16 SES 08 A, Emerging Digital Technologies in Education: Problems and prospects
The objective of this paper is to delineate the application of blockchain technologies to education. The acquisition of new knowledge entails its construction by each one of the students individually. Generally, the construction of new knowledge can be envisaged as a movement from ‘incomplete’ personal conceptual maps towards conceptual maps that are closer to those held collectively by the relevant scientific community. The construction of successive maps by each one of the learners entails a) the overcoming of certain cognitive obstacles, not necessarily the same for every learner, and b) the agreement that the final conceptual map represents valid knowledge. However, constructivism has to cope with the difficulty of dealing with individual constructions in a collective way. Blockchain technology permits the treatment of knowledge as constructed by individuals through similar chunks of knowledge (represented by blocks=codes). The combination/arrangement/sequence of these knowledge blocks is not necessarily the same for all students. The novel feature, which the application of blockchain technology can introduce, is that the valid articulation of chunks is secured collectively. Furthermore, constructive approaches are forced, to face the problem of identifying which student has made a particular error/misconception. Blockchain technology serves to give an answer to this predicament by dealing in a realistically effective way with its reverse as well (i.e. by identifying what particular error/misconception a student has made). If this is verified, then schools can fulfill the dream of carrying out individual learning in a collective, and therefore feasible, mode. The use of blockchain technology for attaching each one of the participating students to a unique series of successive conceptual maps as he/she gradually constructs/develops has many advantages. Specifically: 1. There exists the possibility to coordinate massive amount of data in a secure and transparent way. All successive inscriptions (which refer to successive conceptual maps) are transparent and therefore provide each student and their teachers with start-to-end visibility (based on their level of permission). 2. All successive inscriptions are immutable and security rich so no one can delete or modify any of them. 3. Usually, teaching starts from students who attempt to discover “mistakes=obstacles”. The availability of all the conceptual map routes will enable both the application of individualized teaching and more crucially the movement from mistakes to students and vice versa simultaneously. The last feature reverses the pedagogical practices and if employed successfully will transform practices radically.
Sharples M., Domingue J. (2016) The Blockchain and Kudos: A Distributed System for Educational Record, Reputation and Reward. In: Verbert K., Sharples M., Klobučar T. (eds) Adaptive and Adaptable Learning. EC-TEL 2016. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol 9891. Springer, Cham Grech, A., Camilleri, A., Inamorato Dis Santos, A. (2017), Blockchain in education, JRC Science for Policy Report, Publication Office of the European Union Sharples, M., de Roock, R., Ferguson, R., Gaved, M., Herodotou, C., et al (2016), Innovative Pedagogy 2016: Open University Innovation Report 5, Milton Keynes: the Open University Watters, A. (2016). The ideology of the blockchain (for education). Retrieved from: http://hackeducation.com/2016/04/14/blockchain-ideology Hollett, T. & Kalir, J.H. TechTrends (2017), Mapping Playgrids for learning across space, time and scale, TechTrends, 61, (3), pp 236–245 Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1007/s11528-016-0138-0
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