Blockchain: Is it Good for Education? — from virtuallyinspired.org

Excerpt:

What is Blockchain?

Blockchain is a public ledger type database made up of records called blocks that are linked together like a chain.  It is a shared unchallengeable ledger for recording the history of transactions. Here, the ledger records the history of academic accomplishments. An education ledger (blockchain) could store academic information such as degrees, diplomas, tests etc. It could be kind of digital transcript.

A Few Potential Applications of Blockchain

  • Learning Credentials Repository – A blockchain database of credentials and achievements can be a secure online repository. Digitized records/blocks replace paper copies for sharing proof of learning and can be easily accessible and tracked. Blockchain can make it easy to access all of your academic accomplishments in a digitized and ultra-secure way. Each record is a block. Your records would be chained together and new credentials will be added as you go throughout your lifetime of learning.
  • Lifelong Learning Building Blocks – Informal learning activities could be captured, validated and stored in addition to formal learning accomplishments. This can be as simple as noting a watched video or completed online lesson. We’re already seeing some universities using blockchain with badges, credits, and qualifications.
  • Authenticating Credentials – Institutions, recruiting firms or employers can easily access and verify credentials. No more gathering of papers or trying to digitize to share. Blocks are digital “learning” records and come in multilingual format eliminating the painstaking task of translation.

What’s more, with diploma mills and fake credentials causing havoc for institutions and employers, blockchain solves the issue by providing protection from fraud. It has two-step authentication and spreads blocks across numerous computer nodes. It would take hitting over 51% of computers to falsify a block.

Sony and IBM have partnered and filed patents to develop a blockchain educational platform that can house student data, their performance reports and other information related to their academic records. Some universities have created their own platforms.

 

 

Also see:

Blockchain in Education — from by Alexander Grech and Anthony F. Camilleri

Context
Blockchain technology is forecast to disrupt any field of activity that is founded on timestamped record-keeping of titles of ownership. Within education, activities likely to be disrupted by blockchain technology include the award of qualifications, licensing and accreditation, management of student records, intellectual property management and payments.

Key Advantages of Blockchain Technology
From a social perspective, blockchain technology offers significant possibilities beyond those currently available. In particular, moving records to the blockchain can allow for:

  • Self-sovereignty, i.e. for users to identify themselves while at the same time maintaining control over the storage and management of their personal data;
  • Trust, i.e. for a technical infrastructure that gives people enough confidence in its operations to carry through with transactions such as payments or the issue of certificates;
  • Transparency & Provenance, i.e. for users to conduct transactions in knowledge that each party has the capacity to enter into that transaction;
  • Immutability, i.e. for records to be written and stored permanently, without thepossibility of modification;
  • Disintermediation, i.e. the removal of the need for a central controlling authority to manage transactions or keep records;
  • Collaboration, i.e. the ability of parties to transact directly with each other without the need for mediating third parties.

 

 

Sony wants to digitize education records using the blockchain

 

 

 

 

From DSC:
Here’s a quote that has been excerpted from the announcement below…and it’s the type of service that will be offered in our future learning ecosystems — our next generation learning platforms:

 

Career Insight™ enables prospective students to identify programs of study which can help them land the careers they want: Career Insight™ describes labor market opportunities associated with programs of study to prospective students. The recommendation engine also matches prospective students to programs based on specific career interests.

 

But in addition to our future learning platforms pointing new/prospective students to physical campuses, the recommendation engines will also provide immediate access to digital playlists for the prospective students/learners to pursue from their living rooms (or as they are out and about…i.e., mobile access).

 

The Living [Class] Room -- by Daniel Christian -- July 2012 -- a second device used in conjunction with a Smart/Connected TV

 

 

Artificial intelligence working with enormous databases to build/update recommendation engines…yup, I could see that. Lifelong learning. Helping people know what to reinvent themselves to.

 

 


 

Career Insight™ Lets Prospective Students Connect Academic Program Choices to Career Goals — from burning-glass.com; also from Hadley Dreibelbis from Finn Partners
New Burning Glass Technologies Product Brings Job Data into Enrollment Decisions

BOSTON—Burning Glass Technologies announces the launch of Career Insight™, the first tool to show prospective students exactly how course enrollment will advance their careers.

Embedded in institutional sites and powered by Burning Glass’ unparalleled job market data, Career Insight’s personalized recommendation engine matches prospective students with programs based on their interests and goals. Career Insight will enable students to make smarter decisions, as well as improve conversion and retention rates for postsecondary institutions.

“A recent Gallup survey found that 58% of students say career outcomes are the most important reason to continue their education,” Burning Glass CEO Matthew Sigelman said. “That’s particularly true for the working learners who are now the norm on college campuses. Career Insight™ is a major step in making sure that colleges and universities can speak their language from the very first.”

Beginning an educational program with a firm, realistic career goal can help students persist in their studies. Currently only 29% of students in two-year colleges and 59% of those in four-year institutions complete their degrees within six years.

Career Insight™ enables prospective students to identify programs of study which can help them land the careers they want:

  • Career Insight™ describes labor market opportunities associated with programs of study to prospective students. The recommendation engine also matches prospective students to programs based on specific career interests.
  • The application provides insights to enrollment, advising, and marketing teams into what motivates prospective students, analysis that will guide the institution in improving program offerings and boosting conversion.
  • Enrollment advisors can also walk students through different career and program scenarios in real time.

Career Insight™ is driven by the Burning Glass database of a billion job postings and career histories, collected from more than 40,000 online sources daily. The database, powered by a proprietary analytic taxonomy, provides insight into what employers need much faster and in more detail than any other sources.

Career Insight™ is powered by the same rich dataset Burning Glass delivers to hundreds of leading corporate and education customers – from Microsoft and Accenture to Harvard University and Coursera.

More information is available at http://burning-glass.com/career-insight.

 


 

 

How to be an ed tech futurist — from campustechnology.com by Bryan Alexander
While no one can predict the future, these forecasting methods will help you anticipate trends and spur more collaborative thinking.

Excerpts:

Some of the forecasting methods Bryan mentions are:

  • Trend analysis
  • Environmental scanning
  • Scenarios
  • Science fiction

 

 

 

 

From DSC:
I greatly appreciate the work that Bryan does — the topics that he chooses to write about, his analyses, comments, and questions are often thought-provoking. I couldn’t agree more with Bryan’s assertion that forecasting needs to become more realized/practiced within higher education. This is especially true given the exponential rate of change that many societies throughout the globe are now experiencing.

We need to be pulse-checking a variety of landscapes out there, to identify and put significant trends, forces, and emerging technologies on our radars. The strategy of identifying potential scenarios – and then developing responses to those potential scenarios — is very wise.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Updating Education for the Evolving Job Market: Learning at the Pace of Life and Work — from huffingtonpost.com by Sophie Wade

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

A technology-stimulated, connected, and accelerated marketplace is generating different roles and additional skills requirements for us as workers. The traditional model of completing our lifelong education needs before we enter the workforce is now obsolete. On-the-job experience must now be supplemented as business and technological requirements evolve significantly and rapidly. Compelling new multilevel learning options are emerging to cater to the new necessity of updating important knowledge and capabilities at work. Many new offerings are online and modular in order to be accessible and flexible, giving labor force participants greater opportunity to remain relevant and competitive.

Since the beginning of the Industrial Era, evolution typically occurred from generation to generation. New developments were adopted by incoming cohorts, adding to and then replacing well-established workers’ existing practices of which could be phased out gradually. However, the exponential pace that is characteristic of the Fourth Industrial Revolution is requiring modifications to be absorbed and adapted within a generation accompanied by frequent incremental updates and revisions. Innovative learning models and modules that target incoming and existing working populations are being built out to respond to business-related requirements as new fields, disciplines, and roles appear and are established.

I talked to Anant Agarwal, CEO and Founder of edX, and Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MIT about the situation for new workforce entrants and the future education of workers. He spoke of what he called “MOOC 2.0” as the next phase of evolution of this high-profile MOOC (Massively Open Online Course) platform and the strategic rationale and content of edX’s new MicroMasters program offerings.

 

 

As a member of the International Education Committee, at edX we are extremely aware of the changing nature of work and jobs. It is predicted that 50 percent of current jobs will disappear by 2030.

Anant Agarwal, CEO and Founder of edX, and
Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MIT

 

From DSC:
We are moving towards providing up-to-date, relevant “streams of content” (which will in many cases represent unbundled content/courses). Mark my words, that’s the future that we’re heading for — and the future that we’ll need to successfully adapt to the new, exponential pace of change. Organizations offering such streams will be providing a valuable service in terms identifying, presenting, curating the most relevant, up-to-date content.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As Corporate World Moves Toward Curated ‘Microlearning,’ Higher Ed Must Adapt — from edsurge.com by Sean Gallagher

Excerpt:

Just outside the walls of the ivory tower, a transformation is underway in the world of corporate learning, and those of us at colleges and universities should pay attention.

Corporate learning and development, often referred to as L&D, is radically different than just a few years ago. Meanwhile, the education dialogue has shifted to a focus on employment-related themes such as competencies and skills.

“Businesses today have to be more agile and have to be able to pivot—access to content needs to be very rapid,” says Lori Bradley, executive vice president for global talent management at PVH Corp, a publicly- traded fashion and apparel company with 35,000 employees. “Priorities and jobs are changing more quickly, so we need an agile learning environment that anticipates what learning needs will be, and where we can quickly access them.”

The typical employee has one percent of their time available for learning, according to research by Bersin by Deloitte.

When there’s a need for information or new skills, employees today are increasingly turning to instantly accessible sources such as search engines and online course libraries available on their mobile devices. “Before, our only options were to send people to a training, sit in a course, and learn the material–whether from a university or a week-long certification,” says Shelly Holt, vice president of global learning for SAP, a leading enterprise-software company. “Information today is pushed so quickly at people that the landscape has fundamentally changed.”

 

 

We need to think more in terms of providing streams of content -- Daniel Christian

 

 

In a world where content is more commoditized, today’s corporate L&D market is increasingly driven by the curation of external content and learning—rather than investment in formal training programs and traditional course libraries. As Lori Bradley, of PVH, describes, “for our people moving at the speed of business, they need to access the content when they need it. We’re moving toward microlearning — 90 minute or shorter sessions.”

 

 

Second, in this changing landscape, colleges and universities that seek to meet corporate needs must move beyond monolithic programs and think in terms of competencies, unbundling curriculum, modularizing and “microlearning.”

 

 

 

MIT issues learner-owned digital diplomas on the blockchain — from ecampusnews.com
MIT joins a thriving community of global institutions issuing and verifying official records using the Blockcerts open standard.

Excerpt:

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has issued learner-owned academic credentials on the blockchain. The University’s Digital Diploma Pilot Program allowed a select cohort of students to receive both a paper diploma and a digital diploma anchored to the blockchain. Digital diplomas are encoded using the open-source Blockcerts standard, which was developed by Learning Machine Technologies and the MIT Media Lab.

Speaking to MIT News, Registrar and Senior Associate Mary Callahan said, “From the beginning, one of our primary motivations has been to empower students to be the curators of their own credentials. This pilot makes it possible for them to have ownership of their records and be able to share them in a secure way, with whomever they choose.”

 

 

 

 

WE ARE NOT READY FOR THIS! Per Forrester Research: In US, a net loss of 7% of jobs to automation — *in 2018*!

Forrester predicts that AI-enabled automation will eliminate 9% of US jobs in 2018 — from forbes.com by Gil Press

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

A new Forrester Research report, Predictions 2018: Automation Alters The Global Workforce, outlines 10 predictions about the impact of AI and automation on jobs, work processes and tasks, business success and failure, and software development, cybersecurity, and regulatory compliance.

We will see a surge in white-collar automation, half a million new digital workers (bots) in the US, and a shift from manual to automated IT and data management. “Companies that master automation will dominate their industries,” Forrester says. Here’s my summary of what Forrester predicts will be the impact of automation in 2018:

Automation will eliminate 9% of US jobs but will create 2% more.
In 2018, 9% of US jobs will be lost to automation, partly offset by a 2% growth in jobs supporting the “automation economy.” Specifically impacted will be back-office and administrative, sales, and call center employees. A wide range of technologies, from robotic process automation and AI to customer self-service and physical robots will impact hiring and staffing strategies as well as create a need for new skills.

 

Your next entry-level compliance staffer will be a robot.

 

From DSC:

Are we ready for a net loss of 7% of jobs in our workforce due to automation — *next year*? Last I checked, it was November 2017, and 2018 will be here before we know it.

 

***Are we ready for this?! ***

 

AS OF TODAY, can we reinvent ourselves fast enough given our current educational systems, offerings, infrastructures, and methods of learning?

 

My answer: No, we can’t. But we need to be able to — and very soon!

 

 

There are all kinds of major issues and ramifications when people lose their jobs — especially this many people and jobs! The ripple effects will be enormous and very negative unless we introduce new ways for how people can learn new things — and quickly!

That’s why I’m big on trying to establish a next generation learning platform, such as the one that I’ve been tracking and proposing out at Learning from the Living [Class] Room. It’s meant to provide societies around the globe with a powerful, next generation learning platform — one that can help people reinvent themselves quickly, cost-effectively, conveniently, & consistently! It involves providing, relevant, up-to-date streams of content that people can subscribe to — and drop at any time. It involves working in conjunction with subject matter experts who work with teams of specialists, backed up by suites of powerful technologies. It involves learning with others, at any time, from any place, at any pace. It involves more choice, more control. It involves blockchain-based technologies to feed cloud-based learner profiles and more.

But likely, bringing such a vision to fruition will require a significant amount of collaboration. In my mind, some of the organizations that should be at the table here include:

  • Some of the largest players in the tech world, such as Amazon, Google, Apple, IBM, Microsoft, and/or Facebook
  • Some of the vendors that already operate within the higher ed space — such as Salesforce.com, Ellucian, and/or Blackboard
  • Some of the most innovative institutions of higher education — including their faculty members, instructional technologists, instructional designers, members of administration, librarians, A/V specialists, and more
  • The U.S. Federal Government — for additional funding and the development of policies to make this vision a reality

 

 

The Living [Class] Room -- by Daniel Christian -- July 2012 -- a second device used in conjunction with a Smart/Connected TV

 

 

2 reasons why blockchain tech has big, tangible implications for higher ed — from ecampusnews.com by Jami Morshed
While many may not be using bitcoin in the near future, the tech behind bitcoin–called blockchain–has the potential to influence higher ed in more ways than one might think.

Excerpts:

While many of us may not be making important purchases in bitcoin in the near future, the tech behind bitcoin–called blockchain–has the potential to influence our daily lives in more ways than one might think, including in higher ed.

1. Blockchain for the Future of Credentialing
For higher ed–and even for our professional lives after graduation–blockchain has the potential to drastically impact the future of credentialing.

2. Blockchain’s Financial Implications and Student debt

 

 

 

Blockchain predictions: What it means to you — from enterprisersproject.com by Minda Zetlin
How can you prepare for tomorrow’s blockchain world? TCS blockchain expert Andreas Freund shares perspective

Excerpts:

Blockchain technology will be as revolutionary as the internet, or maybe even the steam engine, predicts Andreas Freund, Ph.D., a senior manager for Tata Consultancy Services‘ blockchain advisory. It’s a bold claim. But in the first part of our two-part interview, Freund makes a strong case that blockchain technology will, at the very least, change our marketplaces and our enterprises in ways that are hard to imagine right now.

Blockchain protocols (best known for enabling cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin or ether) create a distributed ledger in which many nodes on a network each have a record of every transaction that has taken place. (See our recent story, Blockchain: 3 big implications for your company.)

“To really understand and appreciate the value blockchain can bring, you need to understand why it’s a paradigm shift,” Freund says. “You need to look at human beings. What defines us is our physical strength, our intelligence, and our trust relationships. The most fundamental shifts occur when these functions become automated and exponentiated.”

When we’re interacting through the blockchain, not only as human beings but as things as well, I can trust the transaction will be executed properly every single time. There’s no chance of tampering or censorship. From a human perspective, I can now trust you without trusting you.”

Right now, people who want to transact with strangers must use a trusted intermediary, as people do when they buy and sell items on the Amazon Marketplace, or buy and sell shares on an exchange, or, say, summon an Uber ride.

 

 

It’s more important to understand how blockchain will change many common practices than it is to understand the precise technology behind it, Freund notes. “In the end, how the technology works doesn’t matter,” he says. “TCP/IP enables the internet, although nobody really knows how it works. Without it, we’d still have the walled gardens of the AOL era.”

When it comes to blockchain, he says, “We are still in the AOL era. We have these walled gardens, with many companies experimenting and many public blockchains, but eventually there will be something equivalent to that moment when TCP/IP broke down those walls.”

 

 

 

From DSC:
What happens with blockchain-based technologies and systems could easily impact higher education in the future, especially in the area of credentials and competencies (i.e., did someone really take that class/module/certificate program/etc.?). Blockchain-based techs are likely a part of our future learning ecosystems and next generation learning platforms, and may significantly impact and better support lifelong learning.

 

 

 

 

 

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