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Blockchain in Education, Alexander Grech, Anthony F. Camilleri, Joint Research Centre, Nov 23, 2017

This is a long (136 page PDF) and detailed report on blockchains in education. The authors work slowly and deliberately in their pursuit of accuracy and clarity, which results in a presentation that will be easily understood by most readers. There is a wealth of examples in the document describing use cases, scenarious and pilot projects, and companies involved in the space. The study is a result of a literature serach, desk reserach and interviews. The recommendations display a knowledge of ... [Direct Link]

MIT Introduces Digital Diplomas, Lindsay McKenzie, Inside Higher Ed, Oct 19, 2017

People have using blockchain for certification for a number of years now so it's no real surprise to see MIT's new digital diplomas. "Using a free, open-source app called Blockcerts Wallet, students can quickly access a digital diploma that can be shared on social media and verified by employers to ensure its authenticity. The digital credential is protected using block-chaintechnology. The block chain is a public ledger that offers a secure way of making and recording ... [Direct Link]

26 Innovation Breakthroughs at the World's Open Universities, Contact North, Sept 21, 2017

This is a short post (6 page PDF) with one-paragraph descriptions of innovations at open universities around the world. Together, the set provides others with a sort of menu of options they can follow. Most usefully, each one has a link you can follow. Some of the items aren't eactly innovations (such as the Switching from Moodle to Azure item). Others are more aspirational than innovative (such as the Use of Blockchain in credentials). It's hard to describe closing support centres (...

Sony wants to digitize education records using the blockchain, Jon Russell, TechCrunch, Aug 11, 2017

TechCrunch reports that "Sony said today that it has finished developing a digital system for storing and managing educational records on the blockchain." It's now looking to commercialize the technology. The idea has been around for a while, but this is the first concrete development. "The system is managed by Sony Global Education, and is built on top of IBM Blockchain using IBM’s Cloud and The Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger Fabric 1.0 framework.&... [Direct Link]

A Strategist’s Guide to Blockchain, John Plansky, Tim O'Donnell, Kimberly Richards, Strategy+Business, Aug 08, 2017

This is a pretty good introduction to blockchain, now characterized as "any distributed electronic ledger that uses software algorithms to record transactions with reliability and anonymity." More specifically, "blockchain is a self-sustaining, peer-to-peer database technology for managing and recording transactions with no central bank or clearinghouse involvement." There are some good examples of how blockchain may sustain a variety of recordkeeping functions, but the &#... [Direct Link]

Hyperledger Fabric 1.0 is Released, Chris Ferris, Jonathan Levi, Hyperledger, Aug 01, 2017

From the website as Fabric 1.0 is released: "Hyperledger Fabric is a blockchain framework implementation and one of the Hyperledger projects hosted by The Linux Foundation. Intended as a foundation for developing applications or solutions with a modular architecture, Hyperledger Fabric allows components, such as consensus and membership services, to be plug-and-play. Hyperledger Fabric leverages container technology to host smart contracts called 'chaincode' that comprise the ... [Direct Link]

Hyperledger Fabric 1.0 is Released, Chris Ferris, The Linux Foundation, Jul 11, 2017

According to the website, "Hyperledger Fabric is a platform for distributed ledger solutions, underpinned by a modular architecture delivering high degrees of confidentiality, resiliency, flexibility and scalability." Basically, it's a mechanism for implementing biusiness functions supported by blockchain for security and verifiability. "Hyperledger Fabric 1.0 offers a modular architecture allowing components, such as consensus and membership services, to be plug-and-play. ... [Direct Link]

Blockbench: a framework for analyzing private blockchains, Adrian Coyler, The Morning Paper, Jul 05, 2017

This is a daunting post, and the article it summarizes is more daunting still. But don't worry about following all of it. Here are the main things. First, in addition to 'public' blockchain networks, like Bitcoin, there can be 'private' blockchain networks, used (for example) for internal recordkeeping. Blockchain's immutability and transparency make it attractive for this purpose. Second, in non-public settings, you don't need such an elaborate mechanism for ... [Direct Link]

How Your Data is Stored, or, The Laws of the Imaginary Greeks, Yonatan Zunger, Hacker Noon, Medium, May 26, 2017

I could tell you that this article describes distributed data management as defined by Leslie Lamport’s invention in The Part-Time Parliament (33 page PDF) known as the Paxos algorithm, and the master election protocol called Chubby. But it's better to say that this article is an accessible description of different ways people can keep their records up to date. The systems described form the basis not only of modern file management but also distributed blockchain&... [Direct Link]

I Don’t Believe in Blockchain, Onging, May 18, 2017

I'm sure Don and Alex Tapscott don't want to read this, but Tim Bray (who has a long history of internet standards development) has called the recent attention being paid to blockchain "an over­pro­mot­ed niche sideshow." He writes, "I’ve seen wave after wave of landscape-shifting tech­nol­o­gy sweep through the IT space: Per­son­al com­put­er­s, Unix, C, the In­ter­net and We­b, Java, REST, mo­bile, pub­lic cloud. And with­out ex­cep­tion, I ob­served that they ... [Direct Link]

The Blockchain Revolution and Higher Education, Don Tapscott, Alex Tapscott, EDUCAUSE Review, Mar 21, 2017

This is an overview article of the potential of the blockchain in higher education. We've covered the blockchain in OLDaily before. In a nutshell: a transaction (contract, credential, whatever) is encrypted in a block, and the block is added to a chain of encryptions. So the transaction is public and verifiable, but secret and secure. It's tempting to imagine a network of competencies, badges and blockchains, as Doug Belshaw did last year, but the Tapscitt version is a lot ... [Direct Link]

9 Top eLearning Trends of 2017 from 49 Experts, Bryan Jones, eLearning Art, Feb 28, 2017

I amde a small contribution to this as one of the "49 experts". The top three over all were mobile, microlearning, and video. I can't criticize that list too much, except that I would have pegged it as the 2016 list, not 2017. My own predictions were mobile, subscription-based learning, and e-learning platforms. The full e-book (101 page PDF) is available but the textual content is pretty sparse. My full comments: "These are core trends, not fads like VR or blockchain. They reflect both ... [Direct Link]

Education Technology and the Year of Wishful Thinking, Audrey Watters, Hack Education, Dec 11, 2016

This is the first of Audrey Watters's series on trends in education for 2016 and it's pretty good, even if I disagree with the main metaphor. She depicts 2016 as "a terrible, terrible year" because of the celebrity deaths, bad election results, war and killings. My own observation is that it's business as usual with a bit of a demographic kick as the post-war baby boom reaches its inevitable conclusion. But her observations about the danger of quackery in ed tech are spot on, ... [Direct Link]

Towards a Trusted Framework for Identity and Data Sharing, Irving Wladawsky-Berger, Nov 14, 2016

Good article discussing the emerging distributed framework (a la resource profiles, now known as trusted data ecosystems) for digital identity. Two specific technologies are discussed: a blockchain enabled system called Enigma, and a lighter weight framework called OPAL. "Enigma, is a decentralized computation platform enabling different parties to jointly store and run computations on data while keeping the data completely private... a much simpler and easy-to-deploy version called OPAL (... [Direct Link]

“Edublocks” Could Change How We Learn by Adapting Bitcoin Model to Continued Education, Eliana Osborn, Education News, Sept 05, 2016

You will want to have a look at this video from the Institute for the Future and ACT Foundation. It describes The Ledger' as it is used in education to define 'edublocks'', which in turn are basically blockchain credentials. What's significant is that it enables anyone to give  learning credits to anyone. I have to think that this is the beginning of a huge debate: "The idea of a ‘national learning economy’ isn’t new—America has been moving in ... [Direct Link]

Top 10 Emerging Technologies of 2016, Bernard Meyerson, Mariette DiChristina, Aug 16, 2016

This is a pretty good list, and Irving Wladawsky-Berger adds commentary to each of the ten items listed in this World Economic Forum (WEF) report (website, 18 page PDF). Here's the list (quoted): Nanosensors and the Internet of Nanothings -  could have a huge impact on the future of medicine, architecture, agriculture and drug manufacture. Next Generation Batteries - make mini-grids feasible that can provide clean, reliable, round the clock energy sources to entire ... [Direct Link]

Investigating the Potential of Blockchains, Open University, Aug 10, 2016

This is a very clearly written description of blockchain technology and how it can be used in education. It mostly quotes from John Domingue, director of the Open University's Knowledge Media Institute. See also this position paper from Domingue and three other authors and an article by Robert Herian on trusteeship in a post-trust world, and a webcast by Hugh Halford-Thompson on how blockchain technologies will change industries. But of course the best proof is in the demo, and ... [Direct Link]

A New Approach to Consensus: Swirlds HashGraph , Leemon Baird, Sammantics, Aug 06, 2016

Encrypted currency like bitcoin works because everyone agrees that a transaction has taken place. In the case of the blockchaain, everyone agrees because the record of the transaction can't be changed; it's encrypted and stored in the block. But does everyone need to agree for us to be able to say everyone agrees? Probably not; a good interconnected subset of users will do. And that's the idea behind the mechanism of the blockgraph, the system employed by Swirlds as an alternative ... [Direct Link]

Bitcoin and Blockchains explained, David Hopkins, Technology Enhanced Learning Blog, Jul 05, 2016

This is another useful attempt to help people get a base-level understanding of what a blockchain is and does. Transactions are encrypted and put into blocks. "A block is the ‘current’ part of a blockchain which records some or all of the recent transactions, and once completed goes into the blockchain as permanent database." [Direct Link]

Next Play for LinkedIn - an ePortfolio in every classroom, Kathryn Chang Barker, LinkedIn, Jun 24, 2016

I think you can view this article on LinkedIn without signing into LinkedIn - if not, please let me know. Kathryn Chang Barker writes, "LinkedIn can and should be in every secondary and university classroom in the world, but it needs to add one more tool – an ePortfolio." I have no doubts about the benefit of an ePortfolio - or, morewidely construed, a Personal Learning Record - but does it have to be on LinkedIn? That said, the appeal for Microsoft has to be undeniable. "Already Sony ... [Direct Link]

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