Blockchain, Open Education and digital citizenship

Blockchains in education: trends or opportunities?

Initially, in 2017, there was a very good report by the Joint Research Center “Blockchain in Education” announcing a disruption in most industries and economic models. Two years ago, during the conference “Blockchain, Open Education and digital citizenship” A. Grechco-author of this report, reports a relatively slow improvement, in a tension that remains according to him “unresolved between control and sovereignty”.

Many speakers drew a parallel between the internet and blockchain: two technical developments that were originally similar in freedom, based on open protocols, freeing themselves from intermediary bodies. With a key difference in terms of costs: if the internet was originally built on a system of trust, the blockchain was built on an unbalanced trust, a need for certification and recognition of transactions and “minors”, competing third -party users. to solve complex calculations that validate transactions within the chain.

… And just as the internet has an “internet bubble”, there is a milestone that will pass before the blockchain can really contribute to a world where “monopoly is impossible” (cf. “Beyond the bitcoin bubble”)

Redirecting the web …

The blockchain is appealing because it questions the functioning of the web. The W3C standardization consortium is working on a new pattern to break out of the current trend of data collection driven by the major dominant web players.

R. Verborgh, from the University of Ghent, presented the “SOLID” project, which aims to create a new standard for separating data from applications and the servers that use it. The Internet will no longer be a competition of data accumulation and exploitation but will once again be a place of innovation, where “basic knowledge of html and css combined with an intermediate level of Java” is enough already – these are the requirements to create a “Solid” application.

… And trust?

Like the “Reconnaître” association, the French-speaking branch of the Open Recognition Alliance, the conference is also an opportunity to promote the values ​​of an open and learning society, built on a framework of trust and respect. -ila. individual talents and skills.

This is the case of the BOAT network in the Nouvelle -Aquitaine region, which aims to unite all actors – colleges, high schools, universities, public actors and companies – to locally create an ecosystem where every individual can use their resources. badge and have them endorsed by others and where proof of their attribution can be verified. Or the European Extrasup project, to identify the experience and skills developed by students during civic activities or personal commitment within their training course.


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

  • the European student card, to facilitate movement and identification of the student’s identity.
  • digital safes offered to students, such as the University of Grenoble-Alpes,
  • private digitalization and certificate security solutions,
  • a European pilot project around audit and transparency of European funding,
  • ENIC NARIC network level experiments to assess the authenticity of diplomas within the framework of individual pathways of movement from one European country to another …

And more!

In hindsight, the development of a prototype of the European blockchain infrastructure, within the framework of the “European Blockchain Partnership”, would allow the first experiments in cross-border digital public services where the blockchain would have brought added value. End of 2019, continue…

(Illustration: University of Lille, conference poster)


Blockchain, Open Education and Digital Citizenship Conference

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, Blockchain & education project manager at the University of Lille and French referent of the think tank on the use of blockchain in education:

Already published in Thot:

F. Minichiello. “Blockchain education: preparing for the challenge” (March 2018)
(Last consulted: July 2019)

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