Throughout October, members of BEN (the Blockchain Education Network) participated in creating an openly available educational course that introduces their peers into blockchain. So far, we have received submissions from people in across Canada, the United States, and the Netherlands.  

The purpose of the Blockchain Education Month (BEM) was to gamify the steep learning curve usually associated with bitcoin and blockchain technology. In September, we hosted our Bitcoin Airdrop which brought 250 students out to their local blockchain club to setup a wallet and receive their first bits. BEM is designed to continue the momentum and excitement that we generated during the Airdrop, and focus that energy to encourage students to learn the skill-set required to use this technology natively.

BEM received an anonymous donation to bring the idea to life and to incentivize our network with a bitcoin bounty board for helping with the creation of the syllabus. When students contribute content, they earn points for their work, which earns them a ratio of the reserve that has been set aside. In a way, students competed to gain “marketshare” of the course by creating quality content (in the form of slides and videos).

Like every student project, work and contributions didn’t start filtering in until right before the deadline. Despite this, BEM created 6 chapters worth of content, each containing 3-4 modules. We encourage anyone to use this content via the slides created and/or corresponding youtube playlist in their own classroom or presentation setting.

A goal of BEM is to help retain students whose interest in bitcoin and blockchain began during the airdrop. Jesse Xiong, a recently active member leading Delaware BEN engagement, organized a meetup of several students to spend a day in the library creating content and getting feedback from each other. Jesse said,

The framework that BEN had provided for members to contribute to BEM was straightforward and rewarding. The initiative aided in my efforts to reach out and bring together local BEN members to collaborate. Being with some of the most forward-thinking and innovative fellow students at the University of Delaware was so special and I can’t wait to contribute more to BEN initiatives.

Video Link: of Jesse Xiong setting up the #delaware #bem meetup.

Patrick Guay, who recently became the Ottawa region head for BEN, said

It’s the perfect way to get started with the blockchain technology. Students were first introduced to the technology through the airdrop, where we gave them a small amount of bitcoin to play around with. Now, thanks to everyone in the network, we provide a free open-sourced outlet for anyone to understand the inner workings of this technology. I hope anyone taking the course will understand the far reaching possibilities of the blockchain, as I did.

Patrick is a great example of how quickly a motivated individual can begin to contribute to BEN. His first foray into the industry was at the Distributed: Health conference last month in Nashville, where his team won a prize and now he is leading the charge in Ottawa.

We believe that by continuing to develop the roadmap for students to learn about blockchain and then get into the industry, we will have more stories like Patrick and Jesse who open up the path to others.

Submissions can be seen in a single youtube playlist. In November, we look forward to launch another exciting event, the Gauntlet. The end of the 2016 roadmap is the encourage students who have learnt about bitcoin to actually take their theory into practice and develop a decentralized application.