4 Projects Using Blockchain to Help Learners Document and Share Educational Records
Four blockchain projects have received funding with the ultimate goal of helping learners take control of their educational records. Each of the projects will receive $150,000 from a competition overseen by the American Council on Education (ACE). The Blockchain Innovation Challenge supports collaborations involving K-12, higher education, technology providers and public agencies, to facilitate more secure, streamlined sharing of learning records and create stronger links between education and work.
Phase 1 winners will use the grants to produce “minimum viable” projects this spring to show the potential of their solutions. Those selected to continue to Phase 2 will share an additional $300,000 to implement their pilot projects more fully. The challenge has been funded by the U.S. Department of Education and is part of ACE’s Education Blockchain Initiative.
The Phase 1 winners of the Blockchain Innovation Challenge were:
- Student1. Working with Nebraska’ Departments of Education and Health and Human Services and a number of other state agencies, the nonprofit is creating learner records for the third of all Nebraska K-12 students involved with multiple state educational, judicial or behavioral services.
- Texas Woman’s University. The institution is setting up a consortium of schools in the North Texas region that use a shared credentialing platform to allow students to store and share their educational records with colleges and employers. Partners include the University of Texas-Arlington, Texas A&M University-Commerce, North Central Texas College, Carrolton-Farmers Branch Independent School District and GreenLight, a startup developing a debit card for kids.
- The Lifelong Learner Project by Powered by Teachers. This initiative is developing a digital wallet to allow teachers to store and access their credentials, certifications and learning resources and share those verifiable credentials with entities such as state licensing systems, human resources departments and learning management systems. The project is led by RANDA Solutions, working with the Utah State Board of Education; ETS; Digital Promise; consultancy University Instructors; University of Colorado, Colorado Springs; and 10 other organizations.
- UnBlockEd. Led by the University of Arizona along with Georgia Institute of Technology, Fluree and the Gardner Institute, this project will create an open transfer exchange to let college students streamline transfer credit recognition.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the urgency of exploring new solutions that can better serve learners at every stage of their educational journey,” said Kara Freeman, senior vice president and chief operating officer of ACE and a member of the Education Blockchain Initiative Steering Committee, in a statement. “These initiatives seek to reach underserved populations and improve economic mobility with a more just, equitable system by leveraging new technologies to improve information-sharing and expanding access.”
To learn more about the Blockchain Innovation Challenge, visit the ACE website.