The technology of blockchain is being considered as a calculated and a purposeful technology, beyond the financial and industrial sectors with benefits that include storage of information on a permanent, secured and historical ledger that can be both private and public. This could alter the process of educational technology and application approach of the student data. A blockchain is a digital ledger in simple terms, and this is a basic form of definition it has. The blocks are all retrospective i.e referring to a signature of a previous block present in the chain, and we can trace the chain all the way back to the very first block made and it entails an unchangeable record of all the transactions made.
In terms of education what this implies is that student data can be shared collectively among different institutions including the data from co-curricular activities, online learning tools, employment history and all other learning experiences. With the use of this technology, the data can be shared, exchanged, understood and validated across various parties. It could change the shape of students’ learning experiences and help improve and develop course design, transferring credits, or authenticate qualifications for an employment to a potential employer.
It is important to note that not all the blockchain use bitcoins, mining or use the same rules to mining as the bitcoins does. The blockchains can be handled by a consortium where the members take the decisions regarding the block processing. In addition, the block chains can also be private where one institution has a control over everything. A university might be interested to host a private blockchain or maybe a group of universities.
The following benefits can be availed through blockchain technology in educational sector:
- Educator certification, credentialing and re-certification, both national lines and across state
- Management and tracking of school assets such as property, transport, furniture, journal, textbooks and technology
- Management of privacy of students and parental opt in/opt out permission
- Management of the special education, lunch and attendance records
- Distribution of state or federal programmatic funds and private grants
- Payment and distribution of students loans
Blockchain is still in its early age, in terms of adoption and its development, and there are certain challenges. Bitcoins costs are fluctuating and still too hard to buy, transactions take enough time, and it is reliant on users to save the public and private keys used to track the transactions permanently and safely. However, even in presence of all these challenges, it is here to stay with innovations, adaptations and experiments on the way at a faster pace.