Blockchain technology will power a “lifelong learning adventure” for future students that will conceivably be more equitable and wider reaching compared to the current education model (Phil Komarny).
On episode 155 of DisrupTV, our hosts Vala Afshar and R “Ray” Wang interviewed Sharon Leu, Principal Executive Chief for the Committee Future Technology at the U.S. Department of Education, Manoj Kutty, Founder and CEO at GreenLight Credentials, and Phil Komarny, Vice President, Innovation at Salesforce.com, and discussed one particular opportunity area for blockchain technology: education. Here are a few quick takeaways from the episode:
Education Efforts Should Modernize While Staying Equitable
We are entering an age of digital first education, according to Sharon Leu. Students with access to the Internet generally perform better in school, in part because of the availability of materials that are catered to individual learning styles. As advanced technologies reshape the modern classroom, many educational programs need to be updated. Students without access to technology miss out on some of the newer opportunities that can help optimize their education. As a nation, we can’t move into the future with people left behind. Regarding contemporary education efforts, there should be a balance struck between creating advanced learning experiences and making sure that everyone has access to them.
Credentialing Through Blockchain Technology Will Create More Detailed Academic Records
Blockchain has a surprising new use in education: credentialing. For students who go through various degree programs and accumulate skills along the way, blockchain is able to provide detailed and verified academic records, demonstrating in detail what people know and what they can bring to the table overall. Introducing this holistic skills-based model presents a different way of communicating the value of one’s degree.
Manoj Kutty of Greenlight Credentials is working to translate this concept into reality. Greenlight’s solution gives employers a reliable way to find skilled workers while giving job candidates a better way to communicate themselves. Blockchain sits at the cornerstone of their efforts as a way to verify people’s skills over time down to the micro level. This type of solution could reduce barriers for diverse groups of people who want to go to college. Ideally, institutions would have a more accurate way of measuring a student’s potential success compared to what is available currently: using few data points such as SAT scores. One day, people may not even need to apply to colleges and will instead be selected for admission directly by the institutions. Even further, people may be able to skip the degree all together and show their competency for the job market through skills accumulated in other experiences.
Blockchain’s Breakout Use Case Could be Found in the Education Sector
Blockchain technology is ripe with potential but rife with image problems. While crypto currency is the best available application of the blockchain, there is a perception of Bitcoin that causes resistance from business leaders . Blockchain needs a really good use case to get executives to buy in to its potential. It’s use in education could be the necessary turning point, says Phil Komarny. In his former role at The University of Texas, Phil combined blockchain technology with CRM software to create student profiles that could be transferred across schools within their 14-instituiton system and demonstrated the skills that they accumulated. In this model, the distributed leger architecture centers around a student’s identity. Because these profiles could be built up throughout one’s education and career, students are in for a “lifelong learning adventure,” as Phil says.
This is just a small glimpse at the great insight shared during the show. Please check out the full discussions in the video replay here or the podcast.
DisrupTV is a weekly Web series with hosts R “Ray” Wang and Vala Afshar. The show airs live at 11:00 a.m. PT/ 2:00 p.m. ET every Friday.