Prof. Mehmet Firat has published a paper in which he proposes the Smart Open Education Ecosystem (SOEE), combining blockchain and AI technologies. If put into practice, the concept would help to reduce educational inequalities worldwide.
Globally, access to education is burdened with severe inequalities, which have deepened during the pandemic. It is estimated that 17% of the world's children, adolescents, and youth (258 million) are out of school, with the proportions exceeding 20% in developing countries, including sub-Saharan Africa and Central Asia, vs 3% in North America and Europe. One way to bridge that gap is by combining AI with blockchain technologies.
According to the paper by Mehmet Firat, associate professor at Department of Distance Education, Faculty of Open Education at the Anadolu University in Eskişehir, Turkey, integrating DAOs, blockchain, NFTs, generative AI, such as ChatGPT, and multimodal learning analytics technologies (MMLA) can contribute to creating an open, democratic education ecosystem capable of providing a seamless and personalized educational experience.
Firat calls the structure the Smart Open Education Ecosystem (SOEE) and claims that it would serve to make education worldwide more accessible, affordable, and personalized while increasing its quality and making it more relevant to today's global challenges.
The scientist argues that AI has made remarkable progress in recent years, offering a range of applications in the educational domain, from personalized learning and adaptive assessment to intelligent tutoring systems. Blockchain comes with its own set of long-known advantages and features, which may enhance transparency, security, and efficiency in education-related areas, such as student records, credential verification, and intellectual property.
MMLA, a concept less known among crypto buffs, is related to tech devices such as eye-trackers, motion sensors, and wearables, which can be used for capturing and analyzing students' behavior. According to Firat, MMLA solutions could provide "valuable insights into student learning experiences, informing teaching and assessment strategies." Lastly, the proposed approach suggests leveraging NFTs for streamlined creation, distribution, and evaluation of educational content, which would help establish a fairer and more open market for learning resources.
The research paper contains a visualization of a hypothetical integration of analyzed technologies into the unified SOEE educational infrastructure.
Firat's paper is far from being an actionable blueprint for a better global educational system. It's designed as a scoping review study, aiming to map the literature on a research area to facilitate identifying crucial concepts and sources of evidence, contributing to more informed practice, policy, and research in the field of education.