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Sony and IBM Join Forces to Put Student Achievement on the Blockchain

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The two tech giants work in cooperation to create an education records platform on the blockchain.


         Sony and IBM Join Forces to Put Student Achievement on the Blockchain

On August 9, IBM announced the firm’s cooperation with Sony Global Education — a subsidiary of Sony, providing global educational services — with the objective to develop a learning platform for students implementing blockchain technology.

According to IBM, the blockchain-based educational platform would allow school administrators to manage and consolidate the educational data of students at multiple schools in addition to recording and referring their “learning history and digital academic transcripts with more certainty.” The platform will use the IBM Blockchain, which is based on the IBM Cloud, to establish “transparency and accountability of scholastic achievements between students and schools,” allowing both professors and students to track the latter’s learning progress.

The tech giant pointed out that it is often difficult for employers to verify student records of potential hires. According to IBM, there are multiple reasons for this issue, including students taking online courses and attending universities abroad. Such “non-traditional methods” can create confusion for the employers; however, IBM believes implementing blockchain technology will resolve the issue. The learning platform will give both the teachers and the students a digital, trusted record showing their accomplishments, which can be — thanks to the nature of blockchain technology — easily verified by future employers or educational institutions.

“Blockchain technology has the potential to impact systems in a wide variety of industries, and the educational sphere is no exception when educational data is securely stored on the blockchain and shared among permissioned users. We are pleased that we have worked together with IBM to build a new system which can help effect real change in the education sector,” Masaaki Isozu, President of Sony Global Education, said in a statement.

The system’s work is simple: student data will be recorded by the platform and shared with “need-to-know parties,” including future employers and school administrators. Since the learning platform will be using the IBM Blockchain, every piece of data can be verified by the parties.

Schools, colleges and universities can also share the data to help teachers identify and implement unique teaching methods for each student based on the information on the blockchain. The learning platform will also collect all related information and place it in a single repository, which will allow the reliable sharing of digital transcripts. Students will be able to create certain networks on the blockchain, which can’t be altered or changed by any party.

In addition, the platform will help specific vendors target offerings based on verified needs. Representatives from IBM Japan confirmed to Bitcoin Magazine that these vendors include private preparatory schools and cram schools (institutions specialized in training students to reach certain goals). The only data provided to the vendors are the study results of the students. The students or their parents will maintain access control for the students’ study results.

“Blockchain [technology] offers a new approach to how the lifetime history of data related to a person, place or thing is shared and managed. In effect, data tracked on a blockchain becomes a single source of truth. We are delighted to have supported Sony Corporation and Sony Global Education to build up a new blockchain-based platform for innovations in education,” said Yoshiki Minowa, Vice President and partner of Cognitive Process Transformation, Global Business Services, IBM Japan.

The platform will be powered by Hyperledger Fabric 1.0, a blockchain framework and one of the Hyperledger projects hosted by The Linux Foundation.

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