In the past couple of years, the world has been through a lot of changes. With the COVID-19 pandemic forcing people into their homes, several alternatives had to be devices in order to ensure that life carried on in a somewhat predictable manner. Social distancing being the mantra, it was impossible for many to gather in a common place for a purpose. As a result, remote working and online education took center stage. From first days in kindergarten to college graduations, everything was shifted online.
Since then, schools, colleges, and workplaces have reopened, but the flexibility and accessibility that came with online work are still much sought after. The whole situation demonstrated that merging technology with education was the way to go and that the combination has the potential to offer manifold benefits. Therefore, merging schooling with the other big thing of 2021 (Yes, we’re talking about NFTs) was something of a no-brainer.
But how exactly do NFTs work with regard to education? Read on to find out.
What are NFTs?
First things first. Before we catapult ourselves into how NFTs can revolutionize education, let us first get a clear idea of what an NFT is and how it works. An NFT, or a non-fungible token, is, very simply, a unique digital identifier. They serve as digital proof of ownership for various assets. As the name suggests, NFTs are non-fungible, meaning they cannot simply be exchanged or bartered for any other.
NFTs are minted and recorded on the blockchain and can be used to verify and track ownership as well as the authenticity of a product. It is evident how this could help in the art industry in preventing counterfeits from making their way into the market. NFT also enables the option of royalties for the creator, allowing artists to benefit from secondary sales of their products.
And NFTs can be anything from images to audio files to even books! All of these are sold and traded on NFT marketplaces with surprising ease!
How do NFTs help in education?
As has been proven time and again, NFTs have the potential to transform several industries. Education notwithstanding. The possible applications of NFTs in education has been discussed by experts and students alike. Here are a few ways in which education can benefit from the integration of NFTs.
Issuing mark sheets, degree certificates, and other academic records can often be tedious. Any college student could attest to the fact that running from pillar to post for academic records. In this case, NFTs can serve as digital credentials and tokens of students’ achievements and accolades.
NFTs are, by virtue, unique. This is something that works perfectly in the case of unique student performance and information. Add to the fact that the blockchain technology that underlies NFTs can enable verification of authenticity, and you have yourself a system that is a win for everyone involved. From students to college management to potential employers, proof of a document’s integrity can go a long way.
- Digital Badges and Micro Credentials
When one learns a new skill, micro-credentials are awarded in recognition of the milestone. This could serve as a tremendous reinforcement and morale boost for students., and can encourage them to pick up new skills. NFTs offer yet another use case, as NFT badges can reduce the risk of forged credentials. The gamification that is made possible by NFTs can also offer an element of fun to the whole endeavor.
- Safeguarding Research and Records
It’s never easy for the management of giant universities to keep an accurate track of all student records. And it’s even harder to do that for alumni! But even if digital records exist, they are always susceptible to data breaches and forgery. The blockchain technology that underlies NFTs would make it impossible for anyone to tamper with information, making it extremely safe to store student data as NFTs. This information would also be accessible to instructors.
With regard to research, patents are all-important. If not for patents, the innovators run the risk of their work being stolen. They may also not be properly credited or recognized for their findings. Research findings have been turned into NFTs, and this could help verify the originality of the results. Furthermore, if the researcher were to auction off the NFT, the proceeds could go towards funding innovation.
- Virtual Education and Experiential Learning
Virtual education is already much sought after. Universities could take it to the next level by offering digital courses as NFTs. Learning, too, becomes intrinsically rewarding when NFTs are added to the mix. NFTs can contain short descriptions of a student’s performance and other factors that could serve as a reward. NFTs could also add a layer of gamification to the learning process, making it all the more fun!
Experiential learning, too, could receive a boost from NFTs. For professions that require intensive practical experience, such as surgery, NFTs could be used to document a student’s work and experience in practical classes, thereby serving as verifiable proof of the student’s skill and credentials. Even a video of the training could be verifiable proof.
Scholarship opportunities could be streamlined with the introduction of NFTs. Deserving students can be given NFTs that would give them access to a wide range of scholarships and other incentives such as courses, event passes, learning material, and so on.
Students and management aside, textbook authors, too, can benefit from NFTs. While authors and publishers receive income when their books are sold, secondary sales of their work do not fetch them any returns. This problem is solved with NFTs. If textbooks are minted as NFTs, secondary sales allow authors to earn royalties.
With every sector trying to upgrade itself to match the current world, there has been tremendous scope for NFTs to improve so many industries. The education system, not to be left behind, has already adopted NFTs into its processes. Apart from the direct advantages NFTs provide in the education sector, they also allow students to mint their work as NFTs and auction them off on NFT trading platforms. This would, no doubt, help them put themselves through school with ease. With technology paving the way to the future, it is important for all fields to stay abreast of happenings in the tech world that can be adopted to the best advantage.