New Kids On The Blockchain

In Melbourne, Australia, local reports have recently focused attention on Wooranna Park Primary School, a small public institution which sits in one of country’s “most disadvantaged urban areas.” But, don’t be misled by Wooranna Park’s humble profile. The primary school is giving students a digital leg up through its pioneering education.

According to The Age, Wooranna Park is home to teacher Kieran Nolan, a former network engineer. Under Nolan’s guidance, Wooranna Park’s grade school students are now learning the basics of blockchain technology.

“I think it’s going to be as important as coding in schools in the coming years,” said Nolan. “It’s a way of teaching financial literacy, digital literacy.”

Over the course of three weeks, students learn how to program a digital currency, “WoorannaCoin,” which is built using blockchain technology. Wooranna Park students are also using blockchain technology for other applications. Some are building a “transparent and secure voting system,” while others are learning about fundraising methods (i.e., token offerings and ICOs).

“If you only look at numeracy and literacy, that won’t get someone a job in the future,” said Nolan. “They need to have these skills.”

Wooranna Park’s unique curriculum has attracted new interest. In fact, eight-year-old student Seth Yee moved from Singapore to Australia, apparently enticed by the school’s technological prowess.

Additionally, about six months ago, Wooranna Park received a 21-bitcoin investment from Andrew Kwon, a US software developer who was impressed during a visit to the school. Kwon’s funding has helped pay for “Blockchain Headquarters,” an innovation lab that features virtual reality goggles, 3D printers, and a Microsoft HoloLens, as well as programmable robots and drones.

At the time, the Kwon’s investment was worth 30,000 Australian dollars and will have grown roughly three-fold by now.

The Australian government has been quick to embrace blockchain technology and cryptocurrency, so bringing blockchain to the classroom seems like the logical next step. As students strive to enter careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math), blockchain technology could very well represent one of the biggest emerging fields.