence, it is essential first to understand what Blockchain is and how it works. In simplest terms, Blockchain is, according to Forbes magazine, “a public ledger that automatically records and verifies transactions. The distributed ledger technology (DLT) powers Bitcoin, Ethereum and other virtual currencies…”
So how does what looks on the surface like little more than a way of managing cryptocurrency have any impact on the classroom? Let’s take a look at an example of the type of situation Blockchain can create.
Google Docs has been widely compared with the overall function of Blockchain. It uses similar algorithms and indexing technologies and promotes the same kind of interactive environment, except in a virtual office setting. Users upload, edit, set permissions, collaborate and even analyze multiple versions and drafts of a document as part of the development process.
For busy students, in particular, that could mean the ability to seek assistance with assignments and collaborate with other students and professors. Blockchain tech can even pair students with paid tutors and writing experts to develop the best possible paper without having to create and manage multiple copies or versions of the document.
It is that collaborative aspect of the tech that makes Blockchain such a valuable asset in the classroom. The same Forbes article lists 20 ways that it is already influencing modern education. Let’s look at a few of the more significant ones.
Transcripts – Blockchain technology presents the ability to maintain a single set of student records beginning at Kindergarten and following the student through the entirety of his or her academic life.
Security – As campus security becomes tighter, Blockchain makes it more difficult to manipulate data and hack into systems like central file servers and security cams. Incidentally, those file servers can make their data universally sharable with multiple identity protection controls. One very appealing attribute of Blockchain is that it is very secure. While nothing is genuinely un-hackable, the latest tech comes very close. Data security is the number-one advantage when integrating Blockchain as part of network management.
Badges – Imagine not having to develop a Résumé or CV because all relevant information about grades, work experience, background, and more can be easily searched and verified (with full consent). Every time someone earns a new degree or certificate, it gets imprinted on his or her virtual badge. It can speed up the process of college acceptance, candidate screening for job opportunities, and much more.
“Learning Marketplaces” – Individual universities and private companies can create places for students to receive individualized instruction, tutoring, test prep, and more. Badges come into play here, too. The things learned through portals like learning marketplaces are also cataloged and considered by potential employers or graduate schools long before the student submits an application or CV.
The above examples only scratch the surface of what is possible with Blockchain powered by DLT. There is no question that ten years from now the majority of processes used to manage education will have gravitated toward DLT and other similar platforms based on Blockchain. The benefits are numerous and well-reflected in areas like security, marketability, and collaboration.
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