Does Blockchain matter for EdTech?
Anywhere transactions occur between parties is a target for disruptive applications based on Blockchain technology. This includes educational institutions that hold records about students. Traditionally, students have relied on educational institutions to manage data about their learning achievements. These transactions are centralised and create a lifelong administrative burden for institutions to administer, and students to access. If you’re applying for a new postgraduate degree, you have to contact each institution where you’ve completed previous qualifications and request a separate transcript for each qualification often at a cost of up to €20 each. Blockchain technology could transform these processes by distributing a student's record across the network. The student's data becomes accessible, transparent, verified and secure without the need for continuing intervention by a third-party educational institution.
How and when people experience learning has changed dramatically in the last two decades. Learning takes place in a variety of contexts including negotiated and modularised learning with traditional institutions, executive education short courses, blended learning, digital and mobile learning, and digital certification on completion from a host of providers across the globe. Distributed ledger technology promises transparent, secure applications that can be accessed by students, employees and employers to verify educational records independent of provider or location.
Accreditation records is just one application of Blockchain in education. More possible applications related to education and learning are appearing as the intensity of Blockchain development accelerates. The illustration below from Open Blockchain demonstrates how Blockchain technology could empower students to access and control their own educational data on e-portfolios, feedback and accreditation.