update 19 August 2021

Integration of Blockchain Technology into The Education Systems

Blockchain can be considered one of the most exciting developments in technology over the last century. The rapid evolution of decentralized computing systems and hacker-proof ledgers has led to blockchain technology adoption in several companies and industries

Formerly, traditional sectors like finance and healthcare have opened their doors to utilizing this ledger technology in their systems. As a known catalyst of change, blockchain has revolutionized the speed of transactions and trust in the system.

However, does it stand a chance in the education sector?

Even with the great strides in educational technology, such as the development of smart classrooms and distance learning, education systems have a lot to be achieved. 

In fact, the market for educational technology is estimated to reach $93.76 billion globally in the next year.

Blockchain has the means to become an integral part of the education system too, but how does this technology fit in with the administrators and students? Let’s look at the potential impact this distributed ledger technology (DLT) can have on learning institutions.

Cybersecurity

Privacy and security are issues that concern the general population globally. Blockchain’s permanent feature- data are once written in blockchain can never be changed just added on- makes its transactions tamper-proof. Most of the sectors that have adopted blockchain technology are rather security-focused, like banks and financial institutions. 

Security and privacy are a significant concern in educational institutions with cybercrime on the rise. These hackers are now targeting student information to use them in creating fake identities and commit other crimes. 

Unfortunately, schools and the students’ data are prone to data breaches. Overprotective parents are no longer just being unnecessarily paranoid when they question how well their children’s data is protected.

Educational institutions should follow the lead of other security-conscious industries and secure their data using this ledger technology. This protection will extend beyond student information and other areas, making educational material accessible tamper-proof and preventing plagiarism. 

Furthermore, they can employ blockchain security protocols like installing security cameras and sensors that are hacker-proof and digital badges for students and employees that can’t be replicated. Keeping the students safe, both physically and digitally through blockchain, will make a big difference in the education system.

Record Keeping

Blockchain technology is founded on distributed ledgers that provide a way for information to be accessible for everyone. Members of the blockchain can obtain a copy of the report at any given time, and changes to the data are validated collectively. The information is permanent and traceable, making it possible for members to view transaction histories. 

So how can this feature be applied to schools?

Educational institutions are characterized by having student information to store, track down, and distribute. They are also in charge of supplying the students’ credentials to the next institution after graduation or transfer. Performing these tasks on a centralized system sometimes leads to mix-ups and long processing times.

Blockchain technology comes in to transform the institution’s record-keeping systems by opening them up to students’ access. Ledger technology eliminates the need for intermediaries and makes the digital credentials accessible to students at school. This also reduces the risk of fake students claiming they earned a degree from said institutions.

Graduates today face a lot of challenges when presenting their credentials to potential employers. The process of connecting the employer to the graduate’s former institutions is both time and resource-consuming. Distributed ledger technology provides a secure and tamper-proof network for credential verification to all members. 

The process is guaranteed to be fast as it eliminates the need for employers to contact the schools for verification. 

Payments via Cryptocurrency

Some higher learning institutions are accepting cryptocurrency as legitimate payment for fees. These institutions are using blockchain to manage the custodianship of student tuition efficiently. They are reducing processing time and third party stalling transactions that come with fee payment. 

However, these institutions are only accepting cryptocurrency from students enrolled in technology-related studies. They are not yet equipped with enough infrastructure to take that form of payment in more significant numbers.

Real-life Institutions that Infused Blockchain in Their Systems

The University of Melbourne is using blockchain technology to issue digital credentials. This has created a network where students can share verified copies of their qualifications with employers or other interested parties in a hacker-proof system.

Class of 2018 MIT graduates chose to receive a digital version of their diplomas on a blockchain-based app. Their academic records will forever exist in the system, ready to be accessed by potential employers.

Sony has developed a blockchain platform that is a digital certificate-issuing system. It records educational achievements and other student information in a secure network.

 King’s College in New York City became one of the first institutions to accept bitcoin as payment. The use of cryptocurrency in an accredited U.S. institution builds the currency’s legitimacy in the education industry’s 

Many other institutions have embraced blockchain technology to speed up transactions. 

EndNote

Blockchain application in education is tentative as most institutions are still in the piloting phase of its use. The only way to see the full effect of the ledger technology is through open implementations. This might take a while as the institutions which haven’t joined in are on a wait-and-see stance. The fear of the potential risks that might come with an ‘immature’ system holds this group back. 

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The institutions that are shy to dive into the technology fully should consider maybe dipping their toes—giving one aspect of the technology a try, like the distributed ledger, to see if it will iron out the kinks in the old systems. There is a lot of room for improvement in the education industry, and exploring technological advancements is a good start.

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