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Blockchain in Education

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The presentation gives a general introduction to blockchain technology, examines currently deployed uses in education, considers future scenarios for development, as well as gives recommendations to European policymakers on how to support blockchain initiatives in education.

Delivered by Anthony F. Camilleri & Alex Grech for an internal seminar at the European Commission in Brussels on 08.02.2018

Published in: Education

Blockchain in Education

  1. 1. Blockchain in Education USAGE SCENARIOS IN THE EUROPEAN EDUCATION AREA 8 FEBRUARY 2018 EUROPEAN COMMISSION, BRUSSELS Alex Grech & Anthony F. Camilleri
  2. 2. ASK QUESTIONS ANSWER QUESTIONS WWW.SLIDO.COM/BLC
  3. 3. We ran a study for JRC…. IT WAS QUITE A JOURNEY….
  4. 4. DOMAIN OF FRAUDSTERS & CRYPTOCULTURE BITCOIN HYPE!FINTECH BUBBLE LET’S WAIT. ONE FOR THE FUTURE GOVERNMENTS ARE MAKING THIS ILLEGAL! NOTHING TO DO WITH EDUCATION!
  5. 5. 2016 2018
  6. 6. 2018
  7. 7. "If there's one thing we've learned from the recent history of the internet, it's that seemingly esoteric decisions about software architecture can unleash profound global forces once the technology moves into wider circulation". Steven Johnson New York Times, January 16 2018
  8. 8. WHAT IS BLOCKCHAIN?
  9. 9. A Public Decentralised Ledger
  10. 10. Central Database Structure of a MODERN DATABASE Users store their information Institution manages & controls Parties consult database
  11. 11. WHAT CAN GO WRONG?
  12. 12. • Institutional Staff can change grades after the fact • Students can compromise a database Data can be changed (hacked) • Data loss through disasters (fire, war, etc) • Data loss through accidents Data can be deleted • Students not given access to metrics held on them • Disputes over ownership of intellectual property Institution can prevent access • Institutions can charge for verifying data (certificates) • Digital data only available through proprietary systems Institution can put conditions on access • Sharing data with third parties • Profiling of students Institution can use data in an unauthorised manner
  13. 13. By removing a central authority, blockchain eliminates these problems Each user (node) stores a complete copy of the database Each user (node) has to approve each entry The version with the most copies is the ‘true’ version
  14. 14. THE SOCIAL VALUE PROPOSITION OF BLOCKHAIN
  15. 15. SELF- SOVEREIGNTY & IDENTITY
  16. 16. TRUST
  17. 17. TRANSPARENCY & PROVENANCE
  18. 18. IMMUTABILITY
  19. 19. DISINTERMEDIATION
  20. 20. HOW BLOCKCHAIN IS STARTING TO IMPACT EDUCATION
  21. 21. Current production-applications involve notarisation of certificates on a blockchain
  22. 22. Layers in production of a blockchain-notarised certificate Source: Learning Machine
  23. 23. Blockchain is here Now.. At EU nation-state level Pilots at Malta College for Arts, Sciences & Technology, Institute for Tourism Studies, National Commission for Further and Higher Education and all State Schools 17-18 May 2018: Conference on Blockchain in Education & Connected Learning, Malta
  24. 24. HOW MIGHT BLOCKCHAIN ‘DISRUPT’ EDUCATION
  25. 25. Where to apply Blockchain Issue & Recognition of Credentials Management of Intellectual Property Payments & Smart- Contracts Self-Sovereign Identity- Management
  26. 26. SCENARIO: Blockchain for ECTS Governance  Group of universities forms a private blockchain network  Addition of new members, and the rules of the network are decided by the universities by consensus Architecture  Each credit awarded by universities is recorded as a transaction on the chain  The record of credit awarded is now public, immutable and anonymised  A student can prove he his the owner of specific ECTS by using his private key  Could be linked to ESCO Use Cases  A student can ‘spend’ his ECTS with an institution to create a qualification (transfer of credit becomes merely spending ECTS transferred from two different institutions)  An employer or other university can verify the student’s records merely by verifying his ECTS against the blockchain Example: University of Maribor Issue & Recognition of Credentials
  27. 27. Issue & Recognition of Credentials
  28. 28. SCENARIO: Blockchain for Educational Resources Governance  A group of (open) education repositories forms a private blockchain network  Addition of new members, and the rules by which the network operates are decided by the repositories by consensus Architecture  Each resource added to the repository results in the reward of a token to the author  Each time that resources is reused / cited it results in the reward of an additional token (or part-tokens depending on extent of reuse)  The record of reuse is now public and immutable Use Cases  The token system would allow for creators to be compensated for sharing their resources, in proportion to the amount of usage those resources get.  Such compensation may be:  Financial compensation in line with revenue acquired by the repositories  Compensation in terms of academic prestige / credit (similar to current system of impact factors from academic journals) Example: Everipedia Management of Intellectual Property
  29. 29. Management of Intellectual Property
  30. 30. SCENARIO: Blockchain for Vouchers Governance  A set of funders of education (e.g. governments, regional authorities and companies), decide to use blockchain to fund education via a voucher system  Educational institutions would agree to be paid via the blockchain Architecture  Each token on the blockchain would be pegged to a real-world currency.  The funding conditions would be written immutably into the chain as smart-contracts  Tokens would be given to students who could spend them at certain educational institutions  Tokens would only be released when certain conditions are met Use Cases  The token/contract system would allow for funding- systems to be created essentially without administrative overheads  Once contracts were created, the funding would be allocated, if not released, and be unchangeable – giving students guarantees  Could be used to improve any voucher-based public/private education system Example: BitDegree Payments & Smart- Contracts
  31. 31. Payments & Smart- Contracts
  32. 32. SCENARIO: Blockchain for Student ID Governance  A data-handler, typically a large educational organization such as a university will create an identity-management system for use within its units/subsidiaries Architecture  Students who need to identify their eligibility for services from the university will send documents proving their eligibility to the admissions office  Once admissions office verifies their eligibility it will issue a certificate on the blockchain, tied to a biometric private key owned by the student  The admissions office will then delete the data provided by the student, only keeping a hash of it on the chain  Thus, the record of verification is public, and immutable while the student keep control of their data Use Cases  Institution would be able to internally identify students eligibility to various services, without needing to store their data. This would significantly reduce their compliance costs with data-protection legislations (esp. considering GDSR). Additionally, it would:  Simplify network-architecture  Reduce footprint for a data- breach  Reduce severity of any network breach Example: Civic Self-Sovereign Identity Management
  33. 33. Issue & Recognition of Credentials
  34. 34. THE OPENNESS DILEMMA
  35. 35. Open Blockchain Closed Blockchain danger & opportunity of hybrid chains Actors in Blockchain do not always have aligned interests public interest private interest
  36. 36. Sony is unleashing a new patent application with the use of Blockchain as part of its educational platform. (Dec. 2017)
  37. 37. Contextualising blockchain with the Internet InternetOne InternetTwo InternetThree The Open Web The Social Web The Blockchain Web Built on Open Protocols Built on Closed Protocols Choice between Open and Closed Protocols Scientists & Academics Corporates Initially Scientists, but increasingly coporates and startups Applications involve 1-way data delivery Applications involve transactions between large numbers of people Applications involve transactions between large numbers of people Decentralised Centralised Decentralised Anyone has the ability to create wealth by building Internet applications – millions of companies have done so Top 5 internet companies have value of $3 trillion Total Market capitalization of blockchains: $ 0.5 trillion
  38. 38. THE STANDARDS DILEMMA
  39. 39. Fragmentation brings great risks..
  40. 40. including many scams ..
  41. 41. but standards& regulation can hinder innovation when we still discovering the potential of the technology
  42. 42. A three-pronged approach Regulate Blockchain Policy to limit proliferation of scams & solutions without social value 01 Standardise Educational Ledgers to ensure a common format for exchange and storage of data 02 Stimulate of applications Within a secure, standardised framework 03
  43. 43. KEY CONCLUSIONS & RECOMMENDATIONS
  44. 44. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 KEY RECOMMENDATIONS KEY CONCLUSIONS
  45. 45. If we are going to achieve the Social Value Proposition of blockchain we need …
  46. 46. An Open Eco-System Direct all EU (and MS) action towards “Open Blockchain ” •Recipient Ownership •Vendor Independence •Decentralised Verification 1
  47. 47. Commonly-agreed Technical Standards Create Standards for all Educational Credentials •ESCO work on qualifications should be extended to all educational credentials and these standards in turn made ‘blockchain-aware’ 3
  48. 48. A Stakeholder-led Approach Empower Stakeholders • Funding for stakeholder-led blockchain pilots within Erasmus+ • Mainstreaming open standards • Enabling desirable futures (not solely market-based) 42
  49. 49. Coordination of ‘Actors’ Set up a Coordination / Advisory Body for Blockchain in Education • Composed of representatives of national governments, educational stakeholders and advisors • Complements the work of the EU Blockchain Advisory Group & Forum • Focuses on Coordination of Efforts vs ‘Information Outpost’ 5
  50. 50. An ‘informed’ Public Fund an online curriculum on blockchain Should allow for users to: • Understand the differences between cryptocurrencies and blockchains • Understand risks associated with cryptocurrencies • Evaluate blockchain implications in terms of social good • Understand the principle of self- sovereignty and how to apply in practice on the web 6
  51. 51. Blockchain might be the last best chance to save the Open Web
  52. 52. WWW.SLIDO.COM/BLC
  53. 53. BLOCKCHAIN, CREDENTIALS & CONNECTED LEARNING CONFERENCE 17-18 MAY Corinthia Palace, Attard Malta

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