Will Blockchain Invade Education?

CHAIN GANG: “Blockchain” is one of the trendiest technologies of the moment. It's also one of the most difficult to understand. What does distributed, unalterable, public-record database mean? The technology powers Bitcoin, the widely-debated digital currency that is even piquing the curiosity of Wall Street. But what applications could it have in education?

Audrey Watters breaks down blockchain into digestible parts in a post on Hack Education. She describes the technology and its history, as well as who’s invested in it. Watters also challenges some of the hype of education projects that use blockchain, like “the Ledger,” an idea presented by the Institute for the Future and the ACT Foundation. These projects typically revolve around decentralized credentialing. Watters asks ideological questions, such as “Is learning transactional?” “Who is trusted and mistrusted in education?” and “What happens to privacy in a ‘world ledger’ of education transactions?”

These questions intersect with the work of badging/blockchain thought leaders like Carla Casilli and Kerri Lemoie. They are part of team BadgeChain, a young organization exploring Open Badges as a space for the collision of openness, credentialing and blockchain. Today, in the first of a series of articles, Casilli explores the evolution of badges as the perfect precursor to blockchain. Stay tuned!

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