Blockchain, Open Education & Digital Identity Conference is a not-for-profit initiative of the Université de Lille, Direction de l’Innovation Pédagogique and the Commonwealth Centre for Connected Learning.
By Ira Sood
With the upcoming Blockchain and Education Conference in Lille, 28-29 May, organised by the University of Lille and the Commonwealth Centre for Connected Learning, we take a look at why the time is propitious to examine the scope of this enabling technology in the field of education.
Blockchain technology has been around for over a decade now with its proponents and opponents clearly sorted out into rival factions. On the one hand, blockchain proponents have repeatedly aired their support to the potential the technology offers in fashioning large-scale disruption of the status quo across multiple industries; and on the other hand, blockchain opponents have attempted to provide equally strong objections to the purported fallacy promulgated by the former group that blockchain will solve ‘everything’.
No matter which side of the argument you are on, it is safe to say that nobody remains untouched by the effect of the manifold applications of this technology that are actively being researched and in some cases, being piloted and implemented in practice. The field of education is no exception. There is a considerable amount of interest in the usage of blockchain technology from different parts of the world and different sectors across education and its governance that has made it a priority in the field of educational innovation.
The field of education is brimming with issues stemming from different perspectives including those of the educators, the institutions, the policy makers and most importantly, the students. There is a heightened need to acknowledge the significance of concepts like lifelong learning and universally accepted self-sovereign digital identities in the global knowledge economy.
Blockchain-powered Mobility, Freedom, Transparency & Lifelong Learning
To limit a student’s learning on the basis of his/her geographical location is no longer a possibility in the digital world of internet and social media domination. Moreover, employers demand a brand new skill set from students that is centered on adaptability, agility and competency. Consequently, students need to be able to be mobile and have access to a broader range of educational resources, not limited to one university or one educational degree.
In order to facilitate that process, blockchain can be used to create a digital system of credentialing which has the grassroots support of not just students but also the educational institutions that confer credentials. Creating trustworthy digital identities for students could be the first step in reforming a system that has long remained crystalised while the world surrounding it has changed many times over.
In order to understand the implications of using blockchain technology in education, it is essential to hear out all stakeholder beliefs across the sector including those from student leaders, educators, institutions, public bodies, private industries and the global blockchain community. Université de Lille and the Commonwealth Centre for Connected Learning aim to provide a collaborative platform for these voices to be able to discuss the many issues surrounding the use of blockchain technology in facilitating educational processes. The conference on Blockchain, Open Education and Digital Citizenship on 28-29 May, 2019 in Lille, France aims to gather expert opinions on the field and open room for discussion and debate on the future of education in the context of blockchain technology. The conference focuses on key topics like digital citizenship, decentralization of education, sustainability considerations for blockchain and the legal and regulatory framework that needs to be in place for the usage of blockchain technology in education.
The conference acts also a follow-up to the Commonwealth Centre of Connected Learning’s 2018 Conference findings on ‘Blockchain Credentials & Connected Learning‘.
Blockchain Education Conference – Registration
The full programme and registration details are on Blockchain Education France. Note that registration is open until 26 April. There are opportunities for stands and pitch presentations.