Today the word blockchain became very popular. Wall Street analysts claim that using blockchain can lead to the new banking tech. Airbnb just acquired a team of blockchain experts. Estonia will use blockchain to indemnify patient health records. But what exactly is blockchain?
It was originally created as the underlying database for bitcoin. But today blockchain’s technology is being seen as useful and purposeful for different sectors not only for financial sector. There are a lot of advantages blockchain provides to store information in a secure.
For higher education, this means that educational information could be shared across many institutions and educational establishments and also include data from online learning tools, co-curricular activities and others. This would allow the data to be exchanged, understood and studied quickly.
To show how blockchain can be used for higher education and to understand what blockchain is turn to its history.
History of Blockchain
Blockchain distribute data equally amongst its participants. For example, bitcoin blockchain is distributed amongst thousands of participants or miners. So as you understand the number of participants can be great and reach thousands or maybe millions. Of course, not all blockchains will have so many participants, but all in all blockchain technology provides a higher level of constancy and safety than applications hosting its own database.
Blockchain is a chain of blocks, sometimes this chain call a ledger. Each block can keep hundreds pieces of information waiting to be added to the blockchain. The blocks are in numerical order where each block referencing the previous one and only one block can be added to blockchain at a time. Each block is mathematically reliant on the block which it is connected and they cannot be falsified or duplicate. Validity is determined by how the chain is generated, so there is not a central authority overseeing transactions. Although the blocks are described as transactions, but they can content of any kind of information.
The participants play a main role in the creation of blocks. To create the blocks of information each of them must entertain a copy of the ledger. Participants are being paid a reward by collecting a fee for each transaction they process. They trying to fit as many transactions as they can by listening for incoming data and putting it into a block. Block is publishing to the chain after a block verification. Then the chain is relocated so that all of the blockchain members get the same update and it begins again initially.
Use for Higher education
It’s important to note that not all blockchains will use the same rules as bitcoin does. Also, blockchains can be public as bitcoin or private where one organization controls everything. Hosting a private blockchain will be useful for university. Information system, which generates digital submission of learning and skills, may consider a consortium blockchain that manage it by making the decisions about how blocks should be operated.
MIT Media Lab announced that it will develop a software to betray digital certificates on the Bitcoin Blockchain. Holberton School has started delivering its academic credentials in a partnership with Bitproof. Sony Global Education developed blockchain technology that allows secure sharing of academic records.
Recently Jane McGonigal was presented Learning Is Earning at SXSW 2016. There he introduced a new idea of “Edublocks”. It represent units of hours of learning which are written to a blockchain. Many people cannot agree with this idea but all in all it is a nice example of how blockchain could operate in higher education and education as well.
There are some issues in blockchain adaptation and development blockchain application. But using blockchain technology in different spheres and even in education can be very useful and profitable beyond controversy.