[Vote Successful] Community Fund Proposal for RocketShoes - a NEM-powered digital asset platform for the future of education and work


#3

@memario, thanks so much for your post, and for considering our proposal!

Firstly, it’s awesome to hear that you think it’s a cool project! We do too, and we’ve been quietly working on it for quite a while now, and have had a lot of feedback at various stages. Everyone we’ve spoken to has recognised and been excited by the RocketShoes vision, the core value proposition and our team’s capability to execute.

Your post also allows me to address a couple of key points head on, which we have also covered during this journey. The budget has been developed with due consideration and is based on experience with projects of similar scope; and in an initial pass we considered whether we could achieve a viable business model with a smaller budget.

When we started with the concept we considered using other approaches, with IPFS and Ethereum in mind. While working in February at the Blockchain Centre Melbourne (which is awesome by the way) we were approached by the NEM team and a few things became immediately apparent.

Firstly, the development community focus, and attention to a platform architecture that can be quickly applied to real world applications means that we can in principle move more quickly than we might by developing from scratch in Solidity & IPFS. The whole smart asset framework immediately appealed to me actually, and we could see areas of application in education straight away. Added to this was the strong desire for the NEM Foundation to support projects in new areas of application, and here we were working on an idea in education – a global vertical with immense social impact.

Secondly, and even more impressively, we were immediately told about the ProximaX project, and as soon as I read the White Paper I realised it provides exactly the kind of combination of tech that we need to leverage to achieve the RocketShoes goals.

Explaining this further will also address your next point, which is to do with the value to the NEM Community of supporting RocketShoes to be developed as a NEM-powered platform. The existence and future development of ProximaX (particularly evident when it supports Catapult) will allow us to focus firmly on the end user application and APIs that bring value in an education context. This is where the project lives. The reason it is so important (and also why it will drive adoption) is that people involved in learning (including students, teachers, administrators, leaders) includes just about everyone, everywhere, and they have lives that involve learning in many contexts, from school, to university, to work, up-skilling and re-skilling. It’s actually huge.

The reason Blockchain is so important is that there is a huge number of points along that journey that involve some kind of transaction. Every assignment submission is a transaction, but so too every grade, every qualification, micro-credential, internal audit point, standard achieved, policy check, regulator audit, and so on.

Added to this, we know from learning theory that a huge amount of learning takes place peer-to-peer (think mentor/mentee relationships) and is not just teacher-student or student-content, as is commonly assumed. When a student shares their notes/digital assets with another student, the temptation is to think “that’s cheating” and try to stop it, but good learning designs actually exploit this idea and get students to teach other students – something that works well online in an environment with rich digital assets. As you can imagine, when there are a lot of people are using a common distributed system like RocketShoes you have a lot of potential for peer to peer sharing and even markets for certain assets. To give an idea of scale, some universities in Australia have up to 80,000 students and 5,000 faculty/staff. Some corporates like Cisco have a million students. There are some assets in those systems that are worth something – which is when they could be sold, generating another transactional point suited to a Blockchain.

At an organisational level, RocketShoes is a way for content to be managed, which means needing to ascertain authorship, ownership/IP, authenticity, and all kinds of things that are actually a royal pain right now in most places. BlockChain is also extremely helpful for this process – and when someone in an organisation wants to do something of this nature it is going to generate calls to a Blockchain.

I hope you’ll agree that it would be valuable to the NEM Community if this was the NEM Blockchain, and not another one.

Personally I think NEM is the perfect fit for our project, and I am delighted to be involved in the community, and looking forward to its support in getting our vote across the line so that we can go and do all the amazing things we will be able to do with RocketShoes.


#4

Hi Matt,

Being from Australia myself, I understand the large growth/massive industry the education sector provides Australia currently. I believe RocketShoes can provide a real benefit to the NEM community in terms of exposure to international education. Being a university student myself, I have seen the diverse demographic of students throughout Australian universities. Also, running my own start up which is targeted to the university sector I agree that it is a compelling asset to the NEM community.

The real question that came to mind was how do you plan to market to the universities/students to take their learning materials etc, off the current systems and onto RocketShoes?

Thanks,

Daniel


#5

Hi Daniel!

Thank you for this question! The answer is yes, we will certainly be marketing in these settings as well as corporate education settings. We even have a first customer, which is Wooranah Park Primary School. I was there today – they run two NEM full nodes for education purposes! Kieran Nolan, part of our core team, (who will be posting here I’m sure) works there too, and is responsible for setting these up as a result of a previous successful NEM Foundation community fund proposal.

You can see our customer segments referenced in the Proposal PDF linked above, in the Lean Business Canvas and also in the Business Model section. Regarding the question more specifically of HOW we plan to market to these segments:

  1. Client engagement and development will be an integral part from Day 1. In fact it’s started much earlier than Day 1 as we’ve already met with several potential pilots, including Wooranah Park but also one of the big 4 banks, and other potential partners. Two of the core team are from the university sector and we have extensive networks in tertiary education both locally and internationally. We will be signing up early adopter pilots during the third quarter.

  2. By offering a pilot program, including leveraging existing channels such as EduGrowth. This is something I am personally familiar with as I have been heavily involved with EduGrowth, including the pilot program, both in university and K-12.

  3. By partnering to succeed. We will work with existing education platform providers to make RocketShoes APIs which connect to those platforms. This will bring the platform right in to exisiting environments – consider for example an assessment or personal learning platform that would like to be able to leverage RocketShoes functionality. This will be possible via an API. LMS platforms and providers will be able to offer RocketShoes as an option. We both win.

  4. By getting out there and doing all the things that other companies do to market themselves! Demonstrations, conferences, networking, articles, press releases, podcasts, keynotes. This is natural for us. Kieran is a keynote presenter next week to EduTech, with (reportedly) 14,000 attendees. I keynoted a couple of weeks ago in Malaysia. This list is long. Our slides are awesome. The food is primarily orange coloured. You know the drill!


#6

Selfie of Kieran and me in front of a full node rig at Wooranna Park Primary today! :grinning:


#7

For those following our project here, it looks like we are lining up for the official vote to commence on Friday 8 June. Watch this space for vote details, AMAs, and answers to all your questions! Thanks in advance.


#8

Wooranna Park Primary School has been at the forefront of Blockchain & NEM Education for many years.




We have been utilising the NEM blockchain to empower students and give them agency over their learning, and voice in the direction of the school

Moving forward, we desperately need a blockchain based solution for Wooranna Park’s Enigma Missions (SDL Program):

“In order to get their students to explore and explain some of the “great paradoxes, conundrums and mysteries of existence”, the staff at Wooranna Park PS developed a project called ‘The Enigma Missions’. These were student-selected and student-driven inquiries (like passion projects) through which the students chose, researched and presented their understanding of a topic that caught their attention. One student describes an Enigma Mission as “a project based on deep thinking…you have to choose a topic and research very very deep on it”. In an example of rich and authentic problem solving, based in real world contexts, the students were challenged to extend their knowledge of what was happening around the world as they investigated themes like Autism, the Thylacine, Burn Integration, DNA and Genetics. They conducted interviews and contacted experts.”

“We want them to be thinkers; we want them to be people who can create change; people who can make a difference.” – Jenny Vine, Assistant Principal

RocketShoes as we see it, is the only way students can have true ownership over the amazing work they are doing.



#9

Hi Matt,

Thanks for your response, I can’t believe how innovative some of these schools are, running NEM nodes is an incredible feature for growth of the community and also RocketShoes.

I fully support this project, it’s also very impressive gaining the potential partnership of one of the big four banks.

Can’t wait till voting opens on the 8th of June! RocketShoes has my vote.


#10

Daniel, thanks so much for sharing our enthusiasm. We are currently working on an update for the NEM Community from an educational point of view, focusing on what this will mean for them, and why it’s such an important step.

Regarding NEM Nodes – this is exactly why we want to partner with Wooranna Primary to be the first school using RocketShoes. We can have a full node set up, and co-design our service based on real students and teachers using the software.

We don’t go into a lot of detail in the proposal, but our thinking is that at the top level of service we will be offering Full Node, meaning that we’ll set up the full stack including IPFS, ProximaX and NEM. In some cases this will be an advantage of course – usually universities have excellent internet connectivity and lots to store. Corporates may want more of their content closer to existing/legacy servers to be able to manipulate it, back it up, or integrate with services.

We anticipate being able to tailor these kinds of solutions to fit different customer needs by offering nodes like this, which is an obvious benefit to NEM. But it’s just as useful really to have kids in and around Blockchain technology. At Wooranna they really do learn about Blockchain, even getting to try it out for themselves. It’s incredibly empowering for young kids to see and use the kinds of technologies that will become central to their lives in the future.


#11

Fantastic problem to be solving. Having worked with some schools on our Lemonade Stand program, I can say technology is still very much lacking.

Looking forward to reading more and supporting when the time comes!


#12

Hey thanks for your support Sean! We agree, of course! Education is (to me) the most important enabler for humankind. What really excites me about this particular technology is that it gives power to learners – through data sovereignty, and by making it available to them where and when it can be difficult with today’s tech.

One small example. I was in Malaysia just last month and I was told about a rural farming area where a lot of students live. Even in a highly developed nation like Malaysia there is a significant proportion of students who have connectivity issues because they live in areas not served well, even by cell towers. My friend Helmi described students literally shimmying up trees on a regular basis to get a signal in order to sync the data on their tablet devices and phones. The same sort of situation happens in remote locations here in Australia as I’m sure you know! A decentralised approach has the potential to dramatically improve this situation.


#13

Ray Trotter is the Principal of the school we’ve been talking about above, Wooranna Park Primary. I met with Ray in February this year, and he signed on to become the first school to pilot RocketShoes.

The short piece below gives an idea why.

(Reproduced here with permission from the author)

THE IMPORTANCE OF STUDENT AGENCY IN SCHOOLS
An Australian engagement survey commissioned by the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership shows that a significant number of students fail to feel a sense of belonging at school, or a connection with the learning. This same problem exists in most western countries around the world. While our world is facing exponential changes our educational system remains the same. If we ignore the colourful furniture and technology present in our schools today, we would find that most schools are not that different from the schools our students’ grandparents attended.

In answer to this problem, progressive schools around the world have taken steps to transform their teaching and learning practices. An important cog in this transformation is the introduction of STUDENT AGENCY. ‘Renaissance.com’ describes student agency as “learning through activities that are meaningful and relevant to learners, driven by their interests, and often self-initiated with appropriate guidance from teachers. However, it is more than this! A recently published paper by Charles Leadbeater seeks to look more deeply into the role student agency plays in preparing students to shape their future. Leadbeater’s paper stems from his work as an advisor to the OECD Education 2030 project and explores the origins, development and benefits of student agency in today’s schools. His definition of agency reflects powerful forces not present in Rennaissance.com’s description:
“Agency is about acting rather than to be acted upon; shaping rather than
to be shaped; and choosing rather than to accept choices decided by others.”
Leadbeater points out in his paper that agency requires students not just to make choices but to make investments in pursuing their goals. It is this willingness by students to personally invest in their learning that makes student agency such a potent and productive aspect of their education.

Ray Trotter
Principal
Wooranna Park Primary School
www.woorannaparkps.vic.gov.au


#14

wendy

Friend of the project Wendy Li-Siaw had this to say about RocketShoes:

“I think the ability for the students to have a one stop easily assessable online digital portfolio and owning the IP of all the works they produced over their life learning will better enable them the see the progression they have over the learning journey. RocketShoes a great initiative!”


#15

@Kieran_Nolan and I were just interviewed about RocketShoes for the EDJ Podcast!

Listen now:

:rocket::rocket::rocket::rocket::rocket::rocket::rocket:


#16

We are seeking 3.3 million XEMs ($850K USD) to complete the project and move to Series A Round funding (or ICO) by the end of 2019. This funding will allow the team to develop the platform and establish a fully sustainable ongoing business model.

After you do an ICO or a Series A Round, do you plan to return back the funds to NEM Community?

From the technical side, have you a document of the architecture, a working proof of concept or similar?

Phase 3 (Year 2-3)
RocketShoes will be made available under an open source license, …

Will you publish everything? part of it? even without knowing that, 2 years after isn’t a good deal. It should be after a month if you get the funds from the community, without doing so, other community projects would ask for a similar amount to do things you might already done.

On the other side, there’s a NIP proposal to make the apostille library to make the process of stamp digital documents trivial, it should be a call to the library and you are 100% integrated with NEM Blockchain. Check it here.

Increased transactions using XEM. Once RocketShoes is established, the Phase 3 design involves educational content of value being traded and sold via a marketplace with microtransactions on the NEM Blockchain, increasing usage. See the next section for more.

Have you a % goal of NEM traffic? Do you want the 0.1% of the network traffic? the 1%? An approximation will help the community know the impact of the network fees :slight_smile:


#17

First of all, think it a good idea to state somewhere when the end date of voting is.
I have missed a couple of votes, due to just missing out on voting period. I get busy from time to time and it’s is hard to keep my finger on the Nem projects pulse.

Then, I do get the idea behind this(As I still do courses from time to time, and yes it can get messy.). I like the fact that you will be using ProximaX as well.

I just need some use cases from your point of view, as your team has the experience in this area.
So I understand from a user aspect of having just one place to do this all, but this does not necessarily effect the student or teacher as much, so that alone is not a game changer.

Having content ownership, yes maybe, but most of the time the university owns intellectual right to your work, so you solution might make it easier for universities to manage this from one place.

Security is valuable, but the average user never sees this as having any value, as they do not care until it a security breach occurs that effects them alone.

I need to see how this is going to effect the everyday student and teacher, cause that would be one of the main reason for mass adoptions.

Would the application be so cool/easy/convenience to use that students or teachers will intuitively want to use it.
Or will the benefits that this brings be sold to the big players i.e. universities etc. and then they will force the student / teacher to adopt your application.

Also apologies if you maybe have answered these questions already, if the case just point me to the given resources and I will go through it.

Also I think you lack some classic graphical flow of the whole process. Humans are visual creators and if you had a visual process diagram explaining some use cases of architecture if would be much easier to understand what your aim is.
You always need something to pull in the investor, so that the investor want to sit and watch your introduction presentation.
There was nothing that intrigued me to go though all of the information you provided.
Just a suggestion to look into, cause you going to need the votes of the members who are not the type to read through everything. So summarized visualization would help a lot in this regard.
In saying this I do appreciate the information provided, but not everyone has the appetite nor time to thoroughly consume it.

Thank in advance for your feedback.


#18

Hi @aleix_mp and thanks for your well thought out questions!!

This is not in the requirements of the NEM Community Fund, and if it was, I think it would be difficult to build a sustainable business model around it. RocketShoes needs to establish an entirely new business on top of two layers of very new technology. It’s important to understand that our initial model is B2B – we need to put significant resources into developing customers in a competitive environment, partner with other ed tech companies, and focus on delivering a very new concept. Building that up from scratch needs significant investment. We could do it with VC funds and the model would be different, but we were attracted the Community Fund model because it puts us in a stronger position to create a sustainable ongoing business. I think this is exactly what is needed for NEM (or any Blockchain) to survive and thrive in the long term – real applications with real social impact.

I’m probably not the best one to answer this – but until I can get one of the developers in here I’ll give you the overview. We are at an early stage of development, so the architectural stuff we’ve been working on in discussions with ProximaX is high level. See P. 14 of the ProximaX white paper for an understanding of the service layers for ProximaX.

We are building at the Application layer (an education client app using Java) as well as server-side for the Enterprise platform, using ProximaX calls. Their SDK is brand new and our dev team (TypeHuman) are working closely with the ProximaX development team.

An even more abstracted (and probably oversimplified) way to think about it is:

  • RocketShoes - app / web app
  • ProximaX - storage
  • NEM - blockchain

I understand why this is confusing, and I imagine part of the confusion is around the fact that we’re talking about a non-proprietary platform at the same time as building a viable SaaS business. In the education world this is not unheard of. The plan is to more or less do something similar to what Instructure did with their product Canvas, which is to make a fully operational open source version available for community and non-profit download and use, while also maintaining a common-codebase product that is sold on a subscription basis.

The reason it’s worth something is the quality of service and support, the regularity of updates, and the fact that institutions/organisations have increasingly moved these kinds of platforms off premises.

I confess this is beyond my ken at the moment, but in fairness the way ProximaX handles transactions is new, and XPX has only just been born! A significant part of the project will be figuring out exactly how transactions work, how they are affordable to users in different categories, and what incentives are made available to whom. XPX allows incentivisation (just like Filecoin will) based on allowing you to effectively sell unused disk space, which is really interesting in this particular market. Your suggestion to try and break it down to a traffic goal is something we’ll need to take on board and work through!

Again, thanks for the excellent questions.


#19

Hi @joseng62! Thank you for your questions too!

First of all, about not putting the end date, great pick up! We do have a timer ticking away on our website but I completely forgot to add the end time here! Thanks, fixed it now.

It’s great to hear more feedback about ProximaX being a good way forward. We have had a lot of feedback in this regard and it’s important to us to hear.

Regarding use cases, yes! We have worked up some use cases for our White Paper, which I encourage you to take a look at: https://rocketshoes.io/whitepaper.html

But let me add to this a description of another good one that has been the focus of our design discussions for the MVP. This one is strictly about assessment, and it kind of goes to the crux of the matter because it involves media, the blockchain, and the key point at which learning is (at least in theory) verified: when you submit and assignment and have it marked.

So there is a well known “loophole” that a few too many students seem to use at the moment. Imagine a student who is really struggling for time prior to an assignment submission, and instead of submitting their finished essay, at 11.58PM (2 min prior to the due date) they submit a knowingly corrupt file with the correct title. They bank on the fact that a teacher won’t look at the file until say a week later. When the teacher goes to download, they can’t get the file to work. Yet the student has turned in their assignment according to the system, and everything looks fine. So they ask the student to please email the file because it’s not downloading properly. They can even set back the clock on their computer to make it look like their recently finished assignment was saved on the right date. Unfortunately a lot of students have gotten away with this.

So with RocketShoes the process is different. For a start, the student has their own “wallet” or folder of stuff, including all their assignments, drafts, etc. Instead of uploading it from a browse link in the LMS they submit it via RocketShoes (which may be a web app or a window in their LMS integrated via API). They grant permissions to the teacher to view and grade their assignment, but when they submit it, it gets a time stamp (e.g. via Apostille mosaic or maybe the trivial call @aleix_mp mentioned above) and because it’s in ProximaX it has an associated hash. After submission the file is then re-presented to the student so they know exactly what they’ve submitted, and the teacher does too – it can’t change (not even one bit) without changing the hash.

Yes, absolutely the app design will be heavily user-centric and draw students in. One of the most important things about what we are doing is returning power to students, and putting them in control of their own data. We are also giving them a way to take their data into different parts of their learning lives. So it has to make sense to them and make them want to use it. But the enterprise side of this also means that students will be able to use it via other existing (and legacy) systems so that it harmonises with what they’re used to using. That’s important too.

About lacking graphics – we’re working on it. We have a pitch deck that has more, and there is a run through of that on the front page of our website. I know we can always do better an I will take that on board as we work through this and try to provide more here.

Thank you!


#20

I confess this is beyond my ken at the moment, but in fairness the way ProximaX handles transactions is new, and XPX has only just been born! A significant part of the project will be figuring out exactly how transactions work, how they are affordable to users in different categories, and what incentives are made available to whom. XPX allows incentivisation (just like Filecoin will) based on allowing you to effectively sell unused disk space, which is really interesting in this particular market. Your suggestion to try and break it down to a traffic goal is something we’ll need to take on board and work through!

So, the project will pay the network fees in XPX?


#21

Not the project – incentives work at the ProximaX level, meaning that people who are using ProximaX are able to earn XPX as an incentive for making their nodes public. This is actually a question better directed to the ProximaX team. What I meant was that customers of RocketShoes at the enterprise level will often have lots of disk space and big pipes, meaning that if they are putting stuff onto ProximaX nodes they’re likely to be interested in this incentive model, and it will likely offset costs.


#22

Thanks for the feedback.
Quite impressed with the approach and manner you answered this question.
Great real live example, and it makes sense.
Also I like that this team is being proactive “we are working closely with the ProximaX development team.”

You have my vote for sure.
To all others thinking to vote, this is my 2 cents. This is a great real use case to integrate and test ProximaX.
This team indicates good characteristics, which improve the chance of success.
If/When successful this will be a great project to reference that is working on ProximaX and thus on Nem as well.

There is a gap in the market for this(To perfect it and gain control of the this market, as it is overlooked). I personally have experienced this and a good example would be edx, which backend is trying to achieve what is mentioned here(currently without the blockchain aspect).
So at end of day example. Edx could pick up this software, integrate with their systems and it could become part of their systems. One example of many possibilities.