Will blockchain change the face of K-12 record storage and tracking?
- Blockchain technology could unify and streamline K-12 record-keeping, simplifying (among other things) the granting of credit for informal learning opportunities students gain beyond a school's walls, according to Ed Tech: Focus on K-12.
- Blockchain utilizes a global database in which data is encrypted and automatically tracked, providing additional security with little maintenance required — though it would require schools to create an error correction process.
- Potential uses for the technology in K-12 include simplifying college and university access to K-12 standardized test scores or homeschooled students’ progress, easing portability for when students relocate to new schools, programming smart contracts for tasks like scheduling tutors in response to academic issues, or tracking educators' credit for professional development completion.
A primer on blockchain — available here — defines the technology as "allowing digital information to be distributed but not copied," essentially amounting to a secure digital ledger with a global network. It has been called "incorruptible" and gained its reputation largely from its use in transactions of bitcoin and other crypto-currencies. But while the blockchain database was designed so that it couldn't go down or be maliciously altered, there does remain skepticism that it's only a matter of time before that happens.
Blockchain's potential use in K-12 wouldn't be a first for education overall, either. Higher ed has explored its use as a means of simplifying the sharing of transcripts and other academic certificates with potential employers, and alternative credentialing programs like the Holbertson School have been among early adopters. Aside from the ease of access, the tech has been cited as a potential cost-saver for those on both sides of the transaction, with the employer saving by not having to use a third-party to vet the information.
- Ed Tech: Focus on K-12 Blockchain Technology Promises Innovation in K-12 Record Keeping
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