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7 Ways NFTs Will Change the Future of Education

Mintology Admin Nov 10, 2022 7:47:37 PM

Find out how NFTs are making it easy to verify academic documents, student credentials, and achievements.

 

Back in the day, it was always super exciting to experience new things at school. From science fairs to school trips, the wonder of seeing something new is absolutely unforgettable. This sense of curiosity still lives on today.

Education is the home of innovation. It’s got a tough but important job of introducing new ideas to this generation and the next. In recent years, we’ve seen how education adapts to technology by using the Internet and cloud software for online learning. Through technology, education bridged gaps so we could finally share knowledge with people all over the world. 

All industries converge at education’s crossroads, making it ever-present and relevant. As an industry itself, education is growing fast and is expected to become a $10 trillion global industry by 2030. With this vast future within reach, the industry will have to use innovation more than ever to reach this goal. 

Education’s Trillion-Dollar Challenges

Even after evolving with eLearning and MOOCs, the industry still faces countless challenges. Prevalent issues include plagiarism, authorship fabrication, and fresh grads lying about their credentials. A 2021 study found 1 out of 10 students across the world plagiarize their work. Indeed.com also estimates around 40% of applicants lie on their resumes. Including info about their education. As a global community, education must tackle these challenges head-on. 

 

Fortunately, using NFTs can help solve many of these problems.

What are NFTs? 

NFTs or non-fungible tokens are, in the most basic sense, certificates of ownership. They’re unique and cannot be traded for anything of equal value. They can authenticate both digital and physical real-world items, and record them on a decentralized public ledger called a blockchain. In simpler terms, it’s like a public recording system.

Besides cryptocurrency transactions, blockchain technology also records unique digital identifiers used by NFTs. This makes it possible for anyone to “tokenize” important documents and records. And, easily verify the ownership and authenticity of any tokenized item. This will also make these documents almost impossible to take off the public record. 

Several computers connected to a global network on the blockchain keep and distribute public copies of these records, making sure that everyone has the same copy and disabling anyone to fabricate, change, or delete records.

Anyone can create NFTs through “minting.” Minting is the process of tokenizing or producing a token of a real-world or digital asset. Including photos, videos, songs, and important documents. Platforms like Mintable help people mint NFTs and make it an easy process. Many businesses and even Fortune 500 companies also use NFTs to grow their brand.

Tokenization will prove extremely useful in education where the authenticity of progress and records are held to the highest standard.

How NFTs Can Support Education

Universities, schools, and educators can use NFTs today to preserve authenticity, credibility, and growth in the space. There are a number of ways the industry can benefit from using tokenized digital assets such as issuing important documents, managing credentials, and reducing the risk of plagiarized and stolen works. 

 

Let’s check out 7 promising NFT utilities innovating present and future education:

7 Use Cases of NFTs in Education

Quick Summary:

  1. Authenticating certificates and diplomas
  2. Verifying awards and recognition
  3. Verifying student records
  4. Protecting works and authors
  5. Nurturing student growth
  6. Rewarding work royalties
  7. Documenting CPD

1 Authenticating Certificates and Diplomas

The first use case on our list might be the one with the most potential.

Diplomas and certificates are some of the most valued and referenced credentials in education. Universities and colleges are the only qualified institutions that can issue these credentials because of their importance. Yet, the real challenge comes after awarding these documents.

Over the years, it’s become increasingly difficult to verify the authenticity of such binding documents. Because of their value in job applications, many applicants pretend to hold degrees or certificates they haven’t completed at all. A lot of fake diploma and certificate services also pop up to meet the demand. 

 

NFTs can help solve this growing problem.

Tokenized digital assets can help create public, legitimate, and most of all, foolproof digital copies of diplomas and certificates. These documents will no longer be “just a piece of paper.” It will open up new ways for educational institutions to link academic track records to these achievements. (More on these later.) 

To boot, potential employers can now check the authenticity of these credentials. It will save up a lot of time and money that comes with checking each applicant’s credentials with awarding institutions. With NFTs, they can simply search for a candidate’s name or cross-check their document on the university’s blockchain.

Many universities already use NFTs to substitute printed diplomas and certificates. 

 

World-famous MIT was one of the first universities to tokenize digital credentials. Duke University's Master of Engineering in Financial Technology program also offered certifications with NFTs. Students who completed Duke’s engineering courses on blockchain technology were awarded digital tokens along with their FinTech engineering master’s degree. University of Georgia's New Media Institute also started to offer NFT certificates. John Weatherford, a senior lecturer at NMI, envisioned a future where “one could picture NFTs as part of the college credentialing process,” This way, he continues, “... students have a unique, verified digital credential to share with companies instead of having just a paper certificate."

 

NFTs can help the education sector block off any means of fabricating diplomas and certificates. This will help confirm the credibility of academic achievements and in turn, amplify their real-world value.

2 Verifying Awards and Recognition

Speaking of achievements, awards and recognition such as Latin honors are the next academic credentials often falsified. They are also hard to account for and verify, especially when each awarding institution has different awards.

Blockchain’s decentralized ledger can help schools and universities document students’ achievements, awards, and successes over time. Teachers can reward students with NFT awards for accomplishing learning goals and milestones. At the same time, they can help teachers confirm award authenticity and lessen any chance of duplication.

One frequently discussed example is Beau Brannan’s, visiting professor at Pepperdine University, take on using NFTs in education. He says, through NFTs, teachers can reward student progress. Future merits and achievements can be credited to the student’s lifetime learning history. 

Students can use their tokenized awards and recognition as a form of academic documentation for higher education and job applications. Each token will serve as proof a student has completed a learning achievement and may include details about their performance. This can encourage students to perform better knowing their accomplishments won’t get overlooked or difficult to credit.

 

Building on this idea, this approach can also help them customize their teaching style to fit their students’ learning styles and their own preferences.

3 Verifying Student Credentials and Records

Another interesting use of NFTs is improving the student, teacher, and alumni recording system.

Think about the resources, office space, and time organizing student records takes up. Blockchain technology can make it easier and more convenient for schools and universities to manage and keep track of student and alumni records. 

As crucial and private documents, tokenized digital records will reduce the risk of file theft and forgery for both physical and digital files. This method of organization will make it easy for teachers, students, and alumni to record, review, and share information on demand. It can also be a more efficient and secure way to manage student records, teacher credentials, and educational histories.

Edtech freelance writer, Christin Bohnke, says the range of NFT use cases can go far beyond the classroom. For instance, if a graduate or student needs to get their credentials checked, tokenized academic documents can prove useful if they’ve misplaced their records or diplomas. It can also help displaced people confirm their educational background in case their nation’s academic record system fails. 

Digital tokens can also validate those with informal education, she adds. And, expand its application to confirming research experiences, projects, learned skills, mentorships, internships, and online learning.

4 Protecting Work Ownership

Verifying authorship is another challenging aspect of education NFTs can help out with. The authentication of theses, projects, and publications is usually limited to printed or online publications. However, like most ways of recording, they can be altered or deleted. 

Moreover, students, authors, and educators tend to spend months, years, or even a lifetime completing a body of work, only to end up uncredited or ripped off. Through NFT technology, it can be easy for anyone to attribute ownership to their works. They can mint a digital copy of their work and authenticate it without having to go through a demanding process.

A director from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Peter Thomas, also observed this lack of copyright protection for student works and projects. 

There is a need to recognize work and creativity to encourage students to confidently pursue their interests or study. 

Even scientists and innovators fail to receive credit for their discoveries, especially when they don’t apply for patents. The University of California in Berkeley aimed to solve this problem by tokenizing the research of two Nobel Prize winners: 2018 Physiology or Medicine Nobel Prize winner James Allison for his work on cancer immunotherapy; and 2020 Chemistry Nobel Prize winner Jennifer Doudna for her CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing. Later on, their NFTs were sold at an auction to raise money for further research.

5 Gamification and Student Growth

One of the most trending innovations in education today is the gamification of learning experiences. 

By taking advantage of gaming’s addictive element, educators can use this force for good to supplement and boost engagement and progress. Many educators find it effective to turn education into a game or “gamifying” it. Education can adopt gaming’s highly engaging reward system.

This is where NFTs come in. Tokenizing awards and incentives can give both teachers and students more attractive learning experiences.

Extracurricular and organizational activities can also apply the same approach with claimable NFTs. These tokens can reward students for participating in events, intra- or interschool competitions, leadership roles, and even membership badges. This encourages students to actively engage not only in required curricular activities but in opportunities that nurture their personal interests.

As a global community, NFT enthusiasts and pioneers encourage emerging creatives, particularly students to showcase their art and talents to the world. Many budding artists, illustrators, developers, designers, and musicians discover and develop their talents in school. Digital collectibles can help them authenticate the originality of their work and build their own verified collection.

Specialized creative departments in higher education can also benefit from tokenizing their projects and setting up fundraisers from them. Digital collectibles and tokens are also easy to list and sell on NFT marketplaces. As a result, they can possibly nurture both their creative and entrepreneurial talents by selling their works online. NFT platforms give creators a choice to add royalties to all lifetime sales of their work.

6 Rewarding Royalties 

On the topic of royalties, authors and publishers also work hard to produce reliable resource materials across all areas of education.

Textbooks, manuals, and courses are some of these materials often resold after use. By then, authors and publications no longer receive any continued forms of payment such as royalties.

With NFTs,  they can publish or rather mint digital copies of their work as resellable digital assets with lifetime royalties added to them. This is made possible with the addition of a royalty percentage of the resales clause in the NFT’s smart contract. 

Every time their product gets resold, they can continue to receive royalties for their work and benefit from future sales of their product. For authors, this is an excellent way of incentivizing their work. For publishing companies, it expands their current and future sources of revenue. 

Pearson Education, a reputable education publishing company, is already finding ways to claim royalties from all succeeding sales of their digital product line.

7 Documenting Continued Professional Development

Last but not least, NFTs can help professionals document and validate CPD or continuing professional development. 

Learning also goes beyond the corridors of universities and tabs of e-learning. For many professionals, continuing professional development is key to scaling their career growth. Licensed professionals such as physicians, lawyers, engineers, and even teachers themselves may undergo further training or significant learning experiences that need documentation.

It’s increasingly difficult to prove the authenticity of one’s expertise based on reputation or records, videos, or photos that are now easy to manipulate with current technology. Let’s say, for example, a mechanic wants to prove they know how to fix a specific brand’s engine. By recording an explainer video and minting it as an NFT, car owners with engine problems with the same brand can validate the mechanic’s expertise in solving this issue.

Other examples include documenting a surgeon’s first surgery, an oncologist doing a biopsy, a restaurant kitchen’s cleanliness procedures, and even a pilot’s ability to drive a helicopter. 

Conclusion

As you can see, there is a growing number of use cases for NFTs to benefit and advance the future of the education sector. Blockchain technology can become an integral driving solution for the industry. 

In the next ten years, it can help educators and students share and contribute a collective library of knowledge. Not to mention, assist employers and promising applicants to speed up the hiring process with a more convenient and reliable credential system. 

Today, universities and educational institutions can easily access cost-effective and organization-ready NFT minting services such as Mintology. The possibilities are endless! Creativity is education’s only limitation when it comes to tokenized digital assets.

Explore more real-world NFT use cases in your industry. Send us a message to discover how to use NFTs to scale your brand.