On January 13th the BlockChange application was presented at Praktijkschool Helmond. Check the video to watch the presentation (in Dutch).
- Praktijkschool Helmond
- NRC Future Affairs (news letter)
Longpath is a strategic moral philosophy used by individuals, organizations and governments to drive positive, immediate and futures focused change. In this text I have made a longpath for BlockChange.EU.
1. Transgenerational ethics
What are the ethics BlockChange.EU is based on? Equality mainly. When you want equal chances for everyone, you want to have means to let everyone show what they can do. Not the amount of money or the family or country you were born in should be a decisive factor in where you end up in the world. You talents, work ethic, experience should count. That is why BlockChange is based on the idea of a meritocracy. Your merits, what you have done in life and who you have become should determine your chances in life. And this works for all generations: not just ours that comes from a time where a college paper was the end of learning and the start of working; not just ours that lives in a time of transformation, but for all generations.
2. Futures (vs. future) thinking
Thinking of futures, possible outcomes of the way the world has developed until today, we see that the field of education has always thought about the possible future. We teach children what they will, should or could need in their future. Changing curricula, discussions about the 21st century skills and the slight conservative approach of most teachers when it comes tot changing the way they teach or what they teach: it all has to do with the uncertainty of the future.
At this moment you see several possible futures in the field of education: a future in which knowledge is obsolete, everyone can use devices and technology to obtain knowledge, so education should be based on learning about technology, or learning basic skills like communication and problem solving. Others see a future in which basic knowledge of the world is still valuable and needed. Knowledge shapes the way you look at the world. Some want every student to have his own learning path, no more curricula, just going along with the intrinsic curiosity of children. Others don’t believe in instrisic curiosity or are afraid children won’t step out of their comfort zone and firmly believe in a standardized curriculum.
But what all of these possible futures of education share is that the path you took, the things you’ve done become part of who you are. And to that end: logging your development is key. And not in a diploma or a (standardized) grade, but on a more personal level, either being part of a curriculum or a personal choice in learning.
3. Telos aligned action
Why would we want to change the way we store student data. First and most importantly, people can see and express who they are, what they know and can do. They have a better understanding of what they can contribute to society and have better means of telling others about that.
People can contribute in a more meaningful way and that satisfies them more (Maslov/Herzberg/Covey). People become happier, can make more grounded choices. And society benefits to, because people use their talents better which leads to faster and better results of people undertakings.
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Gisteren was de presentatie van BlockChange.EU. Een mooi hoogtepunt in mijn vier jaar durende reis door onderwijs- en blockchainland. De komende maanden zetten we de volgende stappen. Wil je daar deel van uitmaken? Let me know! #blockchain #openbadges #onderwijs Met dank aan @mirthejansennn voor de foto's!
OMO Scholengroep Helmond innovates with digital badges
This article is a translation and was first published in Van12tot18 of December 2019. You can publish this article with a reference to Vermeulen, P. (2019). Alles wat je in je mars hebt in je eigen hand. Van12tot18, 29(12), 30-31.
All your skills , competencies and experiences neatly combined in a digital safe to which only you have the key; and only you decide who can see which part of your portfolio and when. Fully GDRP proof! OMO Scholengroep Helmond has recently completed a very appealing pilot and is now going live with students to test the application. Young people will benefit from this innovation for the rest of their lives.
“We have been working on it in Helmond for a number of years,” says Wim Pelgrim, teacher but above all digital pioneer and educational innovator. “ Student results are now scattered across all kinds of sources. That needed improvement: safely in their own hands. We also see that a certain type of student finds it difficult to sell themselves to a potential employer. That’s why we will start this project with students of the Praktijkschool Helmond, a school for students with an IQ between 55 and 80. Telling what they have to offer is often a bridge too far for them.”
Open Badges and blockchain
Youngsters who participate will have access to an easy phone app. A safe in which data is collected from all kinds of applications that are used within the school. Today, students already have a lot of data about themselves, but they rarely know about it. That data is visualized via Open Badges. “Consider the badges we know from scouting,” Wim explains. “On the uniform of a scout you see all kinds of insignia that tell something about the skills: for example, you can see at a glance that someone can tie good knots or has followed a course with the fire department. Also everyone from Amsterdam, Singapore or Paris can understand these logos. An efficient system that we are now digitizing for our students.”
We work with the Open Badges standard. Think of our project with badges that state: Collaboration level 3 , forklift truck certificate , English level B1 . You name it, the possibilities are endless. School subjects, competencies, skills… And if a dean, career counselor or employer wants to know more about a specific performance , they can simply click the badge. ”
The project team guards against uncontrolled usage and – more importantly – gives high priority to the safety of the innovation. Thanks to a combination of open standards and blockchain technology , this is an extremely reliable system. As the owner of the portfolio, you cannot independently add all sorts of badges or raise levels. Every badge has a kind of digital fingerprint that is stored on blockchain, so the parties involved can verify the authenticity of the information. And moreover, the system has no central storage , and is thus fully compliant with the GDPR.
Insight into your talent
Pupils can use their badges to share information with, for example, an employer, who has temporary access to (a part of) the safe. Wim: “What we are doing is unique in the Netherlands. A uniform standard with which students can go to another school or employers. An ideal starting point for conversations. Not to mention all the latent skills: many students do not even see how much they have grown. A mark for an exam is very specific, but how strong are your social skills, for example? Or your problem-solving capacity? We will help with one clear standard by means of which everything is clearly presented. “
It is great that we can help the students of the Praktijkschool Helmond with it, but this system works for a much wider target group. Consider the international benefits. Suppose a Chinese student comes here to study at Fontys University for a year. How do you check his past? Maybe he designed his own degree, in an extreme case. With our standard you build in safety. Just show us your past!” The system encourages lifelong learning. Childcare information? Calculation application used in primary school? Secondary school portfolio software? Did you take a relevant course or did you follow additional training? Have a performance interview? Super: new badges.
“For us, it is about much more than just exchanging information about the profile of a student. Our students are not consciously working on their future. They only see the here and now, today. It is important for them to experience that present skills are taken to the next step in your life: your working career. You are aware that it has value. You can show badges in your app to an employer: look what I can do. “Wow, are you already on collaboration level 2? And how can we get to 3 here?” Our competencies and those of Senzer have been brought in line, more than ever we will soon be speaking the same language. At Senzer, for example, they can build on the skills of students during their time at our school. As far as I am concerned, it is a major improvement on many levels in comparison to the piece of paper with which someone now graduates. The possibilities are endless!” – Joost Jacobs, Education manager Praktijkschool Helmond
The app is now ready. During a launch event on January 13th at Praktijkschool Helmond, a great moment of success within a lengthy process. Vereniging OMO, to which OMO Scholengroep Helmond’s four secondary schools belong, funded part of the project, in addition to SIDN Fund and Factom. “But we can’t make this project a success on or own,” Wim realizes. “We work with Sphereon, a software company with a lot of experience in the field of blockchain . Volution is also cooperating, an organization that offers digital learning resources that support personalized education. And then in Helmond we finally have a very nice partner in Senzer, the employment office for the region, which daily helps thousands of people with a meaningful job or social participation and their software builder Matchcare.”
Various organizations within and outside of education have already shown an interest in the project. How well does the system work now? The first students will be testing in December and January. Wim is curious about the feedback. “We will receive surprising responses, we are sure of that. Things we haven’t thought of ourselves. Exciting, we will undoubtedly learn a lot from the target group. Phase 1 has now been completed; we are completely ready for the next. “
If you want to be present during the launch of the app on January 13th 2020 at Praktijkschool Helmond? Contact Wim Pelgrim: email@example.com
Author: Perry Vermeulen
All your skills, competences and experiences neatly in a digital safe of which only you have the key; and only you decide who can see which part of your portfolio and when. Fully GDPR proof ! OMO Scholengroep Helmond completes a very appealing pilot on January 13th and starts working with students in practice. Young people will benefit from this innovation for the rest of their lives.
The project has two main objectives: first, save data collection. Safely bringing the data from all applications used in a school together in the hands of the student. In addition , many students find it difficult to sell themselves to a potential employer. The pilot at the Praktijkschool Helmond is intended to help students to tell what they are capable of.
The application is based on the Open Badges architecture. Both the bare image and a hash (digital fingerprint) of every issued badge is recorded on blockchain. The data is provided to the student once by e-mail. This makes the system completely decentralized and complies with the GDPR. Wim Pelgrim, project leader: “We have developed a digital safe, an application in which students store all their data on their own device, without central storage. Results that often appear in all kinds of places come together, but are meanwhile also safe and unable to be counterfeited. Every badge has a kind of digital fingerprint that is stored on blockchain, so that the parties involved can verify the authenticity of information.”
Pupils from Praktijkschool Helmond can use this app to easily transfer their learning results and thereby better present themselves to new employers. Joost Jacobs of the Praktijkschool Helmond: “. Our students are not consciously working on their future. They only see the here and now, today. It is important for them to experience that present skills are taken to the next step in your life: your working career. You are aware that it has value. You can show badges in your app to an employer: look what I can do. As far as I am concerned, it is a major improvement on many levels in comparison to the piece of paper with which someone now graduates. The possibilities are endless!”
The BlockChange application will be presented on January 13th 2020 at the Praktijkschool Helmond. If you want to be present, please contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org.
The BlockChange project is a collaboration between Vereniging Ons Middelbaar Onderwijs , Praktijkschool Helmond, Senzer, Volution and Matchcare . The application was built by Sphereon and funded by Vereniging OMO, Factom and the SIDN Fund.
Last week I saw the TED talk I posted underneath by Margaret Heffernan. In this talk, she tells about efficiency: our Western civilizations are constantly working on making things more efficient, using artificial intelligence, protocol and reducing laborers to cogs in the machinery of society.
But our future, Heffernan tells us, isn’t about efficiency, it is about resilience. And to be resilient, you have to be inefficient. And listening to this talk, I thought about both education and the BlockChange project.
Because this project is also about inefficiency. BlockChange derived from the idea that education is an inefficient, messy process. A combination of several relationships, methods, technologies and interactions, with a different path for every learner.
And because we can never create one system for all, one app above all apps, one way of working for every educational context, we need a system that is robust, resilient, inefficient but ready for the future. And that is what BlockChange.EU will be.
This summer we are building our applications. The badge issuing application is working and underneath you’ll find our first test 🙂
In early April, about two years after our first meeting for this project, the proposal for our technical build is ready. Not only did we work out a way to transfer data from Volution to Senzer, but we worked out a standard that could be used everywhere in education.
New problem: our solution is more complex and more expensive, so two steps forward on content and one step back on finances. We’ll need to find additional funding, but we’re already hard on our way to do that.