Longpath (www.longpath.org) for BlockChange.EU

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At this moment you see several possible futures in the field of education: a future in which knowledge is obsolete, everyone can use devices and technology to obtain knowledge, so education should be based on learning about technology, or learning basic skills like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.


A tool for an inefficiënt system

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.

Project proposal ready

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.

Selecting a software builder

Sphereon (@Sphereon) | TwitterOur project group consists of several app builders, teachers and managers, but no blockchain software programmers. We had to select a company that could build our dream for us. After contacting seven companies from all over Europe, we selected Sphereon. We spoke about how to start and on January 10th the entire group will talk about what we want and all technical details.

Contacted DUO

During the last year I have stayed in touch with DUO: the executive branch of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science. Johann Schreurs and Henny Bulstra are working on blockchain projects of the agency. I talked to them at BCinED17 and talked to them again this week. We have  complementary projects: DUO working on governance, we working on the consumer/user side of blockchain in education. We’ll be stayin in touch the next few months.  Check several projects of the DUO innovatielab at GitHub and read about one of their blockchain projects called StudyBits.