Of 5 Scenarios for the Future of Education – a ‘Peer to Peer’ system was the preferred option in a recent global poll of education leaders, teachers, investors and entrepreneurs. Blockchain technology, or at least a decentralised network, is perhaps the fundamental dependency to achieving this future.
The last 6 months has seen hyper-experimentation in applications of blockchain technology to education and we share our first Education Blockchain Market Map made of 30+ start-ups, grouped into five organising themes.
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While a dominant model has not yet emerged, there are plenty of early signals about how blockchain technology can be usefully applied to education models and learning processes. Blockchain’s significant potential in education – from powering efficiency to collapsing costs or disrupting the current system – is becoming clearer to technologists, educationalists and governments alike.
Like all early innovation phases, we see lots of experimentation, some early wins, some unclear models and plenty of false starts.
Woolf - the first blockchain-powered university
Woolf aims to disrupt the economics of higher education. Reimagining how teachers and students connect by relying on blockchains and smart contracts to guarantee relationships, it is likened to ‘Airbnb of degree courses’ for students and a decentralised, non-profit, democratic community for teachers.
Woolf uses blockchains and smart contracts to automate administrative processes and reducing overhead costs and seeks to partner with existing universities to implement aspects of the platform.
ESL Coin – Applying blockchain to the ‘English as a Second Language’ industry. ESL Coin will provide a common means of payment and function as a decentralized autonomous database of ESL students, teachers and businesses. Smart contract technology will be used to assign reputations to users based on feedback from others, who will be initially verified by a blockchain-based ID system.
Anyone will be able to use this network to find ESL services or clients without paying hefty middlemen fees. Instead, what little fees exist will be redistributed as micropayments to native English speakers who help students practice.
NTOK is a decentralised tutoring marketplace, every student can find a tutor and every tutor can find a student. Unlike other “middleman” models for bringing students and tutors together, NTOK takes a minimal commission for direct contact.
Rather than paying a tutor by the hour at a fixed price, the ‘tokenizing talents’ concept introduces rules of trading based on blockchain Talent Tokens, which act as a prepaid token for tutor hours / lessons to be provided in the future.
A user may buy, exchange, or refund Talent tokens as well as use regular functions of a private tutoring infrastructure.
Learning Machine is a blockchain-based records provider in its second year of operation. Along with MIT Media Lab, Learning Machine is behind BlockCerts, the open source, open standard initiative for securing credentials on the blockchain.
Initially working with education institutions, Learning Machine provides an enterprise-grade verification service for academic qualifications. Now also servicing governments and employers, Learning Machine enables integration with HR systems, issuing proof-of-employment, building employee skills profiles and analytics functionality.
Disciplina aims to create a universal blockchain to hold verified personal profiles based on academic and professional achievements.
Focusing on skills and jobs, Disciplina intends to enable candidate search for specific skills and the establishment of personal career goal functionality where the system will develop an optimised educational path, aiming towards employment in a desired company.
One of the early online learning platforms using blockchain technology, Tutellus offers online video courses and incentivizes learning by issuing cryptocurrency (TUT token) to learners who complete their courses.
Employers can access the profiles of learners with the highest ‘relevance’ for their skills needs.
LiveEdu aims to build the ‘YouTube’ for online education content creators teach learners how to build real products in the fields of programming, game development, data analytics, design, augmented reality, virtual reality, artificial intelligence and cryptocurrencies.
People learn on the platform by watching how peers build real projects and can also download all project resources and files. The platform is powered by Education tokens which are used as payment for all financial transactions in the internal ecosystem, as well as rewards for project creators, students, site moderators, and API ecosystem developers.
BitDegree is a blockchain-powered online education platform focusing on delivering tech skills to the labor market.
The platform provides students with blockchain based rewards system ‘smart-incentive’ for successful completion of courses on the platform. Smart-incentive is a blockchain based smart-contract ensuring exchange of value (tokens) between the incentive creator (sponsor) and the incentive taker (student).
Any company (like a potential employer or a technology/service provider), government institution, (like a school, job centers or prisons) and even ordinary citizens can become an incentive creator.
Everipedia describes itself as the ‘next generation encyclopedia rebuilt for the modern age’.
Everipedia uses blockchain technology to reward users with tokens – these users curate and submit content to its database (the Everipedia Network) and get rewarded in the form of IQ tokens if the community approves the edits.
RoleCoin is a digital currency that brings transparency to STEM/STEAM education spending by providing proof-of-progress as it happens on STEAMRole, a skill and career-development mobile app that showcases videos and skill roadmaps from successful professionals with careers in science, tech, engineering, art/design and mathematics.
Larecoin is an upgradable upgradeable P2P tuition token used for education. Inclusive to its own token and digital asset exchange, Larecoin is used on a three layer technology engineered for students (lareX), educational systems (lareVIA) and business (lareR) use cases. For students, Larecoin can be used to pay tuition, student debts or purchase goods and services.