One of the largest and most intriguing developments in the previous century is crypto-currency. The concept of decentralized virtual money allowing rapid and anonymous transactions attracts millions of investors. Bitcoin, however, is not just an asset, but also an entire system that may transform the social activities of all sectors. The system is called the blockchain, a technique previously used by the health and financial industries. More industries will use blockchain. One of them is certainly the education sector.
Today, we observe artificial intelligence developments, intelligent classrooms, and distant learning supported by state-of-the-art technologies. In future years, blockchain is likely to become part of schools. How can blockchain be used in the education sector? Let’s explore the potential consequences of this technology and the possible benefits that it may offer to the learning process.
1. Improve education by decentralized sharing of education resources
Open educational resources are not limited to textbooks, lessons, or curriculum. They can also be educational games, podcasts, videos, and applications. They substantially reduce the cost of content to students and have been used to empower teachers and learners through increased timely access to quality content, which improves learning. Blockchain can be described as a digital ledger or database that is distributed on a network. This technology isn’t controlled by any central authority, so that open educational resources as the “blocks” in the “chain” can be securely and effectively shared in a public network. Blockchain can support the dissemination of open educational resources on a global scale.
Currently, there are many online education platforms, offering diverse courses with rich content. Nevertheless, the courses are not shared across the platforms, due to the constraints like education mode, copyright, etc. For those learning different types of courses, the user experience is rather poor because they have to log into different platforms. Similarly, it is very difficult for students of higher learning to study the knowledge in another school or discipline. Many quality course resources are wasted because of the absence of unified and efficient utilization. With the rise of the sharing economy (e.g. shared bikes), society is calling for better utilization of resources. In the education field, resource sharing marks the future direction of development. Blockchain technology makes it possible to realize resource sharing in online education.
A smart contract is a program system developed on a cryptographic security mechanism as a typical application of blockchain technology. It can complete complex trans-action operations without human intervention. The system also supports automatic execution and automatic verification. Smart contract technology can simplify the transaction process, realize smart, automated, and decentralized transactions, and improve transaction security.
Smart contracts preclude the formation of a huge resource-sharing platform for online education. The online education platform can complete course purchase, settlement, and acceptance efficiency and accurately without incurring any labor charges based on smart contracts. The distributed storage and collective maintenance of blockchain allow the students to acquire the resources of different platforms by logging into only one node in the blockchain network. Furthermore, the education resource data will not be invalidated when individual nodes are damaged in attacks, which is a strong guarantee of data security. In addition, global knowledge systems like Wikipedia, research institutions, academic journals, and other education data can be added to the blockchain network using blockchain technology, creating a global knowledge base. The nodes in any blockchain network can access these knowledge resources. This greatly improves learning efficiency and enriches learning methods.
2. Increase student’s interest in online education platforms
Despite the immense popularity of online education platforms, the students are not enthusiastic after learning a few courses because the learning results are neither publicly recognized nor officially certified. This is attributable to the lag in pushing forward the certification of learning results. At present, third-party agencies inefficiently carry out certification for online education. This mode cannot meet the needs of the boom of online education in the future. When a student is hunting for a job, the employer will verify his/her archived certificates in the education platform or the school. If he/she loses a certificate, the student has to go through a complicated and inefficient process to obtain another copy of the certificate from the platform or the school. Blockchain technology, however, provides a simple, efficient solution to certification of learning results, especially academic certification. The students’ certificates can be verified easily even if they are lost.
The blockchain adopts an asymmetric encryption algorithm in cryptography to ensure the security and credibility of the data. On this basis, it is possible to design a set of learning results certification systems. First, the online education platform or the issuing organization records the learning data of students based on the blockchain technology, including the basic information, the course information, the course scores, the date of issuance, etc., and encrypts the data by the private key of the platform or organization. Then, the system issues the encrypted digital certificates to the students and other recipients within the network. In this case, the employer can perform Hash verification of the digital certificates using the public key of the platform or organization.
Blockchain technology can provide a credible learning results certification system, owing to blockchain data’s non-temperable and cryptographic nature. With this system, the students do not have to worry about the loss of the certificate. The online education platform or organization can streamline the certificate preparation process. The employer spends less on the verification of the learning results.
3. Limit the situation of forging diplomas
A student's certificates and credentials, like their grades, can be stored on a blockchain. Rather than contacting the institution that produces a paper copy certificate, any employer should just have access to the digital diploma. It keeps people from lying to future employers by presenting fake degrees, which happens all too often.
The academic resources will be accessible, secure and unchangeable, as a result of this. Every time material is used, it is logged in the chain, and the owner has complete control over who has access to it. Online usage can be traced, and ownership may be simply established. Simultaneously, robust security procedures protect this information from tampering.
This means that resources created with blockchain will have permanence online that preserves all content adaptations. All resources saved as blockchain records are safe and long-lasting. This can become very important if an institution disappears, or if a creator moves on to work elsewhere or retires.
4. Eliminate concerns about plagiarism in education
Plagiarism is a serious issue in the academic world. It is possible to utilize blockchain technology for the dissemination of copyrighted material over the internet. This fear is reduced with the use of blockchain because the blocks in the chain cannot be altered. No matter how the resource changes, it is always possible to determine the original creator. The main purpose of blockchain technology is to protect the education data that has been captured in a chain.
What’s relevant to understand is that blockchain can be used to securely facilitate collaborations among two or more people. Users cannot remove or modify the original data. All changes can be easily traced as each new block in the chain is time-stamped. These matters cause some authors of open educational resources to fear not being attributed or plagiarized. As a result, data inside the chain cannot be manually changed because of the sophisticated encryption mechanisms in place.
Adaptations require the creation of a new block that is automatically linked to the original. The block-encapsulated open educational resources are incorruptible. When every block in the iteration of a resource is time-stamped and recorded, plagiarism becomes obsolete.
The tracing features of blockchain allow authors to see if or when their work is being misused and allows them to challenge any improper usage. Transactions cannot be hidden, and so every adaptation of the source is traceable. Users can upload new versions of the source. Trackability is maintained as each block or ledger is distributed on the network.
5. Reduce investment costs for the education industry
Several of the aforementioned applications would automate a variety of time-consuming and labor-intensive tasks. This lowers educational expenditures, potentially saving money for kids who won't have to repay loans for years. Schools and universities might save money by cutting out intermediaries in different procedures and reducing file storage space.
Blockchain technology has three main benefits: transparency, security, and decentralization. Technology has a huge impact on education, with many possibilities for enhancing learning processes, stimulating research, and simplifying academic records. Many creative blockchain educational projects have already been started with applications in verifiable credentials, peer-to-peer tutoring systems, and student-teacher relations powered by smart contracts.
If you want to be a part of the new technological wave of education, use our experienced software development team's blockchain skills to help you come up with a tailored adoption plan and bring it to reality. Contact us now and discover the bespoke solutions to transform your educational institution's performance with blockchain technology.