Last year, the most searched word was Bitcoin. This virtual currency dominated news and blogs. But what made bitcoin this famous? Well, it is the technology that drives it – blockchain. Similarly, many organizations invested in blockchain and started using this technology.
Established organizations such as banks, healthcare sector, voting, and manufacturing were among the first institutions to adopt the blockchain technology. However, the education sector had been left behind in adopting this new technology. In fact, the education sector stands a better ground for utilizing blockchain technology as compared to other sectors.
If blockchain technology is adopted by the education sector, it can have a significant impact in the future in other sectors. Therefore, blockchain is very paramount in the education sector as it will not only improve skills but also it will create awareness in other sectors as well.
The following are some of the top 20 possibilities where blockchain can be applied in the education sector.
1. Fee Payment
With the use of blockchain, it is now possible for students to pay for their tuition fee through crypto. This will greatly help to reduce long queues in banks. According to the European Commission on technology, depending on the country, “Governments and organizations could also provide students with funding for tuition in the form of blockchain “vouchers” to be “spent” at universities, which could be programmed to “release tranches of funding to either the student or the educational organization, based on certain performance criteria such as grades.”
2. Academic Credential Verification
Nowadays, the immigration, employers, institutions of higher learning among others requires the verification of the academic credentials. However, the process of verifying these important documents is cumbersome.
Blockchain can help lessen the verification process. A digital platform can be created using blockchain technology. All institutions of learning and certification bodies can create a standard decoded platform for verification.
When an employer wants a certificate verified, he will request and anyone on the internet can confirm and the certificate will be verified. In addition to that, the same platform can help students as well as to verify courses offered by different universities.
3. Decentralized Learning Platform
According to Suyati.com, an online blog, blockchain technology can be utilized to create a learning platform where “students and teachers can connect over coaching sessions. Terms such as duration, assignments, fee, etc. could be agreed upon initially and recorded as smart contracts for transparent execution.”
A decentralized learning platform such as this can help create a platform that does not have an outside influence hence both the students and the teachers will have a common platform for knowledge exchange.
4. Educational Content Copyrighting
Institutions of learning can openly publish educational information on their web. Once the content is published, teachers can share links to the content for students to access it. However, in order to prevent the content from being used by the unwanted students, they can use blockchain to limit those who can access the content.
In addition to that, the teachers can earn coins from the use of their content. With the help of smart contracts, depending on how much the published content has been used, the teacher can earn coins.
5. Institution Clustering
There are several centers of learning that have similar learning projects. These universities can cluster and form a common examining body or certification body. An example of universities that have grouped themselves together includes UBC, EPFL, ANU, Delft to mention just but a few. Blockchain technology provides a ready platform where institutions that want to form an alliance can meet.
6. Credit Transfers
Transfer of credit is cumbersome most of the time. In many circumstances, students have been forced to re-do certain courses so as to meet an institution’s entry requirements. Blockchain can help solve this problem once for all.
With the help of blockchain, an institution can write a student’s credits as a smart contract and the credit will be automatically transferred to another institution.
7. Certificate Issuance
A given school or university can use blockchain not only to store but also to issue certificates. A good example is the Holburton School in San Francisco. When the certificates are stored in the blockchain, it minimizes chances of altering or even faking a certificate.
8. Worldwide Online Certificate Store
Currently, most certificates are issued in the form of papers. These paper certificates are liable to many things such as getting lost, being torn or even faking. Blockchain can help solve all these problems by having a common online store where the certificates are stored.
Sony Global Education is the only organization presently that offers such services. According to Donald Clerk, speaker at OEB 2016, speaking about Sony Global Education, “They want schools and universities to use the service so that individuals can share the data with third parties such as employers, LinkedIn, etc. Their aim is to offer a global service.”
9. Information Security
Blockchain technology can help secure sensitive information in schools. With the blockchain, it is only those with the key that can verify any information. This way, the students cannot be able to get the information and tamper with it.
According to the European Commission on technology, “This means that the organization no longer needs to manage the complex systems for access rights, and only needs to secure the device or network where the verifications initial verification is taking place. This would save significant resources spent in hardening the network against data breaches, staff training on data-protection and in managing access rights.”
10. Continuing Professional Development
Presently, continuing professional development is problematic to deliver. Blockchain technology can help solve this problem. All the information about an individual can be collected from all learning, courses and conferences attended and much more. All the professional data can be stored in the blockchain for easy retrieving.
11. Open Badges
The different credentials are gathered using the open badge. The blockchain can provide a platform where the badges are stored without the possibility of tampering. According to Doug Belshaw's blog, “If a blockchain system can offer a massive way to deal with authentic accreditation, then the problems of openness, scale, and cost for badges disappear.”
12. Progressive Educational Records
Blockchain technology can be used to record every learning activity – both formal and informal. With the help of blockchain, a student’s exam scores from the lowest class to the highest can be recorded. This way, it will be easy to identify a student’s educational progress throughout his learning process.
13. Data Ownership
When a student’s educational data has been stored on the blockchain, the student has all the rights reserved on who can be able to access the data.
According to Lewis, a commissioner at the European Commission on technology, “Public blockchains facilitate self-sovereignty by giving individuals the ability to be the final arbiter of who can access and use their data and personal information. Within an educational context, the term is on its way to becoming synonymous with the empowerment of individual learners to own, manage and share details of their credentials, without the need to call upon the educational institution as a trusted intermediary.”
14. Educational ICOs
An educational blockchain known as knowledge.io has been created. On this platform, students can purchase their ICOs and be offered tokens. The tokens can then be used to purchase educational materials from the site.
According to Marcia Hales, Chief Operations Officer at Knowledge.io, "Textbooks and videos will be ingestible and Q&A sets will be automatically generated around them for use in education, training, continuing education, assessment, certification, and in other areas of academia. Additionally, through integration with COPPA compliance partners, children will be actively engaged in earning tokens to be applied to college tuition and other life improvement initiatives when they become of age".
15. Artificial Intelligence
There are various organizations that are using AI to create personalized learning platforms online. On such organization is Bitschool. Bitschool uses AI to make applications that can be used both by students and tutors for interaction.
With such technology, the teacher can easily know areas where a student has weakness and help them improve. The AI is going the transform the online learning experience. With the help of blockchain, a teacher can be able to monitor a big number of students. In addition to that, the teacher can be paid using the smart contract depending on the number of students he has handled in a given period.
16. Online Library
It is now possible to learn almost any subject online through different platforms. One can learn subjects such as blockchain protocols, programming, AI and others. All this content is given by professional and highly skilled individuals in these areas.
This content is available online both for live stream on YouTube and you can download. The most common platform offering this service is LiveEdu.
17. School Apps
With the help of blockchain technology, schools and universities can create apps that can be used in the school. The app can contain different information about the school. The information can be used both by students, teachers, and management.
For instance, Sony Corporation and Sony Global Education, with the help of IBM blockchain were able to create a school app. The app contains information such as student records, lunch program, timetable to mention just but a few. Such an app can help curb faking of student records and hence promote the credibility of student records.
18. Cost Reduction
Blockchain technology will help cut costs in the education sector. When an institution uses the blockchain to issue certificates, for example, it will reduce the cost of printing certificates. In addition to that, since the certificates will be issued through the smart contracts, it will do away with bureaucracy. Institutions will not have to print and store documents but they will be processed safely online.
19. Avoid Certificate Duplication
When a university, for example, uses blockchain to award certificates, the certificates are code encrypted. Besides the fact that no one will be able to gain access to the document, it will also prevent uncontrolled circulation of the document. This is due to the fact that the document can only be accessed by specific individuals only.
20. Study Loans
In many countries, students take loans to cover their educational cost. These loans are issued with the hope that once the student graduates, he will pay back. For example, in America, around 44 million students learn on loans. Through blockchain, a student’s loan can be linked to the employer and the loan will be deducted to repay the loan.
With the help of blockchain, the performance of a student can be monitored. This will help to prevent giving loans to non-performing students. If the student performance is monitored through blockchain, it will help the loans to be given based on the credits earned.
The blockchain is a new concept in the education sector. However, there are hundreds of possibilities of its use in this sector. But just like the other technologies we enjoy today such as the internet, eLearning, online payment and so much more also faced the same challenges blockchain is facing today.
These blockchain possibilities in the education sector can help revitalize the education system by helping to come up with student-friendly learning programs. The more the learning programs are made learning friendly, better results are guaranteed. Most importantly, blockchain technology being transparent in nature will help all education stakeholders to have confidence in the technology.
Due to the blockchain technology, we can expect the education sector to become a global education platform where students from all over the world can learn freely. If blockchain technology is combined with other existing technologies such as artificial intelligence, the education sector is set to be a worldwide education system.
From the top 20 possibilities outlined above, the future of blockchain in the education sector looks promising. Just handful institutions have adopted the blockchain today, but more and more institutions are likely to adopt this technology in the near future.