As originally posted via Michgan Virtual's Blog
Welcome back to our third and final installment of this introductory series on web3. In this series we’ve explored the technology and trends shaping the next generation of the web and most importantly for this audience what are the potential impacts on education.
In our first post, we walked you through the shifts occurring in the web and specifically highlighted some of the shifts occurring in web3. In particular, we noted that part of the promise of web3, the decentralized Internet, holds transformative potential for education, bringing the promise of greater agency, accessibility, and personalization to learning. At the heart of this revolution is the learner, now able to navigate an interconnected digital ecosystem with tools designed to recognize and respect their unique identity. One of these key tools is Decentralized Digital Identity (DID), a technology that can redefine what it means to be a learner in the digital age. Let’s delve into the empowering possibilities of DIDs and how they can be combined with verifiable credentials to craft a more inclusive, equitable, and personalized learning experience.
Decentralized Digital Identity systems often referred to as DIDs are another key piece of technology that will serve a critical role for all of us in the future. While their use is still fairly limited, many states are actively exploring using these systems as a way to issue digital representations of things like a driver’s license. Other organizations like Randa are reimagining identity by using new technology to help teachers bridge their teaching licenses from state to state. From a high-level perspective, DIDs allow us to store information about ourselves in a secure yet accessible format on blockchain.
So what? How does this empower learners?
In the last post, we talked about the potential for scaled adoption of verifiable credentials where learners could be presented with digital recognition of their learning, allowing them to share what they have learned. If we combine this with the ability for learners to share information about themselves through a DID securely, we can quickly develop a more holistic learner profile that can fill a number of gaps AND present us with new opportunities.
The powerful combination of DIDS and verifiable credentials could be a game-changer for educators and school leaders, reducing friction between the learner’s needs and access to learning opportunities. While there are still technical and philosophical hurdles we must solve for the benefit of the school and most importantly the learner can be extensive.
In addition to these three areas, it’s worth exploring the impact that the development of such profiles can have when combined with AI.
With greater access to new technologies, we are inching closer to the realization of truly personalized learning experiences for all learners. One of the major roadblocks we have encountered is the sheer scale of personalization that is required to cater to the unique needs of each learner. Teachers, no matter how dedicated, are constrained by time and resources in developing personalized learning pathways that cater to all learners.
Adaptive learning programs that create tailored pathways for learners are not an entirely new concept. Teachers have been leveraging programs like Rennaissance, Edmentum, etc. which use diagnostic tools to create personalized learner pathways in math, reading, science, etc. The problem with these systems is that they are rather one-dimensional tracking progress in a narrow band of learner understanding.
So how do we inform this AI-driven system about each learner’s unique identity, skills, interests, and achievements? This is where DIDs and verifiable credentials come into play. DIDs, combined with verifiable credentials, can provide a comprehensive learner profile. This profile not only includes academic achievements but also captures the holistic learner, including their interests, experiences, and soft skills.
In this envisioned future, AI systems would draw detailed learner profiles, that contain a much richer and detailed profile of the learner, to create and curate personalized learning experiences across disciplines. This unlock can effectively bridge the gap between the need for personalized education and the ability to deliver it. With these technological advancements, we are approaching a window of opportunity where personalized education for all learners is not just a lofty goal but a feasible reality.
We stand on the cusp of a new era in education, one in which web3 has the potential to give us more than a set of tools such as blockchain, verifiable credentials, and DIDs. They can be catalysts for a transformative shift towards learner-centered education that emphasizes agency, access, and personalization. As we continue exploring and unraveling the potential of these technologies, we will be ushering in a new landscape where each learner’s identity is valued and every learning journey is personalized. The future of education is not just about the adoption of new technology, rather it’s about reimaging learning for the digital age, placing the learner at the center of their educational journey.
I hope you’ve enjoyed our first look at the potential of web3 technologies and their potential impact on education. If you’re interested in learning more, I would encourage you to connect with Ed3 DAO a community dedicated to exploring the intersection of web3 technology and education at ed3dao.com and on our socials Linkedin and Twitter.