What We're Doing
Blockchain of Thought is a research study we are conducting about the future of education.
Online Focus Group
Exploring the impact technology might have on education over the next 5-7 years.
Our goal is to explore how technologies such as blockchain might change the collection, storage, and sharing of all forms of data within the education system.
What Is Blockchain
Blockchain is a digital ledger and record-keeping system.
How It Works
Today, we know it as the technology behind Bitcoin and other digital currencies, but many people believe it has much broader potential.
Imagine a long chain with many links. When a transaction whose record is stored in the system takes place, a new link, or “block,” is added to the chain.
Algorithms that live on thousands of computers around the world verify that the transaction took place fairly and accurately according to the terms of the agreement. This means that the database is distributed, not centralized like a bank’s traditional record-keeping system.
The information about the transaction – that it happened, the amount exchanged, and when the transaction took place – is stored on all the computers participating in the blockchain, but the identities of the people who participated are encrypted. All of that makes it more difficult to tamper with, hack into, or scam.
When a decentralized blockchain network replaces third-parties, there is a wide range of potential use cases, as it eases and reduces the cost of transactions.
Startups are now accelerating on this technology, and famous VC investors, like Marc Andreessen, even compare it to previous tech revolutions: “Personal computers in 1975, the Internet in 1993 and Bitcoin in 2014.”
At present, the hype around blockchain and its ability to disrupt everything from finance to voting is high. We want to push past the excitement about this new technology and explore its real potential to improve teaching and learning for:
You may participate in 1 or more tracks for this online research study.
Student Data Infrastructure
Schools, districts, service providers and governments collect, store, share and use large amounts of student data. From district bus routes to class schedules to the decisions teachers make about how to meet individual student needs, nearly every daily education process is fueled by data, and all stakeholders are seeking ways to use it most effectively, fairly and securely. How might blockchain technology be used to make these data processes more efficient, informative and secure?
Assessment & Credentialing
Students are formally assessed through grades and tests. They are informally assessed through observation and feedback. In addition to assessment of and for learning, they earn official credentials in the form of credits, diplomas and degrees (unofficial ones by progressing through the school system in lower grades).
Alternative forms of credentials are also emerging, including those issued by community-based learning providers. How might blockchain technology more effectively track what students have learned and issue them proof of that learning?
Accountability & Other Forms of Quality Assurance
Schools and districts are formally evaluated on data such scores on state- and federally mandated tests, attendance rates, levels of teacher experience and credentials, and discipline records.
As the education system continues to diversify and disagreement over accountability measures persists, schools, other learning providers, and the government agencies that oversee them are looking for ways to verify quality learning experiences. How might blockchain technology more effectively capture the data points that go into assuring that a school or other learning provider is meeting its learners’ needs?
We're looking for creative thinkers and leaders.
We're looking for a mix of education experts, blockchain enthusiasts and data-oriented thinkers who are curious and enjoy exploring new topics.
We've included a description of blockchain above to give you an initial idea of what it is.