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Blockchain in Education

Blockchain in education: Potential and challenges. Its rapid evolution could revolutionize many of the fundamental aspects of our current education system.

Blockchain has the potential to completely revolutionize the education sector by providing a secure, transparent, and tamper-proof platform for storing and sharing academic records. It is worth noting that education has undergone tremendous changes in recent years, from the traditional classroom to eLearning, and date, we have moved towards blended learning. On the other hand, the COVID-19 pandemic also increased the adoption of digital learning, prompting schools worldwide to start using online platforms and learning management systems (LMS) to teach students.

Also, the Blockchain’s immutable record technology provides a platform for verifying transcripts, diplomas, and test scores. In addition, some experts also believe that professors, university administrators, and students could use Smart Contracts to agree on due dates for assignments and exams.

Smart contracts and certification of degrees

It is important to note that Smart Contracts could also facilitate the work of educators. A smart contract consists of a program stored on a Blockchain that will automatically execute when certain conditions occur. Thus, You can use Smart Contracts to manage course content and delivery and could automate the delivery of course materials, such as readings, videos, and quizzes, by tracking student progress and completion of assignments, helping reduce the administrative workload and improve the overall organization of courses in the education sector.

On the other hand, the market for fake degrees and certificates is increasing along with online learning. As a product of this, this problem is becoming a concern for many companies and education institutions worldwide. However, Blockchain technology can solve this problem with certification management, as universities can store certificates on blocks as immutable data. In addition, students can easily share these credentials using their addresses, social media profiles, and resumes. It is worth noting that several Blockchain development companies offer identity and certificate management services. As a reference, there are “Blockcerts,” a platform developed in partnership with “MIT Media Lab,” which aims to create, issue, and verify Blockchain-backed certificates.

Rewards in cryptocurrencies and tuition payments

Likewise, another existing problem in the education sector is transferring documents and verifying them when a student changes schools, requiring a lot of time for the student, teacher, and administration. Blockchain technology can be a solution, as you can use it to streamline the verification process in schools and universities through its interoperable network. On the other hand, it may not be long before academic institutions can incentivize students to repay student loans on time and teachers to motivate students by awarding cryptocurrencies as rewards to those who perform highly or complete a major. Thus, the gamification aspect of education, through tokenization, could be helpful to the education sector.

Awarding tokens as incentives could help create a more engaging and interactive learning environment, helping students develop critical thinking and communication skills. As a reference for this is “BitDegree,” a platform that combines Blockchain technology and tokenization in the technology-focused online education sector. This company offers free and paid online courses on cryptocurrencies, Blockchain implementation, and gamified coding, incentivizing learning by offering tokenized scholarships for completing courses or achievements. In addition, People use Blockchain for student payment processing, which is another crucial area. Many expect cryptocurrencies to assume a critical role in this area as a payment method for students. Institutions such as King’s College in New York City accept Bitcoins as a payment method.

Certification of grades and cost reduction

Blockchain technology can also improve transparency and accountability in the educational field using an immutable record of “educational data,” including transcripts, that is verifiable and tamper-proof. Such a tool provides the opportunity for academic achievements to be validated with complete accuracy and for employers to have confidence in the skills and knowledge of job applicants. In addition, when students transfer from one school to another, the transfer of documents and their verification is time-consuming. You can also simplify the verification process by introducing Blockchain technology in schools and universities, as when a student transfers from one institute to another. Organizations can transfer student’s records to the new institute through the Blockchain.

You can use the same approach when students travel to other institutes outside their home country, as grades can be easily shared between educational units without restriction through the Blockchain, reducing administrative costs. On the other hand, several of the previously mentioned Blockchain solutions represent time-consuming and labor-intensive processes. However, by implementing Blockchain technology, we can automate them, reducing operational costs for educational institutions, which could translate into cheaper tuition for students. You can also use Blockchain technology to provide widespread access to free educational resources, such as teaching and learning materials that exist in the public domain and are free to use and redistribute, such as books, podcasts, and educational videos.

Challenges of using the Blockchain in education

However, despite the potential benefits of Blockchain technology, its adoption is still relatively limited in the educational field. In a 2019 Gartner survey, 50% of higher education respondents said they were not interested in using Blockchain. Furthermore, just 2% of them had adopted it, arguing their lack of interest was because Blockchain was still under development and had security risks. It is worth noting that although security is one of the main features of the Blockchain, that does not mean it is invulnerable. In addition, also complying with state and federal data protection laws could present challenges to its adoption.

On the other hand, there is also the scalability issue because educational institutions hold a large amount of data about their students. Therefore, as its adoption expands, the number of blocks required will increase, slowing the speed of transactions occurring on the Blockchain. In addition, another issue is cost. The Blockchain can generate savings at the operational level, but adopting and implementing any new technology is costly. In addition, many institutions lack the knowledge and skills to manage student data on a Blockchain platform, so they may need to invest in educating their staff. However, it is crucial to note that cryptocurrencies, Blockchain technology, and even Metaverse initiatives are changing the world as we know it. Therefore, incorporating this technology into the education sector will provide more opportunities for the youth and establish a framework to serve all strata to reach further while making learning an enjoyable journey.

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Blockchain in Education