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ACE Receives ED Funds to Explore Blockchain's Potential


The American Council on Education is exploring the use of blockchain in education with a new initiative funded by the U.S. Department of Education. The Education Blockchain Initiative seeks to "help identify and evaluate ways that blockchain technology can improve the flow of data among educational institutions and employers while empowering individuals to translate educational outcomes into economic opportunity," according to a news announcement.

"This work is about exploring the potential of blockchain technology to give learners greater control over their educational records," said Ted Mitchell, president of ACE, in a statement. "It's about enabling more seamless transitions between and across K-12, higher education and the workforce. This initiative will explore how this nascent technology can break down barriers for opportunity seekers to fully unlock their learning and achievement."

A steering committee made up of experts in technology and education as well as workforce stakeholders will oversee the initiative. Members include:

The committee will oversee the development of a research paper that will "review the current use of blockchain in education as well as identify opportunities and challenges for potential applications that can advance equity in educational and workforce outcomes." In addition, the initiative plans to launch a competitive challenge to fund blockchain pilot programs, with winners to be selected by the committee members. A process and criteria for pilot project selection will be released later this year.

"Blockchain holds vast potential to better connect learning in diverse contexts and help students achieve their education and workforce goals and ultimately improve mobility," said Louis Soares, ACE's chief learning and innovation officer and lead for the initiative. "ACE is excited to lead this work and ensure the learning from this project is accessible across educational institutions."

About the Author

Rhea Kelly is editor in chief for Campus Technology, THE Journal, and Spaces4Learning. She can be reached at [email protected].

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