The blockchain is probably best known for its use as the backbone of cryptocurrency technology. However, you might have also heard a number of experts, analysts, and industry pundits predicting that blockchain technology could revolutionize a number of fields. Among these is the field of education. But what could the technology that underpins cryptocurrencies have to do with the world of education?
It turns out, a lot more than you might think! Blockchain technology offers a number of possibilities for the field of education. The following applications are among the most promising potential integration opportunities that blockchain has to offer.
Payments via Cryptocurrencies
Cryptocurrencies have been very much in the spotlight recently for a number of different reasons. If you have been following the recent news surrounding cryptocurrencies, you have probably read about the number of people who believe that cryptocurrencies could help civilization to achieve economic independence from governments. This idealistic streak runs through much of the current thinking regarding cryptocurrencies, and blockchain more generally.
Any service, business, or organization that needs to accept payments can make use of cryptocurrencies, which are based on the blockchain, to do so. There are already a small number of universities – University of Nicosia, King’s College New York, and Simon Fraser University in BC among them – who have begun to allow students to pay for their tuition using cryptocurrencies.
It takes a considerable amount of time and resources for a university or other institution to verify a diploma. Not only is it a time-consuming process, it also often requires that confirmation is requested from universities.
To address this problem, and to make the certification process cheaper, quicker, and easier for universities and other organizations, universities such as MIT are experimenting with app-based solutions. This app utilizes blockchain technology to allow individuals to share their credentials digitally and directly. The verification of these credentials is indisputable because of the level of security the distributed ledger of blockchain offers.
As universities find ways to implement blockchain-based solutions for verifying the authenticity of student records, they can reduce the costs of this necessary work.
Blockchain could ultimately be used to allow every student within an educational system to carry with them a kind of digital certificate of achievement. This could contain a variety of information. In addition to recording a student’s grades and qualifications, this digital passport could contain information about specific achievements and extra-curricular activities. For example, in the future, the best essay writers in a given subject could be identified through their digital passports as being great candidates for research programs within universities.
The Open University in the UK has recently introduced its Open Badges scheme. This gives each student a digital badge which, via the utilization of blockchain technology, can store information about student’s achievements.
Blockchain technology has shown potential in a number of different industries and applications. The ability to be able to indisputably verify the authenticity and originality of digital documents could be revolutionary for society as a whole.