A Fresh Day for Education Systems
Victor Hugo stated the famous words that have been proven over time ‘All the forces of the world cannot stop an idea that has come its time.‘ Victor’s quote written in the 19th Century has proven to hold true as we look at new ideas that have changed the world’s history. This is especially true when we look at the advent of the smartphone, digital music, satellite broadcasting, social media, etc. Unfortunately, until COVID-19, we have not seen these types of transformations hold as true in education. However, the shift to Zoom and virtual classrooms are starting to make breakthroughs seem not only possible but inevitable.
Over the past three decades, numerous educational leaders have delved into new ideas with the potential to transform education. These leaders have witnessed small increments of change, yet up until 2019, still admit that the transformation they had hoped for — had not yet occurred. Little did these leaders know that in the backdrop of the past 10-years, three visionary leaders would bring their lives work to the forefront of education in the year 2020.
I met Feng Hou, a visionary leader in 2002 in Denver, Colorado, as we were both hired by Ellucian Inc. to manage IT at various educational institutions. I spent the next seventeen years serving at 32 different campuses while Feng would serve at a 12 various colleges and universities. We would see each other at least once a year and compare notes on what shifts we saw in our visionary work(s). In 2012, I shared with Feng how my idea of the Education and Career Positioning System was named by the first Whitehouse CIO, Aneesh Chopra, as the White House ‘Blue Button’ idea. This idea, became the impetus behind President Obama’s Executive Order Open Records Law, signed on May 09, 2013. This was my first patent filed idea that created numerous incremental changes across education. It also earned me three invitations to the White House for educational innovation.
In 2019, Feng Hou and I received an invitation to the first U.S. Department of Education Blockchain Summit. Feng took me to supper and blurted out his next breakthrough – a new blockchain platform named Pistis.IO. He said, ‘Mike guess what Pistis means’? After drawing a blank look from my face, he says Mike, you challenged me to start this new platform named Pistis, which means ‘faith.’ It is the same Greek word used over 244 times in the New Testament called ‘faith.’ Needless to say, I was moved by Feng’s new platform, and within three-weeks Feng had Oral Roberts University’s Certificate program set-up to issue blockchain certificates. In August 2019, I taught classes in Nashik, India where I published that part of the worlds’ first Blockchain educational certificates. By September 2020, Maryville University issued the first Student Learner record completely on the Pistis.IO Blockchain Platform.
Since 2002, Feng and I have been featured in hundreds of articles, books, conferences, and won numerous education transformation awards. Last week Feng Hou and I spoke at the U.S. Blockchain Chain Chamber of Commerce, where I shared my very personal view of why Blockchain is a ‘freedom and liberating technology’ that helps education on a global scale. Feng Hou and I have invested over 45-years of our combined careers waiting for that perfect idea of transforming education that no force can stop.
We have witnessed the SIS, LMS, and CRM systems hindering transformation in education. Despite these hindrances, we both illuminate a glimmer of faith and hope within our eyes when we first knew Blockchain would become one of the most transformative ideas that no force can stop. Feng spent his first 27 years in China learning methods of innovation that would later become invaluable. I spent my first 12-years at Cray Research where I was learning new technology methodologies around the world. Together, Feng and I have tasted and experienced incremental transformation, but can finally see a life’s time of investment coming to fruition.
Over the years, little did Feng, and I know that another visionary leader named Dr. Gregory Jordan was investing 17-years of his life as a college president. As a college president, he was learning how disjointed campus systems, known as SIS, LMS, and CRM systems, would hinder executives’ ability to make timely and intelligent decisions. Also, Dr. Jordan ultimately knew that disjointed data could not ultimately help students, K12, or the workforce. Upon retirement, Dr. Jordan invested the next three years (2016-2019), creating the first intelligent data wrapper that would prove to become the smart data-wrapper to bring the entire student record to life in a visible and useable manner. Oral Roberts University invested our strategic knowledge of integrating all these systems with Dr. Jordan’s understanding of what could and should be possible through SeligoAI. To Dr. Jordan’s credit, he was not blindsided by the antiquated systems and started fresh and new. This new approach has finally allowed ORU to be the first university to bring together the entire student record across the CRM, SIS, and LMS. SeligoAI along with Pistis.IO created the first Smart-Campus design that allows students to be at the forefront of transformative system design.
Transforming the Campus System Experience
SeligoAI becomes the first AI-driven campus system that brings each student’s entire story via the complete student record. It tells the story of their success, institutional success, and financial success without working through reports or modules within each independent campus system. SeligoAI is the only system that allows campuses to see and compare the real value and success of a hybrid, virtual, online, and traditional delivery model. As every campus leader speculates the value of an online, virtual, or hybrid college education, executives using the AI intelligent agents of SeligoAI are already providing those answers.
An educational ledger and personalized record that brings personal value to every student
Oral Roberts University and Maryville University continue to witness the value of innovation that comes by leveraging the real value of all campus systems in a personalized manner. The secret lies in the reality that students’ personal lives are not wrapped up in a system, but are received a glimmer of given hope, freedom, choice, and opportunity when they can own and instantly see the net worth of what their data represents. Students nor campus leaders can no longer wait to extract their data from antiquated back-office systems. These systems have not been re-invented for the past 30-years. However, the capability of Pistis.IO and SeligoAI are the fresh new ideas that no force can stop.
The power of digital credentials through a Blockchain-based platform
With transcripts being only one element of a person’s digital credentials, the ability to have a more comprehensive method to digitally store and validate all documents, experiences, publications, transcripts, badges, recommendations, certifications, etc. is warranted. In a perfect world, a person would have a personalized digital ledger of all the assets representing their personal credentials – no matter how many colleges, universities, trade schools, jobs, awards, on-the-job experiences they are distributed across.
A Smart-campus design that brings the value of systems to a personalized and intelligent Level
Ironically, a ledger style repository known as a ‘distributed ledger’ is exactly how the Blockchain platform is designed. A Blockchain based platform, allows a personalized repository of an individual’s credentials; in a digital format. Within that digital format, each piece of evidence that is part of a person’s credentials has a unique, secure, and trusted key known as a token. The token allows each individual to have personalized and private access which they and they alone own; as they earned or paid for that credential. Within the locked token location, the owner can decide to share the contents with a potential employer. However, at no point can anyone modify the document(s) and replace the original. The original document with the distributed ledger key remains linked-together, as the only ‘master’ copy. If someone tries to edit, replace, or modify the document it cannot be re-entered into the repository and will be viewed a counterfeit and untrusted credential. Pistis.io supports all elements of credentials, assessments, and have even added learning artifacts as part of the verifiable credential.
For more information on Michael L. Mathews visit: https://works.bepress.com/michael-mathews/