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3 surprising uses of Blockchain in education

Education is not the first thing that springs to mind if you think about Blockchain. Yet, it may make the lives of both teachers and students easier, as well as crank up administrative efficiency in institutes that are sometimes reviled for being slow to adapt to technology innovations.

Building bridges between educations

Most students commonly attend two or three different schools in their lives, each with their own way of grading and assessing students. If students, however, would start out in primary school or kindergarten with their own personal Blockchain in the cloud where their school sends up its reports, the student retains a life-long overview of all their educational achievements.

Not only does this severely limit chances of students forging credentials – as only legitimate institutions would be allowed access to this type of Blockchain – it also offers a source of information for the student to trace potential further educational pursuits. No longer would students have to rely on gut feeling to choose a higher education track, but they will always have the data to back up their idea.

In fact, when a student later enters the workforce, the data from the Blockchain can be poured into a CV, so that a prospective employer knows their potential employee is the real deal. This increases trust and decreases the chances of someone smuggling half-truths or outright lies into the record.

Cryptograding: building credit

As Blockchain was primarily designed with cryptocurrencies in mind, it just takes a few tweaks to turn a new Blockchain into a grading or credit system. Immediately, average test scores can be calculated simply by turning to an app linked to the Blockchain, e.g. in countries where universities select students based on earlier educational merits.

Treating grades a form of personalized currency could also lead to broader educational reforms, wherein students may earn extra ‘currency’ for completing extracurricular activities or taking on additional classes, or may afford to gloss over one particular subject they are bad at (let’s say P.E.) so that they are not required to re-take an exam in a subject they have no intention of ever pursuing further in their later lives.

While Blockchain’s native immutability is often an asset, it could be a potential liability here. Some teachers are known to practice favoritism or single out certain pupils for mistreatment. Grades that are incorrectly given can’t just be erased or taken back. However, the Blockchain can turn into the cure for its own ailment here.

Tracking the teacher

Today’s teachers often do a thankless job and apart from teaching, are expected to fulfill more and more administrative obligations. Not only are teachers usually no natural-born admins, it exhausts them and may cause them to leave the profession altogether. By entering, say, test scores and essay grades into a Blockchain, not only does this mean fewer stacks of papers in cabinets, it also becomes very easy to find old data without having to navigate a big physical archive.

In addition, instead of going through assessments that often feel pointless and politics-driven, analytics software can pick out trends and averages, or flag abnormalities in the teacher’s record. For instance, if two math teachers have an average difference of 2 in their grading of students in the same year, something may be amiss and this could be used as a basis for a reorientation, instead of vague complaints of pupils and parents.

This would spare teachers who do their job excellently and as expected from pointless functional assessments, and would more quickly single out those who need a nudge in a different direction. Naturally, this system would meet with resistance from various corners: it’s too rigid, too Orwellian, the apps may not do what they should, and so on.

Managing the resistance

Resistance to change is as universal as change itself. But tech changes don’t (usually) fail because the technology is bad, but because it has people behind the driving wheel and because humans have a natural instinct to choose the devil they know over something new-fangled. That’s why managing change is extremely important.

Managing change is something where we can step onto the scene. People who resist change may have different motivations: they may simply require better information, or may want to know why, exactly, things should change (i.e. “what’s in it for me?”), or they may have a feeling of general malaise with the organization that isn’t related to the change per se.

In addition, IT people and developers tend to not be the greatest or most efficient communication managers. We can bridge that gap. Curious? Say hi or drop us a line, and we’ll see how we may be able to help you out on your project – educational or otherwise.

Verified on

March 29th 2019, 08:23

Categorized: Education