Blockchain, open education and digital citizenship

Blockchain in education: a fad or an opportunity?

Originally, in 2017, there was a very promising report by the joint research center “Blockchain in Education” that announced disruptions in the majority of industries and economic models. Two years later, during a conference on “Blockchain, Open Education, and Digital Citizenship” a. GretschThe co-author notes that progress has been relatively slow, with a tension, he says, “an inconclusive between control and sovereignty.”

Many speakers paralleled the Internet and the blockchain: two technical developments originally synonymous with freedom, based on open protocols, freeing themselves from intermediary bodies. With a major difference in terms of values: if the Internet is initially built on a trust system, then the blockchain is built on a trust imbalance, the need to certify and acknowledge transactions and “minors,” third-party users competing to solve the complex computations that will validate transactions within Series.

… And since there is an “internet bubble” on the Internet, there will be a significant milestone to pass before blockchain truly contributes to a world where “monopoly will be impossible” (see “Beyond the Bitcoin Bubble”)

Reinventing the Web…

The blockchain is impressive because it calls into question the performance of the web itself. The W3C Standardization Consortium is working on a new standard to break the current trend of data backlog driven by the major dominant players on the Web.

R. Verburg, of the University of Ghent, presented the “SOLID” project that aims to create a new standard for separating data from the applications and servers that use it. The Internet will not be reduced to a competition in data collection and exploitation, but will once again become a place of innovation, where “basic knowledge of html and css combined with an intermediate level in Java” suffices – these are the basic requirements for developing an application in the “solid”.

…and trust?

Like the Association “Reconnaître”, the French-speaking branch of the Alliance for Open Recognition, the conference was also an opportunity to defend the values ​​of an open and educated society, built on a framework of trust and appreciation. Individual talents and skills.

Such is the case for the BOAT network in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region, which aims to bring together all the actors – colleges, high schools, universities, public actors and businesses – to create a local ecosystem where everyone can use their badges, get accredited by others and where they can be verified of proof of attribution. or the European Extrasup Project, to learn about the experience and skills students have developed during civic activities or personal commitment within the framework of their course.


It is difficult to summarize the wealth of initiatives presented at this conference organized by the University of Lille and the Commonwealth Center for Connected Education: European projects such as:

  • European Student Card to facilitate movement and identification of the student.
  • Digital lockers offered to students, such as Grenoble Alpes University,
  • Certificate security and private digitization solutions,
  • European Pilot Project on Audit and Transparency in European Finance,
  • ENIC NARIC network-wide experiments to validate certificates within the framework of individual mobility paths from one European country to another …

And more !

In the view, the development of a prototype of the European blockchain infrastructure, within the framework of the “European Blockchain Partnership”, which will allow the first trials of cross-border digital public services where the blockchain is supposed to bring added value. The end of 2019, to continue…

(Illustration: University of Lille, conference poster)


Conference on Blockchain, Open Education and Digital Citizenship

JRC Science for Policy report. Blockchain in Education (2017)

S Johnson. “Beyond the Bitcoin Bubble” (2018)

To find out more: Twitter thread by Perrine de Coëtlogon, Project Director for Blockchain and Education at the University of Lille and French reviewer for the think tank on the uses of blockchain in education:

Previously posted on Thot:

F. Minichilo. “Blockchain in Education: Prepare for the Challenge” (March 2018)
(last consultation: July 2019)

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