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28. Januar 2021

Learn the Blockchain Block by Block with bloxxgame – the new Teaching Solution for Blockchain

On 10th December 2020 Prof. Dr. Walter Dettling was invited to present his paper at the 9th Games and Learning Alliance (GALA) Conference, which took place on the Laval Virtual World. The conference is organised by the Serious Games Society (SGS) and Les Mans University. During the conference, seven papers were introduced with topics ranging from serious game design practices, studies on engagement, learning, and usability of serious games, as well as virtual reality, mixed reality, storytelling, creativity and awareness.

Prof. Dettling’s paper “Bloxxgame – A Simulation Game for Teaching Blockchain” introduces a new approach to teaching blockchain to students. Bloxxgame is a tool which has evolved from a whiteboard-based blockchain game to a web-based simulation game with a wide variety of teaching scenarios. It is a simulation of a public blockchain, like Bitcoin, where each player acts as a node with all possibilities of creating coin transactions and blocks as well as the capability to experience the consensus algorithm by checking those transactions and blocks. It supports the experience-based instruction of blockchain concepts and can be used in class or for online teaching. Moreover, the simulation offers students the opportunity to get in touch with the fundamentals of blockchain. As blockchain is still an emerging technology there is need for a suitable teaching solution.

Blockchain – What is it?

It all began during the financial crisis 2007 when Bitcoin was launched: Blockchain technology was first designed to support an alternative way of storing and transmitting value and information, removing the need for trusted third parties like banks and governments. At the time of writing, Bitcoin is worth over $ 580 billion and has a daily trade volume of more than $ 57 billion.

Everybody needs to know about blockchain because it will change the way we live today the way the Internet did. I’m strongly convinced that in 10-20 years everything will have changed again – because of blockchain
Prof. Dr Walter Dettling

Ultimately, blockchain will impact our life the way the Internet did. Its technological construct allows it to work as an immutable record of transactions that do not require to rely on an authority. This allows the exact identification of digital ownership and the exact distinction of an original from a copy of any data block. As the blockchain technology is used in a wide variety of industries and its fast emergence is apparent, it proves wise to get an early understanding of the fundamentals of blockchain, hence bloxxgame was developed.

Bloxxgame, which is sponsored by IBM, is designed as a teaching tool for higher education and professional training. As bloxxgame is a group game, it requires a guide. It can be played online in any browser and only requires a quick registration. The students need to understand three main cryptographic concepts:

  • What is a cryptographic hash?
  • How does asymmetrical encryption work?
  • How do you create a digital signature?
Visualisation of a blockchain built in class with bloxxgame.

In the game, each student acts a node with their own identity connected to a shared public blockchain. It starts out by letting the students create transactions in a wallet and together they can start building a blockchain. For it to work, all players need to reach an agreement about the validity of a chain before adding more blocks, letting them experience a shared consensus without a central control. This concept proves difficult in being taught abstractly, bloxxgame, however lets students experience it personally.

Schlagworte: Blockchain, bloxxgame, Digitalization, Educational, Fachhochschule Nordwestschweiz, FHNW, Hochschule für Wirtschaft, Institut für Wirtschaftsinformatik, Serious Game Society

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