Teaching Bitcoin with Alby

Teaching Bitcoin with Alby

Schools and organization use Alby to teach students about bitcoin. This article portraits two such initiatives about their goals and methods to get started with bitcoin.

Teaching Bitcoin in Supplementary Courses

The number of bitcoin education initiatives is constantly growing. Librería de Satoshi is one of them. Translated to Satoshi’s Library, their mission is to make Bitcoin technical education accessible to a large number of Spanish-speaking people, allowing each of them to become bitcoin developers, bitcoin technical educators and entrepreneurs in the ecosystem. Through a series of courses and seminars, from the basics of Bitcoin to the most advanced specifications of the lightning network, students are guided through a learning journey consisting of online lessons, asynchronous supplementary readings, practical workshops , tutoring hours and more.  

Libería de Satoshi uses Alby in the introductory course Bitcoin 101 and also during the Mastering Lightning course. As a concrete example in the course about lightning addresses (sign-up required), students are learning how to receive and use a lightning address. Since Alby makes it incredibly easy for everyone to obtain a lightning address, the supervisors demonstrated it using an Alby Account

In the next step, students are instructed how to send some bitcoin to a lightning address using the Alby Browser Extension as wallet interface for a variety of wallets and notes. 

Dulce Villarreal, founder of Librería de Satoshi, had this to say: “We use Alby because it's open source, and our team admires the Alby team. Making Bitcoin easy to use for everyone is important. Interacting with Bitcoin apps has become just seamless with Alby. 
We also conduct trivia as micro-exams, and ask our students for their lightning addresses. If they don't know how to do it, we share our tutorial with Alby.”

Teaching Bitcoin in Secondary Education

In addition to ongoing educational initiatives, Bitcoin education is now being integrated into primary education, including high schools. We interviewed Tim Grigsby, a teacher at Southeastern High School in Ohio. He began distributing bitcoin three weeks ago. 

In this interview he tells us more about his initiative of how he uses bitcoin as a form of reward and what role Alby plays. 

Why do you choose to use bitcoin to reward your students?
Tim: I use bitcoin to reward students because I love bitcoin and rewarding students allows me to teach them about bitcoin. I wanted to teach an elective class about bitcoin, but being at a small rural school prevents me from doing so (no room in the schedule). Sending sats to students allows me to encourage participation in the classroom as well. 

Why do you recommend Alby?
Tim: I recommend Alby because students are not allowed to have cell phones in the classroom. Because it is web-based, it allows me to easily send sats over the lightning network to my students, with low fees.

What are your students rewarded for in sats?
Tim: I reward students for good behaviors in the classroom. Students are given sats for answering questions, asking good questions, working quietly, etc. Students also have the opportunity to earn more sats by completing bitcoin bounties.  

Every other week, students can complete 2 optional assignments. The first assignment is to research some topic about bitcoin and write a couple of paragraphs about it. The second assignment is an extra credit/bitcoin assignment. Students can do an extra mathematics assignment and choose to receive sats, extra credit, or half of each. 

How does the payout work to your students?
Tim: To pay my students, I send sats to their lightning addresses provided by Alby. I add up how many sats they receive each week and pay them on Fridays. 

How many students received bitcoin?
Tim: I began distributing bitcoin three weeks ago. I first sent 100 sats to all (approximately) 110 students that I teach everyday. I did this to show them how easy it is to send and receive sats on the lightning network. So far, about 25 students have received additional sats. 

If you visit our dedicated “Discover” page to find apps and shops to earn and spend bitcoin, do you find an app that could be interesting for your students?
Tim: One of the main apps I will encourage my students to use is bitrefill. They always ask what they can spend sats on and gift cards are a good use for them. I have discussed the fact that they can send them to each other, peer to peer, and some businesses accept bitcoin. 

What feedback do you get from your students? Where are they stuck or what is unclear when using Alby?
Tim: My students seem to enjoy earning sats, some more than others. If I could afford greater amounts of payments, I’m sure they would enjoy it even more. Alby is great, but one thing we’ve struggled with is finding the right settings and getting back to the dashboard. (Great feedback. We are on it 🫡)

Why are your goals with this initiative? 
Tim: I want to be the first touch point for learning about bitcoin. I’ve heard it said before that it takes 3 “touch points” with Bitcoin before people truly start understanding it. Very few people (including myself) get it on the first try. Bitcoiners have low time preference for bitcoin itself, but I feel like we must have more patience with people’s comprehension of bitcoin. 
I would consider my initiative a success if about 10 or 15% of my students “get it”. By “getting it”, I mean that they understand first principles, are extremely interested, and want to learn as much as they can about Bitcoin as possible. I want these students to ask the right questions and research Bitcoin on their own at home. It would be awesome if these students would come back and share something they learned with me. 
Finally, it would be pretty cool if students created a circular economy at my high school. I’m not sure what this would look like, but as an example maybe students could tip each other for tutoring services. 

What can you report about the outcome?
Tim: So far, there has been a slight increase in the amount of students who try to answer questions. When I start a question with “For 100 sats…”, I seem to get more participation than awarding sats after students respond. 

What needs to be done to help initiatives like yours increase the impact?
Tim: I don’t really know what needs to be done to help increase the impact with respect to other tools, features, or apps. Spreading the word to other teachers and bitcoiners would be beneficial. Also, donations would help increase student excitement. I have allocated 1 million sats of my own to give away over the school year, but I am not connected well enough to other bitcoiners to ask for more funding. 

If you want to support Tim and his initiative to educate students about bitcoin, donate some sats below. And if you have questions about using Alby for your own educational project, let us know. We are happy to give a live demo for your students followed by a round of Q&A anytime.