Disruptive technology has become a hot topic, with the rise of Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) and cryptocurrencies. All these new inventions have one thing in common – blockchain technology. People predict that blockchain technology will change everything in our lives. Things may change from the way we spend money to the way we interact with others. Blockchain technology has become more common in the technology and financial industry. As a result, it has caused me to wonder how blockchain technology is going to change the education industry?
What is blockchain technology?
To explain what block chain technology is, it is technology that aims to make transactions clear and simpler. Blockchain allows the exchange of goods or money (cryptocurrency) with no middleman. Every exchange is recorded and encrypted into the blockchain code. Different computers will verify the code. As a result, it makes sure that all exchanges are traceable, which makes it transparent.
Ease of verifying educational records
First, I believe that blockchain technology will ease the authentication of school records. Block chaining will mean that there is no need for physical certificates. The blockchain records can verify if you have the qualifications. How this may work is that schools in the future may log down students’ graduation certificates in the blockchain technology. Schools can share this information to prove such educational records. Physical certificates may soon become a thing of the past.
OpenCerts is an example of a blockchain platform that offers to help schools in Singapore to issue and validate tamper-resistant digital academic certificates to students. The Government Technology Agency, Ministry of Education, Ngee Ann Polytechnic and SkillsFuture Singapore have collaborated to develop this platform. All the transcripts from a student will be linked to their MySkillFuture account and offers more convenience to find and access their certificates.
This will be beneficial for students living in rural countries that are more prone to natural disasters. If natural disasters destroyed the physical certificate, students do not have to worry as they can retrieve it from the blockchain code.
Authentication is also very important as there have been rising cases of people faking qualifications in order to get employment. In the education industry, it is important that the teachers hired are qualified. From my experience, having an unqualified teacher can hinder learning or even reduce the passion for learning. It will affect the standard of education that students receive. Teachers play a big role in education. Thus, it is important that we provide trained teachers to give students the best standard of education possible.
Decentralised learning refers to learning that does not have a central authority that controls their learning, for example, schools or teachers. It means students will be in charge of what they learn and how fast they will learn. Companies are exploring the use of blockchain technology to expand decentralised learning. We may encrypt future educational records into blockchain, which makes the learning journey easier to track.
One such company is Studyum. They work through encrypting student’s academic progress via a learn and earn system. As a student progresses through a course, they will earn a token. They can earn tokens through watching videos or submitting coursework. When the student graduates, they will receive a graduation certificate as an NFT.
An encrypted academic progress can help to tackle dishonest education systems. Schools cannot change grades or logs because of the encryption. In the future, we may see such use of blockchain technology being adopted by many schools to encourage independent learning.
Transparency is a controversial issue that often arises in the education, especially in school funding. There have been many scandals, such as bribery of grades and school admissions. However, disruptive technology can increase accountability of the school in handling funds. With the use of cryptocurrencies, it can show how the funds are being used. For example, where they come from or where it is being transferred. This helps to prevent the mishandling of school funding, especially in countries where corruption is rampant. Ensuring the transparency of school funding ensures that they invest the money in the education of students. Thus, the ability to trace things and the transparency of cryptocurrencies can help forge a more honest education system.
Many people are wary about disruptive technology, especially at the fast rate it is developing. Most only see its use in the financial sector, but such technology applies in other areas of our life, like education. In fact, it may even revolutionise our education systems and form the foundations of a new future-forward system that could benefit anyone with access to technology.
That being said, we should also acknowledge that not everyone has access to technology. Such rapid improvements and disruptive technology may leave them behind. However, with projects such as the CaseStudy by Patatas, we hope to bring more digital literacy to less developed nations in SouthEast Asia. You may find out more by clicking here.
Overall, the disruptive technology may be uncertain, but holds many exciting opportunities that can improve the world.