Need to Know: What blockchain could mean for edtech - Tech Learning

Need to Know: What blockchain could mean for edtech

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Editor’s Note: Welcome to NewBay’s inaugural edition of Need to Know, where we explain complex topics and how they apply to each industry we serve, on our websites and in our magazines. Keep coming back for future topics, to include 5G, cybersecurity, artificial intelligence and more.

“This will go down on your permanent record!” It’s a phrase that could strike fear into many a student. And if blockchain technology emerges as proponents hope, it could reshape the way institutions create, save, and distribute student information.

As it stands, “blockchain” may very well be the first edtech buzzword of 2018, quickly becoming that term that everybody hears about but nobody knows quite what it is. To help explain, Tech & Learning asked Steve Chen, Industry co-lead at the Sutardja Center for Entrepreneurship & Technology at the the University of California, Berkeley: “Think of it like a notary public. The data being entered—student transcripts, graduation confirmations, recommendations, etc.—will be verified digitally, instead of the paper-based systems that still exist today.”

See our full Need to Know for more facts about blockchain.

Of course, every educator has heard about the promise of the paperless classroom before. And there are many technical and political hurdles to pass before blockchain technology can have an effect. Furthermore, to the average user this tool will be invisible, baked into a larger learning management system. Nevertheless, there are enough innovators excited by the concept, and investors willing to finance it, that blockchain has the potential to change both higher and k12 education.

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Have a burning question about blockchain — or maybe request for a different topic you’d like to see us tackle? Email us at needtoknow@nbmedia.com and we’ll put our top minds on it!

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