Australian Primary School Students Explore Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Technology


Australian Primary School Students Explore Bitcoin

Students at Wooranna Park Primary School in Victoria, Australia are experiencing bitcoin and cryptocurrency technology first hand. Wooranna Park Primary’s ‘School on the Blockchain’ program involves a number of initiatives designed to immerse students in blockchain technology, and has seen the school create a unique cryptocurrency called Wooranacoin.

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The ‘School on the Blockchain’ Program Provides Young Students With Many Opportunities to Explore Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Technology

Students of Wooranna Park Primary School in Australia are exploring bitcoin and cryptocurrency hands on from a young age. The ‘School on the Blockchain’ program has taken over five years to develop and has received significant support from The Blockchain Centre Melbourne.

Keiran Nolan, a former network engineer turned educational technologist who runs the program, is very enthusiastic about the benefits of young students engaging with bitcoin and cryptocurrency technology. Nolan told that “Wooranna Park is in a low socioeconomic area, historically this would mean that majority of the students at a school like ours would live their lives in low socioeconomic circumstances. This technology is empowering them to be on an even playing field with everyone else in the world, which in turn will play a major role in their futures.”

Wooranna Park Primary’s ‘School on the Blockchain’ program provides students from years prep to grade 6 with a wide array of opportunities to explore bitcoin and cryptocurrency technology, with many students participating in blockchain-based activities on a daily basis. Nolan states that the program evolved from a 2012 initiative which hoped to create “Australia’s first paperless, platform agnostic, ‘School in the Cloud’… the next logical progression from this was to try and create a ‘School on the Blockchain’. The program is comprised of a number of initiatives, including

Minecraft on the Blockchain – Wooranna Park Primary’s Minecraft server is stored via FTP on the blockchain. It’s an international server with about 8 schools and learning spaces from all over the world collaborating. In-world, we are doing learning from numeracy and literacy to QR code building and java coding.”

Immutable Authenticated Reporting – “Each classroom or ‘learning environment’ is being setup with a steemit node for what we are calling ‘Immutable Authenticated Reporting’ – meaning that student work is safe and secure and unchangeable using the steemit blockchain.”

Proof-of-importance (Voting) – “We are in the middle of setting up a voting system that will allow students to vote on what computer hardware we purchase for the school.”

Building Full Nodes – “We are building full nodes for various blockchains for the various projects in each unit (classroom) of the school.”

Steam Blockchain Centre – “We are building a facility in the school out of shipping containers that physically represents how a blockchain ‘looks’ as well as functioning as a learning space for the above activities… each Block (shipping container) is going to be running a full node as well.”

Virtual Reality – “We have a couple of a HTC VIVES and a bank of Google Cardboards that have allowed the students to explore the blockchain in virtual reality using ‘bitcoinVR’.”

Proof-of-Existence – “Students are learning about Proof-Of-Existence for their work, being able to prove for example that a photo they have taken actually belongs to them.”

The School Has Created Its Own Cryptocurrency, Called Woorannacoin

Australian Primary School Students Explore Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Technology

Nolan states that the students’ response has been “really positive overall… “There have been some really adult discussions about where money comes from and why it’s important, proof of work vs proof of stake and the environment. One student even asked ‘why we don’t have a universal basic income on the blockchain already?'”

In a world first, the primary school has created its own cryptocurrency, called Woorannacoin. Woorannacoin was originally designed to be “a voting system for students,” but has since developed into “a learning tool on how to create our own currency.” Nolan states that he “now [has] a group of year 4 students that want to do their own ICO.”

What do you think about programs designed to educate school students about bitcoin and cryptocurrency technology? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

Images courtesy of Shutterstock

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Samuel Haig

Samuel Haig is a journalist who has been completely obsessed with bitcoin and cryptocurrency since 2012. Samuel lives in Tasmania, Australia, where he attended the University of Tasmania and majored in Political Science, and Journalism, Media & Communications. Samuel has written about the dialectics of decentralization, and is also a musician and kangaroo riding enthusiast.

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