Blockchain: The move from freedom to the rigid, dominant system in learning — from oeb.global by Inge de Waard
In this post Inge de Waard gives an overview of current Blockchain options from industry and looks at its impact on universities as well as philosophises on its future.

Excerpt:

I mentioned a couple of Blockchain certification options already, but an even more advanced blockchain in learning example has entered on my radar too. It is a Russian implementation called Disciplina. This platform combines education (including vocational training), recruiting (comparable with what LinkedIn is doing with its economic graph) and careers for professionals. All of this is combined into a blockchain solution that keeps track of all the learners’ journey. The platform includes not only online courses as we know it but also coaching. After each training, you get a certificate.

TeachMePlease, which is a partner of Disciplina, enables teachers and students to find each other for specific professional training as well as curriculum-related children’s schooling. Admittedly, these initiatives are still being rolled out in terms of courses, but it clearly shows where the next learning will be located: in an umbrella above all the universities and professional academies. At present, the university courses are being embedded into course offerings by corporations that roll out a layer post-university, or post-vocational schooling.

Europe embraces blockchain, as can be seen with their EU Blockchain observatory and forum. And in a more national action, Malta is storing their certifications in a blockchain nationwide as well. We cannot deny that blockchain is getting picked up by both companies and governments. Universities have been piloting several blockchain certification options, and they also harbour some of the leading voices in the debate on blockchain certification.

 

Also see:

AI in education -- April 2019 by Inge de Waard

Future proof learning -- the Skills 3.0 project

 

Also see:

  • 7 blockchain mistakes and how to avoid them — from computerworld.com by Lucas Mearian
    The blockchain industry is still something of a wild west, with many cloud service offerings and a large universe of platforms that can vary greatly in their capabilities. So enterprises should beware jumping to conclusions about the technology.
 

Going Beyond the Digital Diploma — from campustechnology.com by Sara Friedman

Excerpts:

“We see great opportunities with this platform to create a more streamlined approach to help with students transferring, receiving degrees, honoring requests to verify degrees and to admit new students and evaluate their transcripts,” said ECPI University CIO Jeff Arthur. “The ability to let someone hold all of their accomplishments on their phone and have them to share with anybody in a way that is secure and reliable — without having to chase down entities to verify — is attractive to us.”

College and university CIOs also hope that blockchain technology can help to streamline other administrative functions. For instance, the ability to transfer credits between institutions could be simplified, according to Arthur.

 

The next big leap for blockchain in the higher education space is likely to be the ability to put badges and certificates for technical skills on the chain. 

 

“We want to create a lifelong learning approach where people who want to represent their skills and experience can do so through a blockchain-based app,” said Callahan. 

 

 

 

Salesforce launches blockchain channel — from techradar.com Anthony Spadafora
Salesforce brings low-code blockchain to CRM

Excerpt:

At its fourth annual TrailheaDX developer conference, Salesforce announced its new low-code platform called Salesforce Blockchain that enables organizations to share verified, distributed data sets across a trusted network of partners and third parties.

By bringing blockchain to its CRM platform, the company is enabling organizations to create blockchain networks, workflows and apps that have the potential to deliver entirely new customer experiences.

 

Also see:

The D/SRUPTION Blockchain 50 — from disruptionhub.com

Excerpt:

What are the most impactful applications of blockchain in business?

Blockchain is changing how we keep records, manage relationships, and do business. Decentralised, automated systems powered by the blockchain increase the security of operations, as well as breaking down barriers to business by creating trust between diverse parties.

As the concept of blockchain becomes ever more familiar to business leaders, its real world applications are growing in number and impact.

In this exclusive report, D/SRUPTION analyses 50 game changing uses of blockchain technology in business. The range of industries featured include:

Shipping
Charity
Ecommerce
Real Estate
Finance
Government
Energy
Healthcare

Blockchain in Education

 

 

Higher Education and the Blockchain Ecosystem: An Overview — from evolllution.com by Melissa Layne

Excerpt:

Each department within the institution, directly or indirectly, interacts with the learner and with each other. Most departments work with external entities and must exchange information, documents, money, contracts, media, certification and accreditation documents. Most, if not all, departments work with accrediting bodies. Most, if not all, work with professional organizations. Many work with vendors and consultants. All of these transactions are fair game for blockchain.

Once you get a firm grasp on Blockchain, you will be able to explore more potential applications for it in your department. This article is the first in a series on blockchain in higher education, so I will start with a general overview, with examples of how Blockchain can be implemented at an institution. In later articles, I will go into more depth and provide you with context, more examples, cost analyses, and direction.

 

Also see:

The first generation of students with blockchain degrees graduates in Mexico — from observatory.tec.mx by Observatory of Educational Innovation

Excerpt:

For the first time in Mexico, Tecnológico de Monterrey will issue professional blockchain college diplomas for an entire generation of more than 4000 students who graduate from 24 campuses throughout the country. Last April, 350 professional degrees were delivered with this technology in a pilot test with graduates of this institution.

This cutting-edge technological initiative empowers students as owners of their information, which is unalterable since it is hosted securely and encrypted in blockchain, a decentralized and public database that safely allows digital transactions, creating relationships of trust between users.

 

 

 
 

Blockchain stats, facts, & trends in 2019 and beyond — from yourtechdiet.com by Brian Curtis

Blockchain Predictions for 2019 & Beyond

  • Market value projection of the blockchain industry will be $60 billion by 2020.
  • By the end of 2019, global spending on blockchain solutions is projected to reach about 2.9 billion U.S. dollars and also projected to reach 11.7 billion by 2022.
  • In 2022, the U.S’ expenditures on blockchain solutions is projected to reach 4.2 billion U.S. dollars, thus making it the largest spender.
  • Finance is the biggest Blockchain value sector with a market share of 60.5 percent.
  • The market value of blockchain in the food and agriculture market, globally, is projected to climb 1.4 billion U.S. dollars by 2028.
  • In a research, 30 percent of respondents considered China to be the territory leader in blockchain technology development from 2021-2023.
  • The blockchain spending of China is forecasted to grow to 1.42 billion U.S. dollars by 2022.
  • The blockchain market value in South Korea is forecasted to reach 356.2 billion by 2022.
  • It is projected that, by 2025, 55 percent of healthcare applications will adopt blockchain for commercial deployment.

 

Also see:

 

 

How blockchain, virtual assistants and AI are changing higher ed — from educationdive.com by Ben Unglesbee

Dive Brief:

  • In the coming years, advanced technologies like mixed reality, artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain and virtual assistants could play a bigger role at colleges and universities, according to a new report from Educause, a nonprofit focused on IT’s role in higher ed.
  • The 2019 Horizon Report, based on a panel of higher ed experts, zeroes in on trends, challenges and developments in educational technology. Challenges range from the “solvable,” such as improving digital fluency and increasing demand for digital learning experiences, to the “wicked.” The latter includes rethinking teaching and advancing digital equity.
  • The panel contemplated blockchain’s use in higher ed for the first time in the 2019 report. Specifically, the authors looked at its potential for creating alternative forms of academic records that “could follow students from one institution to another, serving as verifiable evidence of learning and enabling simpler transfer of credits across institutions.”

 

 

MIT Starts University Group to Build New Digital Credential System — from edsurge.com by Jeff Young

Excerpt:

When a college goes out of business, all of its alumni can suddenly find themselves in an unexpected dilemma: How can graduates prove they actually earned their degrees when no one is left at the institution to send academic transcripts to prospective employers or graduate schools?

That scenario is one reason that a group of nine universities, led by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, today announced a collaboration to build a system that would let institutions issue digital diplomas and credentials in a way that can be verified without needing to check with a human registrar. The idea is to encourage widespread use of digital credentials across all kinds of academic institutions, and even at more informal places of learning, so that students end up taking ownership of how to communicate their learning to employers.

 

The finalized 2019 Horizon Report Higher Education Edition (from library.educause.edu) was just released on 4/23/19.

Excerpt:

Key Trends Accelerating Technology Adoption in Higher Education:

Short-TermDriving technology adoption in higher education for the next one to two years

  • Redesigning Learning Spaces
  • Blended Learning Designs

Mid-TermDriving technology adoption in higher education for the next three to five years

  • Advancing Cultures of Innovation
  • Growing Focus on Measuring Learning

Long-TermDriving technology adoption in higher education for five or more years

  • Rethinking How Institutions Work
  • Modularized and Disaggregated Degrees

 

 

The Growing Profile of Non-Degree Credentials: Diving Deeper into ‘Education Credentials Come of Age’ — from evolllution.com by Sean Gallagher
Higher education is entering a “golden age” of lifelong learning and that will mean a spike in demand for credentials. If postsecondary institutions want to compete in a crowded market, they need to change fast.

Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

One of the first levels of opportunity is simply embedding the skills that are demanded in the job market into educational programs. Education certainly has its own merits independent of professional outcomes. But critics of higher education who suggest graduates aren’t prepared for the workforce have a point in terms of the opportunity for greater job market alignment, and less of an “ivory tower” mentality at many institutions. Importantly, this does not mean that there isn’t value in the liberal arts and in broader ways of thinking—problem solving, leadership, critical thinking, analysis, and writing are among the very top skills demanded by employers across all educational levels. These are foundational and independent of technical skills.

The second opportunity is building an ecosystem for better documentation and sharing of skills—in a sense what investor Ryan Craig has termed a “competency marketplace.” Employers’ reliance on college degrees as relatively blunt signals of skill and ability is partly driven by the fact that there aren’t many strong alternatives. Technology—and the growth of platforms like LinkedIn, ePortfolios and online assessments—is changing the game. One example is digital badges, which were originally often positioned as substitutes to degrees or certificates.

Instead, I believe digital badges are a supplement to degrees and we’re increasingly seeing badges—short microcredentials that discretely and digitally document competency—woven into degree programs, from the community college to the graduate degree level.

 

However, it is becoming increasingly clear that the market is demanding more “agile” and shorter-form approaches to education. Many institutions are making this a strategic priority, especially as we read the evolution of trends in the global job market and soon enter the 2020s.

Online education—which in all its forms continues to slowly and steadily grow its market share in terms of all higher ed instruction—is certainly an enabler of this vision, given what we know about pedagogy and the ability to digitally document outcomes.

 

In addition, 64 percent of the HR leaders we surveyed said that the need for ongoing lifelong learning will demand higher levels of education and more credentials in the future.

 

Along these lines of online-based collaboration and learning,
go to the 34 minute mark of this video:

 

From DSC:
The various pieces are coming together to build the next generation learning platform. Although no one has all of the pieces yet, the needs/trends/signals are definitely there.

 

Daniel Christian-- Learning from the Living Class Room

 

Addendums on 4/20/19:

 

 

Five Principles for Thinking Like a Futurist — from er.educause.edu by Marina Gorbis

Excerpt:

In 2018 we celebrated the fifty-year anniversary of the founding of the Institute for the Future (IFTF). No other futures organization has survived for this long; we’ve actually survived our own forecasts! In these five decades we learned a lot, and we still believe—even more strongly than before—that systematic thinking about the future is absolutely essential for helping people make better choices today, whether you are an individual or a member of an educational institution or government organization. We view short-termism as the greatest threat not only to organizations but to society as a whole.

In my twenty years at the Institute, I’ve developed five core principles for futures thinking:

  • Forget about predictions.
  • Focus on signals.*
  • Look back to see forward.
  • Uncover patterns.*
  • Create a community.

 

* From DSC:
I have a follow up thought regarding those bullet points about signals and patterns. With today’s exponential pace of technological change, I have asserted for several years now that our students — and all of us really — need to be skilled in pulse-checking the relevant landscapes around us. That’s why I’m a big fan of regularly tapping into — and contributing towards — streams of content. Subscribing to RSS feeds, following organizations and/or individuals on Twitter, connecting with people on LinkedIn, etc. Doing so will help us identify trends, patterns, and the signals that Marina talks about in her article.

It reminds me of the following graphic from January 2017:

 

Blockchain’s potential for education — from thejournal.com by Sara Friedman
While the technology is still in the nascent stages, blockchain-based education systems have the potential to revolutionize how school districts manage student data.

Excerpt:

In the education space, the technology has the potential to revolutionize how school districts share and maintain data, but the technology hasn’t trickled down to the K-12 environment yet.

Universities started exploring this space over the last few years in academic credentialing. Transcripts, grades, test scores and digital diplomas could be stored in a student’s digital wallet, where the student has control over how the information could be shared. Blockcerts, developed by MIT’s Integrated Learning Initiative and Learning Machine, is one initiative that is helping universities and students take ownership of their data when it comes to digital diplomas.Southern New Hampshire University and Central New Mexico Community College have also taken steps to offer digital diplomas to their graduates.

 

Also see:

 

 

Gartner: Top 10 Strategic Technologies Impacting Higher Ed in 2019 — from campustechnology.com by Rhea Kelly

Excerpt:

  • Artificial intelligence conversational interfaces. Gartner defines these as “a subset of conversational user interfaces (CUIs), in which user and machine interactions occur in the user’s spoken or written natural language.” The benefit for higher ed insitutions: “CUIs place responsibility on the machine interface to learn what the user wants, rather than the user having to learn the software, saving user time, increasing student satisfaction, and being available to use 24/7.”
  • Smart campus. This is “a physical or digital environment in which humans and technology-enabled systems interact to create more immersive and automated experiences for university stakeholders.” While smart campus initiatives are still in the early stages, there has been a rising interest across higher ed institutions, according to Gartner. “The smart campus will drive growth in markets like robotic process automation solutions and augmented and virtual reality in the higher education space. Campus efficiency will be enhanced and student learning will be enriched with the new capabilities they bring. It’s a win all-around, except for the data security implications that come with most technology initiatives today,” said Morgan.
  • Digital credentialing technologies. “Students, faculty and the higher education institutions they are a part of are starting to expect the ability to quickly and freely exchange credentials to enhance the verification and recruitment process,” noted Gartner. Technologies such as blockchain and data encryption are driving change in this area. “In many ways, credentials issued by an education institution are the only tangible evidence of higher education. They should be considered the currency of the education ecosystem,” said Morgan. “These technologies really enable universities to leverage technology to improve the student experience by giving them more control over their information. The only hurdle is a general lack of understanding of digital credentialing technologies and risk-averseness in the high-stakes nature of the higher education market.”

 

 

Is Thomas Frey right? “…by 2030 the largest company on the internet is going to be an education-based company that we haven’t heard of yet.”

From a fairly recent e-newsletter from edsurge.com — though I don’t recall the exact date (emphasis DSC):

New England is home to some of the most famous universities in the world. But the region has also become ground zero for the demographic shifts that promise to disrupt higher education.

This week saw two developments that fit the narrative. On Monday, Southern Vermont College announced that it would shut its doors, becoming the latest small rural private college to do so. Later that same day, the University of Massachusetts said it would start a new online college aimed at a national audience, noting that it expects campus enrollments to erode as the number of traditional college-age students declines in the coming years.

“Make no mistake—this is an existential threat to entire sectors of higher education,” said UMass president Marty Meehan in announcing the online effort.

The approach seems to parallel the U.S. retail sector, where, as a New York Times piece outlines this week, stores like Target and WalMart have thrived by building online strategies aimed at competing with Amazon, while stores like Gap and Payless, which did little to move online, are closing stores. Of course, college is not like any other product or service, and plenty of campuses are touting the richness of the experience that students get by actually coming to a campus. And it’s not clear how many colleges can grow online to a scale that makes their investments pay off.

 

“It’s predicted that over the next several years, four to five major national players with strong regional footholds will be established. We intend to be one of them.”

University of Massachusetts President Marty Meehan

 

 

From DSC:
That last quote from UMass President Marty Meehan made me reflect upon the idea of having one or more enormous entities that will provide “higher education” in the future. I wonder if things will turn out to be that we’ll have more lifelong learning providers and platforms in the future — with the idea of a 60-year curriculum being an interesting idea that may come into fruition.

Long have I predicted that such an enormous entity would come to pass. Back in 2008, I named it the Forthcoming Walmart of Education. But then as the years went by, I got bumbed out on some things that Walmart was doing, and re-branded it the Forthcoming Amazon.com of Higher Education. We’ll see how long that updated title lasts — but you get the point. In fact, the point aligns very nicely with what futurist Thomas Frey has been predicting for years as well:

“I’ve been predicting that by 2030 the largest company on the internet is going to be an education-based company that we haven’t heard of yet,” Frey, the senior futurist at the DaVinci Institute think tank, tells Business Insider. (source)

I realize that education doesn’t always scale well…but I’m thinking that how people learn in the future may be different than how we did things in the past…communities of practice comes to mind…as does new forms of credentialing…as does cloud-based learner profiles…as does the need for highly efficient, cost-effective, and constant opportunities/means to reinvent oneself.

Also see:

 

 

Addendum:

74% of consumers go to Amazon when they’re ready to buy something. That should be keeping retailers up at night. — from cnbc.com

Key points (emphasis DSC)

  • Amazon remains a looming threat for some of the biggest retailers in the country — like Walmart, Target and Macy’s.
  • When consumers are ready to buy a specific product, nearly three-quarters of them, or 74 percent, are going straight to Amazon to do it, according to a new study by Feedvisor.
  • By the end of this year, Amazon is expected to account for 52.4 percent of the e-commerce market in the U.S., up from 48 percent in 2018.

 

“In New England, there will be between 32,000 and 54,000 fewer college-aged students just seven years from now,” Meehan said. “That means colleges and universities will have too much capacity and not enough demand at a time when the economic model in higher education is already straining under its own weight.” (Marty Meehan at WBUR)

 

 

Blockchain Deployment Checklist — from The Journal by Sara Friedman
While the technology is still in the nascent stages, blockchain-based education systems have the potential to revolutionize how school districts manage student data.

 

 

 

From DSC:
Unfortunately, the checklist provided in this solid article was too long and complicated…it needs to be streamlined. But I think it’s likely that we’ll see more products out there in the future that will remove these complexities.

Along these lines, I think we’ll see cloud-based learner profiles in the future. Throughout our lifetimes, we will own the data and direct who can — and can’t — access it.

 


Also see:

 


 

 

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