In this article, we will discuss how to implement blockchain in the education industry. We will go through all the steps required for developing a market-competitive blockchain platform for the education sector. Let’s start.
Implement Blockchain in Education
I will now explain the steps involved to build a blockchain platform for the education sector. These steps are as follows:
1. Define the project scope
There are several use cases for blockchain in the education sector as we have discussed in our blog here, and you need a detailed discussion with your business stakeholders to select the suitable one. Businesses can use it for asset tokenization, supply chain management, digital identity management, etc.
Hire a project manager (PM) with experience in leading blockchain development projects.
You should also hire an IT architect with blockchain expertise and a team of business analysts. This team should discuss with the business stakeholders and define the project scope. You might offer a web app, an Android app, and an iOS app.
2. Project planning
Your PM needs to plan the project thoroughly, which involves several considerations, e.g.:
- You need to determine if you need a cryptographic token.
- Analyze the level of data privacy you need. A blockchain project concerning the education sector will likely process sensitive data, therefore, you should use an enterprise blockchain. Read more about this in “Public vs private (permissioned) blockchain comparison”.
- Choose an appropriate enterprise blockchain framework.
- Select a cloud services provider for hosting the enterprise blockchain system.
Our guide “What to plan for when undertaking blockchain software development?” can help you with this planning exercise.
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3. Choose the right enterprise blockchain framework
Public blockchain networks can’t ensure data privacy, however, a blockchain-powered solution for educational technology will contain sensitive data. Enterprise blockchains support data privacy, therefore you should choose a suitable enterprise blockchain framework for this project.
I recommend that you use Hyperledger Fabric, a popular open-source framework for enterprise blockchain networks. Hyperledger Consortium, an industry group consisting of many businesses has created this framework. Fabric offers many advantages, e.g.:
- Unlike public blockchain networks like Bitcoin and Ethereum, Hyperledger Fabric uses consensus algorithms that facilitate high transaction throughput.
- Fabric helps developers to create a scalable blockchain network, moreover, it’s also a smart contract platform.
- IBM and several other technology giants contribute to Fabric and other Hyperledger projects, which ensures steady development of the framework.
- Fabric has a modular architecture with pluggable components for functions like identity management, consensus algorithm, etc. This expedites development.
- You need a permissioned blockchain for this project, and Fabric enables you to create one.
- Fabric uses “Channels”, which enables data-partitioning. This will help you to ensure data privacy.
- This enterprise blockchain framework has rich querying capabilities.
- For application systems that need higher security, Fabric offers its “Hardware Security Model” (HSM) to protect the digital signature keys.
You can read “Pros and cons of Hyperledger Fabric for blockchain networks” for more insights.
4. Select the right blockchain network host
You need to select an appropriate blockchain network host, and “Blockchain on AWS” is a great choice. It’s a comprehensive platform for blockchain development, and it offers the following advantages:
- “Blockchain on AWS” makes good use of the excellent cloud capabilities of AWS.
- You can use Hyperledger Fabric on this platform.
- You can either have a centralized ledger on this platform or a decentralized ledger. A trusted authority manages a centralized ledger and shares it with the other participants. On the other hand, members own peer nodes in the case of a decentralized ledger.
- Both centralized and decentralized ledgers offer you all the key advantages of blockchain, i.e., immutability, transparency, and audit trail.
- “Blockchain on AWS” offers the Amazon “Quantum Ledger Database” (QLDB), which is a fully managed ledger database.
- Using the fully managed “Amazon Blockchain Service”, you can easily build a Hyperledger Fabric blockchain network.
- You can use the “AWS Blockchain Templates” to easily create and deploy a secure blockchain network.
Read more about “Blockchain on AWS” in “Best blockchain network hosts”.
5. Build a development team
It’s time to form the complete project team, therefore, you need to onboard competent people for the following roles:
- UI designers;
- Blockchain developers with experience in Hyperledger Fabric including smart contract development;
- Web developers;
- Android developers;
- iOS developers;
- DevOps engineers.
Given that blockchain is a niche skill, this project is complex. You should hire a field expert development team for a project like this, as I have explained in “Freelance app development team vs. field expert software development teams”.
6. Design the UI for the web and mobile apps
Your web and mobile apps need user-friendly UIs, therefore, you should follow appropriate guidelines. Consult these resources:
- “User interface design guidelines: 10 rules of thumb” for designing the web app UI;
- “Human Interface Guidelines” for the iOS app UI design;
- “Guidelines – Material Design” for designing the Android app UI.
7. Develop your blockchain application on AWS
You now need to develop your blockchain application on AWS, and the front end of your web and mobile apps will access this. As part of this step, you will create “chaincodes”, i.e., smart contracts in Hyperledger Fabric parlance.
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This involves the following:
- Create the network and the first member.
- You need to create an endpoint.
- As the next step, you need to set up a client.
- The system needs a member admin, therefore, you now need to set this up.
- Transactions in this system need peer nodes, and you need to set up one such node.
- Create a channel to secure sensitive data.
- Read “Chaincode tutorials” and develop the chaincodes you need.
- This application will likely require sensitive data passing hands, therefore, you should create a joint channel and invite members as needed.
Read “Get started creating a Hyperledger Fabric blockchain network using Amazon Managed Blockchain” for more insights.
8. Develop the web, Android, and iOS apps
It’s time to create web, Android, and iOS apps.
Developing the proposed web app involves the following:
- Code the app using Node.js, a popular open-source runtime environment. It helps you to create a performance and scalable web app.
- Read “Deploy a Node.js web app”, and deploy the app on AWS.
Create the proposed Android app using Android Studio and code it using Java. You can read “Getting started with Android app development” and learn how to use AWS Amplify for this. Read “Publish your app” to learn how to publish the app to Google Play.
Use Xcode to code the proposed iOS app, and develop it using Objective-C. Read “Getting started with iOS app development” to learn how to use AWS Amplify for iOS app development. Publish the app to Apple App Store by following the instructions in “Submit your apps today.”.
Planning to Implement Blockchain in Education?
So, this is it on how to implement blockchain in education. According to a study done by Markets and Markets, “The global blockchain market size is expected to grow from USD 3.0 billion in 2020 to USD 39.7 billion by 2025, at an impressive Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 67.3% during 2020–2025.”
Education Blockchain Action Network is an example of a blockchain-based education system that helps education administrators, parents, students, etc. in developing a space for conversation, open-source project development, etc.
If you, as a business CEO, are planning to invest in a blockchain education solution, you are making a lucrative business decision given the popularity of decentralized technologies in all major industries.
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However, to succeed in your plan of developing the next best blockchain education platform in the market, you will need a team of skilled blockchain developers who have experience in working with blockchain technologies along with associated programming languages, frameworks, tools, etc.
Read more details on the technologies used by blockchain developers in our blog here.
If you lack such blockchain development skills in your product development team, it is best for you to partner with a reputed software development company to implement blockchain in education.
DevTeam.Space can help you here with the field-expert blockchain developers community. You can partner with them by writing to us your blockchain education solution description via this form and one of our technical managers will get back to you to further discuss product development and management details.
Frequently Asked Questions
The distributed digital ledger will help educational institutions in keeping tamper-proof student records of academic transcripts, academic achievements, online courses, teachers’ performance, attendance records, research publications, other academic credentials, etc. while ensuring data security and transparency in all students’ academic records.
Education blockchain technology can help academic institutions to devise a true peer-to-peer online education platform for a lifelong learning process, other than record-keeping of academic achievement, digital credentials, learning materials, etc. It would be decentralized, with no single central authority, and rather maintained by a consensus algorithm agreed upon by the participant nodes in the blockchain network.
The cost of blockchain distributed ledger development will depend on the scope of your blockchain application. The choice of public or private blockchain network will also affect the cost. The cost is inclusive of quality assurance expenses, using third-party tools, developers’ costs, etc. It can range from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand.