Working on the Blockchain

Open sharing of academic proficiency

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Sony Global Education, Inc. is announcing that it has adapted blockchain* technology to the educational field and has developed technology that enables open and secure sharing of academic proficiency and progress records. Blockchain has attracted considerable attention in recent years, particularly in its application in the realm of finance with virtual currencies such as bitcoin. Open peer-to-peer (P2P) exchange platforms for these currencies have continued to grow in number. Blockchain shows great promise in revolutionizing services of all kinds, however, not just in the world of finance. It enables network users to freely and securely transfer permissions, without the need for an established relationship of trust between network participants, and in such a way that damaging or tampering with programs and data is prohibitively difficult.

Building a new, widely applicable educational infrastructure that enables diverse methods of evaluation

Sony Global Education has now developed technology that applies blockchain to the educational field, leveraging blockchain’s secure properties to realize encrypted transmission of data – such as an individual’s academic proficiency records and measures of progress – between two specified parties. The technology has the potential to realize an entirely new infrastructure system for sharing records securely over the network in any number of ways, opening new doors of possibility for academic records and how they are assessed. For example, after taking an examination to demonstrate his or her academic proficiency level, an individual could direct the testing organization to share the test results with one or more third-party evaluating organizations. This would be a first if implemented on a system-wide basis.

The technology has the potential to realize an entirely new infrastructure system for sharing records

Sony Global Education’s mission is “to provide a range of unifying, non-traditional services that inspire a passion for learning across the world and that offer the opportunity to act on this passion, and to create a new educational infrastructure for a connected society.” The company views blockchain as a core technology that has the potential to significantly shape the educational landscape of the future. Sony Global Education’s Global Math Challenge is a worldwide competition that tests participants’ arithmetic and creative thinking skills. The competition has attracted over 150,000 participants in over 80 countries around the world, and it calculates test takers’ scores based on not only their correct and incorrect responses, but also their overall test taking performance, including the time taken to answer questions. This final score is a valuable measurement of test takers’ ability, and is consistent with international standards. Sony Global Education aims to begin developing a new educational infrastructure in 2017, when it will incorporate application programs utilizing its new blockchain-based technology into its own service offerings, starting with Global Math Challenge.