FlexchainEdu: (re)Defining a New Era in Education & Value

Concurrent Session 8

Brief Abstract

Today, few students follow a linear path towards earning a degree at a single institution. For the typical student with multiple transcripts and no credential, we're piloting FlexchainEdu, an industry-driven, blockchain-backed passport to empower lifelong learning. Come discover the tools and trends (and one possible solution) on the verge of (re)defining online education.


Taylor Kendal is an educator, writer, designer, improviser, community developer, techno-philosopher and the Chief Program Officer at Learning Economy. His work with the U.S. Dept. of Education, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Library of Congress, MSU Denver, and CU Denver has led him to a lifelong love for education, innovation, design, and the cultivation of decentralized, future-focused networks. He holds an MA in Information Learning Technologies from CU Denver and has 20 years of experience in project/event management, digital/social strategy, instructional/LX design, culture-crafting, improvising, and systems-level hacking of post-secondary education. Taylor is currently focused on Web 3.0, digital ethics, bridging cultures of entrepreneurship and education, infusing agility and intellectual honesty into bureaucracy, learning from/traveling to distant lands (virtually and physically), exploring the future of education on blockchains, and occasionally writing to help make sense of it all. taykendesign.com | @taykendesign | taylor@learningeconomy.io

Extended Abstract

The student (and parents) of the near future will no longer envision a single linear educational path from pre-school to post-doc, and will instead respond to an ever-evolving, nonlinear path, dynamically carved by cognified machines and smart new personally-responsive peripherals. While foundational soft-skills will still be valued and taught, nearly all educational enterprises focused on information transfer will have evaporated in the wake of increasingly complex cybernetics and biodigital interfaces. If they're not already, students of the future will quite literally be cyborgs.

In response to this future vision, a new technology has emerged, and the ubiquity of acronyms and buzzwords that surround it are as bountiful as the problems it could potentially solve. The Blockchain, which you may associate with popular cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, has been making major headlines in education. Most recently, Sony Global Education, in partnership with IBM, has announced a project to create a centralized, blockchain-based ledger for storing educational information, such as degrees, diplomas, tests and more, as a kind of ‘digital transcript.’ The MIT Media Lab, in partnership with Learning Machine, has evolved Blockcerts, an open standard for creating, issuing, viewing, and verifying blockchain-based certificates. These major-player projects, along with a host of other new tools represent an entirely new ecosystem of potential for educators and students.

In this session, participants will be introduced to many of these new concepts and tools, and collaboratively discuss and explore the future of credentialing through FlexchainEdu, a new pilot, connected to learning outcomes, mapped to relevant job skills, and verifiable regardless of degree completion. The early educational innovators matter now more than ever. We hope you'll join us in collaboratively (re)defining tomorrow's educational paradigm.