Blockchain technology is highly linked to using cryptocurrencies, but that’s a limited view of what blockchain can provide. Although crypto transactions are the most common actions to be performed there, blockchain has the potential to be introduced as a solution for security and scalability in businesses and other industries. However, this technology can benefit another sector, the educational one, with what it currently lacks: transparency and accountability.
Through the technology of smart contracts, schools can use better systems regarding assignments, test scores and verifying transcripts that save a lot of time. Besides, in the future, blockchain may even be used as a way to incentivize students to pay their student loans or by rewarding them with cryptocurrencies.
Let’s see how blockchain can be introduced in the world of education with some examples of businesses that succeeded in doing it.
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Learning on platforms based on smart contracts
The first example we’ll discuss is Gilgamesh, an educational platform based on Ethereum’s smart contracts. It looks similar to a social media environment where students, authors or book lovers can discuss novels and any writing pieces. The more they engage with each other, the more they’re rewarded with GIL tokens (the platform’s official transactional coin). As they earn more tokens, users are able to use them to purchase other academic books in digital format.
The app looks like a feed where you’ll get book recommendations and see what other people share and communities whom you can engage with. Plus, you’ll also have an in-app wallet to store your GL tokens and later use them for another purchase.
Verifying academic transcripts through blockchain
Another project founded in 2016 aimed to solve the lack of transparency regarding people’s academic transcripts and credentials. So, two teams, Learning Machine and MIT Media Lab, worked together to create this system called Blockcerts. This open platform makes records (like credentials) on the blockchain with which the company can analyze the credibility of certain documents when in doubt.
This way, discovering falsified or plagiarized documentation can be flagged immediately and with evident proof. At the same time, academic achievements could be stored on the platform (grades, transcripts or diplomas) to offer insight into someone’s past academic course.
Connecting students and educators in a marketplace
The company that came up with this idea is called Odem, also the platform’s name. Odem is a decentralized marketplace where educators and students share and look for educational products and services. Through the technology of smart contracts, professors and scholars can agree on a specific course that can tailor the educational path better rather than following only the school curriculum.
All these decisions are stored on the blockchain, and each course taught and learned is recognized to be completed, which offers more insight into both the student’s and professor’s skills. The platform allows you to directly share what you have learned on LinkedIn or print resumes and CVs. Therefore, Odem can also be used by employers looking for the perfect candidate, and they can filter what they’re looking for and find students and teachers who fit the profile.
Studying anything while being incentivized
If you want to be rewarded for learning something new, then try the BitDegree platform. This technology combines ledgers and tokenization to provide an educational platform where you can choose between free or paid courses. The topics include cryptocurrencies, blockchain and coding.
All these certifications should help people who want to work in the industry or learn about blockchain technology. What’s unique about this platform is that it rewards learning by providing tokenized scholarships for specific achievements. You can use the information on this platform even if you only want to know how to buy cryptocurrency since you’ll get to know how such platforms work and how the market influence the price of digital coins.
Why blockchain and education should merge
Blockchain technology slowly becomes the new acceptable way to store data and use applications professionally, with a higher degree of security. This new science of performing actions and scaling the educational process is the future of learning. Teachers and students could communicate better by using such technology that encompasses scalability and transparency. The issue is this technology is pretty complex to understand as not anyone can code on the blockchain, especially when it comes to Ethereum, which has its own coding language called Solidity.
At the same time, people are still reticent about blockchain since it’s linked with cryptocurrencies that tend to be volatile and, therefore, unstable. Some may fear losing all their investments, but when it comes to merging blockchain with education, things are the opposite.
In this situation, businesses want to create something to make the educational process more manageable and even incentivize people (both students and professors) to engage and learn something new that would later benefit blockchain evolution. Such a fusion could break the barrier between teachers and people who want to learn because decisions are taken through smart codes, and everything is set by pre-coded rules, meaning that professors would only need to lead students.
In other words, blockchain could minimize the time spent on tedious tasks while helping people focus on the process of learning. This system can reduce data management issues and keep learning materials and academic achievements safe without holding up too much space, like cloud software. Therefore, through blockchain, education can become more affordable for more people since administrative costs are reduced, along with any other expenses.
Finally, blockchain could solve the problem of student debt, burdening many people, even years after graduation, by incentivizing them to make any efforts towards learning. This way, debt could be minimized, and people could complete their student loans efficiently.
Blockchain technology is not only made for transactions and selling or buying cryptocurrencies. It can also be used in different industries, such as educational ones, to make learning more efficient and accessible. Even though this merger is still in a starting position, we expect that blockchain will be the leading platform used by schools and universities in the future.