There is no doubt that the education system is far from where it needs to be, but it is important to keep in mind that the implementation of blockchain in education can result in the advancement of the sector.
There are many areas in the education sector that would be improved by utilizing blockchain technology. This is a sector that is just as essential as healthcare and finance and it can benefit greatly from the use of blockchain technology.
What is blockchain?
Blockchain is a decentralized digital ledger that is replicated across numerous computers.
Blockchain is a series of “blocks” that stores data such as transaction dates, timings, amounts, and/or participants in an immutable, decentralized database.
How can blockchain be implemented in education?
Blockchain can be implemented within individual educational institutions, groups of educational institutions, and both national and international educational bodies.
There are several ways that blockchain can be used in the education industry, some of which are as follows:
- Blockchain-powered digital certificates
- Record keeping
- Expanding MOOCs
- Open Source Universities
- Smart contract
Blockchain-powered digital certificates
Graduates of MIT received digital certificates in 2017. They were delivered to students via their smartphones. It differed in a number of ways from a typical paper diploma.
A blockchain certificate will never be misplaced, unlike a traditional certificate. It also cannot ever be fabricated.
Your certifications will always be with you, wherever you go. Digital blockchain certificates can also do away with the necessity for a traditional clearinghouse or the university to act as an intermediary when issuing transcripts.
Moving between universities would be a lot simpler if students started storing all of their credentials on the blockchain. They won’t let obstacles like transferring credits stand in the way of their education.
Blockchain technology is incredibly safe. Almost no changes can be made to data once it has been added. As a result, all of your certificates are secure.
In addition to secured certificates, the blockchain network makes it impossible to forge educational credentials. A certificate or record of academic achievement that is permanently digitally present on a decentralized blockchain network won’t need to be worried about being lost or faked.
For educational institutions, maintaining records might be difficult because it’s simple to mix up, confuse, and swiftly change files. Blockchain provides an autonomous alternative, making this work considerably simpler.
Blockchain’s security characteristics can assist safeguard student records. Blockchain can provide improved data management and record-keeping for things like learning materials, academic achievements, and transcripts.
Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are becoming more and more popular for promoting economic mobility and lifelong learning, but the companies that offer these online courses must demonstrate their qualifications.
By offering globally available credentials and enabling transactions for simpler microtransactions on a course-by-course basis, blockchain technology can provide these courses with a greater level of credibility.
Open Source Universities
Finding less expensive options is crucial because of the escalating expense of schooling. One of the factors that contributed to the success of the idea of Open Source University (OSU) was the high expense of higher education.
You may keep all of your educational credentials with OSUs, lending credibility to less expensive and alternative forms of education that are nevertheless respected by companies.
Additionally, OSUs provide their own courses that are very reasonably priced. Credentials will be simple to verify and access by being stored on a centralized Blockchain database along with certificates and credentials obtained from OSUs. As a result, it removes the possibility of diploma market fraud.
Blockchain education’s efficiency, openness, and security can make managing OSUs simpler.
When a certain set of requirements or circumstances have been satisfied, blockchain can also be used to execute an agreement. In the educational industry, smart contracts can reduce paper effort. After a number of requirements have been satisfied, it might be used to verify attendance or assignment completions, for instance.
A smart contract detailing the parameters of an assignment, along with the due date and the grading deadline, might be signed by students and teachers.
Teachers can also program complete tests into the blockchain. Then, the tests can be given to the students, and the distributed ledger can be used to record the results. The entire grading procedure can be carried out by machines, but the blockchain will preserve the encrypted results.
There are numerous additional ways that smart contracts can contribute to the transformation of education.
Pros of blockchain implementation in education
Blockchain in the education system offers a lot of benefits to the industry. Some of the pros of blockchain implementation in education are
- Students can easily access data
- Enhanced efficiency and security
- Storage of files on the blockchain
- Trust and transparency between job seekers and employers
- Publishing research in the field of study
Students can easily access data
Data about students, including certificates, acquired skills, and other details, can be maintained on the blockchain. By doing this, a university or other central administration is eliminated. The student can own and control the material this way, and keep it for the rest of his or her life.
Employers will view you as credible because of this. This demonstrates that the data on their résumé is truthful.
Enhanced efficiency and security
Data about kids could be protected by blockchain. It accomplishes this by protecting their security, privacy, and identity. By employing a hash rather than storing the data, you can safeguard users’ privacy. Additionally, you can encrypt the data before putting it on the Blockchain.
The identification, confidentiality, and security of student data might be guaranteed using blockchain technology. Blockchain offers security and authenticity because of its immutability and hashing capability. Students are unable to change the prior academic information that is saved on the Blockchain, which is quite simple to do with paper records. By hashing the data instead of keeping it, you can preserve its privacy. Alternatively, you may encrypt the information before putting it on the Blockchain.
Trust and transparency between job seekers and employers
Student credibility cannot be changed. They are unable to use Blockchain to change their credentials, degrees, or grades. This guarantees to companies that job applicants possess the abilities required for the position.
This will help employers locate better candidates for the jobs that job seekers have applied for.
Storage of files on the blockchain
A university maintains a large number of records, including digital curriculum, diplomas, and other information, all of which require a lot of file storage space. If they save something to a local drive, information centralization might be an issue. Second, they can store information in the cloud, which could result in further fees.
Blockchain might be able to serve as a decentralized file storage option in this situation. Blockchain-based cloud storage services like Filecoin could be a potential solution.
Publishing research in the field of study
Every day, a ton of high-quality content is produced in the scientific field. The majority of the time spent by educationalists is spent performing original research, publishing the results, and advancing the subjects they work on by identifying future research topics.
Researchers would be able to publish without limitations, but in a way that would enable them to monitor the reuse of their research, such as how frequently work is cited and used as teaching materials, enabling them to monitor its impact in the field, which is important because it can result in accolades and future funding.
Blockchains would be useful for managing rights and preventing piracy.
Cons of blockchain implementation in education
Despite the potential advantages of blockchain, there are still barriers to its implementation. Here are some of the drawbacks of blockchain implementation in education:
- Data security and privacy
- Adoption rate
- Immature and rapidly changing
Block sizes would grow as a result of educational institutions collecting vast quantities of data on numerous students. Transactions on the blockchain take longer as additional blocks are added because each transaction needs peer-to-peer verification (e.g., Bitcoin technology can only handle three to seven transactions per second).
The speed of transactions on the blockchain is slowed down as a result.
Thus, when blockchain-in-education solutions are investigated and potentially deployed on a large scale, scalability may be a substantial barrier.
Adopting and putting into practice new technology is expensive, despite the fact that it can save money in other areas. The expense of adding computer power and altering the current infrastructure can add up quickly.
Additionally, many institutions do not have the expertise necessary to manage student data on a blockchain platform, resulting in the investment of time and money in educating school officials on how to use the technology.
Data security and privacy
Although the parties to the transaction have digitally signed the data, it is not by default encrypted. The blockchain is an open ledger system where anybody can join and validate any transaction in the network, but public key cryptography protects the confidentiality of the persons involved.
It may be necessary for educational institutions to put additional privacy protections in place by deploying private or permissioned blockchains or protocols like the Zero Knowledge proof.
It is exceedingly challenging to ensure anonymity while maintaining security on the blockchain, but it is essential—especially when a student’s career may be at stake. Beyond the difficulty of securing transactional secrecy via public and private keys, the issue of making transactions accessible to anybody with access to the blockchain should also be taken into account, as this information may be gathered and made public elsewhere.
Many academic institutions are still hesitant to use blockchain technology. The inability to manage students’ data on a blockchain platform due to a lack of understanding and expertise may be one cause of this lack of confidence.
This demonstrates that training school administrators on how to use and manage such applications internally may be the first step in successfully incorporating blockchain technology within educational institutions.
Thus, a critical first step in fostering market acceptance in higher education around the world is increasing knowledge and educating academic governance bodies about the advantages, deployment, and maintenance of blockchain-in-education solutions.
Immature and rapidly changing
Although blockchain technology’s potential applications (trust mechanisms, digital assets, etc.) are appealing, they are still relatively new inventions with a high chance of failure.
Since blockchain technology is still in its infancy and is evolving quickly, blockchain initiatives are frequently prone to failure and abandonment with upwards of 90% never coming to completion.
The realization of these benefits and disruptions is likely to require a longer time than the present buzz would suggest. Because of this, academics frequently assert that adopting a pilot attitude while pursuing blockchain-in-education solutions is essential; all stakeholders participating in the blockchain education process should continuously carry out a thorough risk analysis.
The success rate of blockchain-based educational solutions may be impacted by the relative immaturity of blockchain technologies.
Blockchain technology has the ability to transform the educational sector by automating record keeping and sharing, enhancing data security and trust, and granting students lifetime ownership of their academic records.
Blockchain adoption in education improves resource usage and the effectiveness of the school ecosystem. In the process, issues including cost, scalability, and adoption rate will also need to be addressed.
Blockchain technology implementation in the educational sector would bring in a more safe, more open, cooperative, innovative, and future-ready educational system that is well worth the money.
The educational process is expected to be completely transformed by distributed ledger technology.
The development of blockchain technology is still in its infancy, however, it would be intriguing to see what applications this technology has for the field of education.