Authors: Dr. S. K. Saravanan, Dr. G. N. K. Suresh Babu
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A chain of blocks that contains information is the definition of Blockchain. The technique is intended to timestamp digital documents so that it is not possible to temper them. The purpose of blockchain is to solve the double records problem without the need of a central server. Blockchain provides a creative approach to storing information, executing transactions, conducting tasks and trust building. Blockchain is an emerging technology for the applications Smart Cities, Smart Grids, Healthcare, Education, Crypto-currency and Supply chain. This research work would offer a detailed analysis of Blockchain in the Educational domain. It also studies the various applications of Blockchain technology.
Blockchain is a technology for now, introduced in 2008. The transaction of Bitcoin crypto currency registration in the ledger was first application of Blockchain. To eliminate the third-party intermediary and allow users to make their transaction directly was the aim of Blockchain when it was introduced. As Bitcoin continues to grow in popularity, researchers and practitioners realize the enormous potential of its underlying technology . Blockchain’s unique capabilities including immutability, transparency, and trustworthiness was found to be useful not only in crypto currencies but also in many other fields. Therefore, an increasing number of blockchain-based applications have been developed in various fields . This paper aims to recognize various blockchain implementation fields that are already in use and potential blockchain applications in education. It focuses on three key themes: (1) blockchain-based educational technologies, (2) the opportunities that blockchain technology could bring to education, and (3) the complexities of implementing blockchain technology in education. Document authentication is a critical topic with a variety of challenging and time-consuming procedures to authenticate. Various reports are also available, including banking notes, government documents, transaction documents, and educational certificates .
II. BLOCKCHAIN TECHNOLOGY
A blockchain is a novel technology that is continuously evolving and being applied in various domains. Its inception is from the famous digital currency, it was used only for financial transactions, but now it is being used or being proposed in every domain that needs immutable and secure record-keeping or ledger. A Blockchain is a chain of blocks which contain information. The data which is stored inside a block depends on the type of blockchain.
Blockchain is a collection of generated blocks using cryptographic hash functions and connected together with the previous block in the form of a secure chain using cryptographic algorithms.
A. Blockchain Types
Private and public block chains are the two main styles of block chains. There are, however, several variants, such as Consortium and Hybrid block chains.
B. Blockchain Features
Blockchain technology is not only used for crypto currencies but it is being used in various diverse applications and being proposed in many more due to the following features :
C. Blockchain Applications and Use Cases
Blockchain has been proposed to be used in different applications and use cases, as shown in Figure 3.3.1.
III. BLOCKCHAIN IN EDUCATION
The Blockchain can help educational institutions strengthen their ability to assist teachers, deliver knowledge to guardians and community members, empower new learning systems, and expand and provide learning opportunities for more students. Figure 1 depicts the general structure of Blockchain and users in the domain of education. There are several uses and advantages of using blockchain technology in the field of education:
A. Online Education
Online education, also known as distance learning or electronic learning, uses data and internet technology to deliver information and facilitate learning. It's referred to as a web-based learning technique. With blockchain invention, an ideal solution to online learning issues, such as legitimacy and protection, will be offered. The Blockchain will also create non-modifiable learning documents for online teaching without the need for third-party oversight, ensuring that course credits are adequately recognized.
B. Student Records
Academic transcripts are one of the most time-consuming and labour-intensive processes in higher education. Each entry must be manually checked for authenticity before a validated record of a student's grades is available. Course content certification is another type of student record that is often sought. Each page should be signed and stamped for each student who requests this record (to ensure accuracy). If material courses and academic accomplishments were stored on a blockchain, an individual could get an accurate, authenticated record with just a few taps .
C. Diplomas and Certificates
Diplomas and certificates for students could be provided and stored on a blockchain, much like grades. Employers will then need to be given a referral to a digital certificate instead of requiring the agency that issued the diploma to certify a paper copy. It is also in progress. Since most of the available instructive credential administrations are unable to guarantee the confidentiality and reliability of student data. Although using Blockchain to address confidence problems could be a viable solution, Blockchain has drawbacks that limit its complete adoption. Small throughput and access time are found in Blockchain. It stops users from using fake degrees or certificates to possible employers or institutions for higher education.
Aside from degrees, a standard resume provides a wealth of additional details that employers can find helpful. We're talking about qualities like foreign language proficiency, engineering competence, or unique talents that aren't inherently relevant to one's occupation. However, these abilities are difficult to prove. However, an individual may hire a third-party professional to validate their competence and issue a credential or badge. If these are stored on a blockchain, they can be used to show that an individual has the necessary skills. Open Badge Passport, for example, is the first step in this direction.
E. Student Examination and Evaluation
Students will then take the test remotely using personal computers or smartphones, with the Blockchain performing the evaluation. Teachers would have more time to devote to other scholarly or cultural pursuits if they didn't have to grade tests. Teachers can use smart contract and Blockchain with defining the correct answers and scoring criteria for evaluation. Student's will then appear for the examination on their PC or devices. Students' academic success and academic successes in education, preparation, tournaments, work, and other events outside of school can be measured using blockchain technologies to assess their capability, which benefits both students and businesses looking to hire them. A blockchain-based student technical skill assessment system that can test student ability measurement methods using a clustering algorithm. The framework can also allow for the development of a student skill assessment ecosystem.
F. Lessons and Courses.
Many blockchains also support smart contracts. It ensures that lessons and courses can be coded into the Blockchain and run spontaneously when those criteria are encountered. An instructor may assign students assignments. The smart contracts on the Blockchain could verify the execution of each mission automatically. Teachers could be paid in crypto tokens for finishing all assignments, and students can get credits. This method may be used to layout whole classes also.
With the proliferation of learning apps and services, identity management is becoming crucial in education. Platforms like uPort help users carry their identity around with them, uploaded to the network, and easily accessible. Identity management is very important in education. It enables schools to:
Instead of storing the student identity document, the blockchain stores information about that document. Using blockchain, students can identify themselves online while maintaining control over the storage and management of their personal data.
Blockchain secures student data and improves the information retrieving process for students’ attendance, assignment completion tracking, etc. As blockchain networks save all the information about students and their achievements, it is possible to track their progress in learning and other activities. In the long run, this will guide educational institutions to make necessary changes in the educational process.
Currently, educational institutions are faced with the challenge to protect their networks from hackers. As already mentioned, blockchain technology offers a secure network and it is impossible to fake the information stored in the blockchain. Companies like Xage are using blockchain’s tamper-proof ledger that protects every element, including new and legacy systems, and secures every interaction, enabling dynamic data security.
H. Efficient Data Storage
Educational institutions these days store more data than ever before. The distributed ledger technology (DLT) cloud storage offers safer and potentially cheaper alternatives for storing and retrieving data. For example, File coin is a high-profile crypto project that rewards the hosting of files. It connects the world with a new storage model, creating hyper-local and efficient storage.
I. Simplification of Records Management
Blockchain technology in K-12 eliminates paper-based processes and simplifies record management. It is more than suitable for records such as students’ certificates, degrees, and transcripts. In addition to encrypting records, blockchain offers a means for documenting and tracking the breadth of a student’s learning experiences.
J. Next-Generation Library Platform
Blockchain is seen as a foundation in the next-generation library platform. It offers a much more efficient and easier way to accumulate, keep track of, and store information. That is a huge advantage which could be used to improve library and information services in schools. For example, San Jose State University School has received a substantial grant to work on the potential of blockchain technology for the information profession.
The application of blockchain technology to the education field is in its infancy. Therefore, an analysis of the state-of-the-art blockchain research in the field of education was conducted. It yields several findings. First, it indicated that blockchain technology is mostly used to: issue and verify academic certificates, share students’ competencies and learning achievements, and evaluate their professional ability. However, a wide range of other applications are emerging rapidly. Second, it shows that blockchain could bring significant benefits to education including providing a secure platform to share students’ data, lowering cost, and enhancing trust and transparency. Third, it illustrates that the use of blockchain technology is not without challenges. Managers and policymakers should consider challenges related to security, privacy, cost, scalability, and availability before adopting the technology. Lastly, it shows that the educational areas in which blockchain technology was applied are still limited. Therefore, the potential for blockchain is still unexploited. Blockchain is a rapidly spreading technology, and it will be a pillar for many applications in the next few years. A suggestion for future work is to continue this work by conducting more interviews to identify some additional characteristics for the current application areas of Blockchain. In particular, the field of education in detail. Make Educational courses that explain blockchain technology at a reasonable cost so many people can join and review the smart contracts in more detail and study the potential risks within this area.
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Copyright © 2022 Dr. S. K. Saravanan, Dr. G. N. K. Suresh Babu. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.