A remarkable gathering of representatives of U.S. universities, colleges and blockchain companies occurred on Oct. 12 at Microsoft’s Sunnyvale campus in the heart of Silicon Valley.
Organized by San Jose’s Evergreen Community College District, the Blockchain in Education West conference brought together a Who’s Who of education administration from across the western U.S. to discuss with leading blockchain companies how and why the technology will impact the learning industry.
School systems, community colleges and universities outnumbered attendees from ODEM, creator of the On-Demand Education Marketplace, and other commercial providers of blockchain services. In my experience, blockchain conferences typically attract more developers than potential clients.
Michael Mathews, Associate VP of Technology and Innovation at Oral Roberts University (ORU) in Tulsa, Oklahoma, acted as master of ceremonies and displayed a deep understanding of blockchain technology and the role of ODEM and other companies in the evolving education system. ODEM Solutions Engineer, Scott Akers, presented Mathews with an ODEM educational certificate for his subject matter knowledge and ability to encourage constructive discussion among conference participants. The certificate was posted on the Ethereum blockchain.
Among the group of about 50 participants, university and college administrators seemed most interested in learning about how blockchain technology can lead their organizations’ digital transformation. Representatives from K-12 public systems and private charter schools were interested in how blockchain can reduce administrative costs.
The general consensus was that blockchain technology presents several opportunities for educators to change the way institutions deliver value-added services to students. There was an emphasis on how the new technology is shifting focus from linear, degree-based, programs to skill-based credentialing that accelerate students into new jobs.
ODEM, IBM and other service providers demonstrated their blockchain-based solutions on stage. ODEM received a number of “callouts” from the audience for the ODEM Platform and the company’s Circle of Life Approach to making education more accessible, affordable, portable and verifiable.
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