Educators have tools at their disposal to motivate students to excel in the #classroom. There are over 14,000 school districts across America (according to Census Bureau) where teachers encourage students who exhibit good behaviors. They give praise, hand out recognition such as academic medals and offer special privileges such as going on a field trip.

Awarding tokens to scholars

The U.S. Educational System, especially public schools, has remained static for decades. However, #digital realities could soon force change in a slow-moving industry that has traditionally been comprised of powerful coalitions and entrenched interests.

One startup thinks that crypto and blockchain innovations that are transforming other industries can disrupt how America teaches, tests and incentivizes students and education professionals.

The founders of Knowledge.io believe that learning incentives in the classroom should include financial rewards in the form of tokens. The firm will launch an initial coin offering (Ico) in January, according to HuffPost. By forming partnerships, the startup plans to enable students and educators to take tests in various subjects that lead to blockchain-recorded Knowledge Scores. Those who attain top scores can be rewarded with Knowledge tokens — a digital coin that the founders hope will have monetary value as the Knowledge ecosystem expands.

While a school's traditional reward system involves report cards and academic medals, the key question is whether the digital age will usher tectonic disruptions that rescue at-risk youth from the shortcomings of the current system, especially at #public schools.

Financial rewards for learning excellence

What resonates more with young adolescents than competition and bragging rights?

Tokens (that may eventually realize monetary value) represent a gamified approach to homework. Proponents argue that cash rewards give adolescents extra motivation to demonstrably learn a subject. That is, the best students won't have to wait until after graduation to prove their domain expertise. The immediate rewards help them focus the very next day.

In a way, high achievers get paid to learn.

A blockchain-supported reward system applied in the classroom sounds like a simple idea, but if this and other digital practices gain adoption in forward-thinking districts, the long-term implications of scale could be huge. Uncle Sam spends more than $500 billion annually on public elementary and high school #education, according to Census Bureau. And during the school year 2013-2014, $122 billion in grants and scholarships were awarded to students, according to debt.org.

What are some practical examples of how knowledge tokens can be used?

Let's say a scholar has a solid understanding of military history. The U.S. Army or Navy could sponsor tokens and award them to a potential recruit.

If someone scores high in pre-law topics such as philosophy and history, a test prep provider could recruit that person to teach LSAT prep courses. Or advertise products and services related to the pursuit of an advanced #degree.

As the saying goes, knowledge is power. Advances in blockchain tech now make it possible to measure and immutably record knowledge in a variety of fields.

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