Interview: Liger Learning Centre’s Digital Currency

7 students from Liger Learning Centre embarked on what is known to them as an “exploration” – a project to explore the possibilities and potential of a certain field.

Geeks in Cambodia caught up with the students to discuss one particularly challenging exploration. Using a mix of tools like coding, design, App Script, Google Forms and other online tools, the intention was to create an in-house digital currency, called Pedro, for the Liger Community.

A little bit about this community, the students at Liger live on-site in dormitories with live-in Cambodian caregivers. As such, this digital currency would be a way for the students to buy daily necessities like stationary and ingredients for cooking!

To find out more about this project, we sat down with 4 students involved in the project – Malika(M), Sammang(SA), Sovannou(SO) and Seyha(SE), as well as their teacher Alli(A).

The following interview has been edited for clarity, flow and language

How did the idea of the digital currency come about?

A: It was our founder’s idea. He is very interested in BitCoin and crypto-currency and sees digital currency as the future of economics. With that in mind, he wanted the students to be able to experience some of that content.

So this was a way to expose students to this idea and at the same time it allowed us to solve the problem that we had of a lot of paper money lying around campus.

What has the process of developing the currency been like?

M: We started with researching what currency was, before we discussed about the different components that were needed to see this project happen.

Then, we split into three teams – design, database, and communications. The design team looked at the layout and the communications team would run meetings and communicate with our director while learning about HTML and CSS.

SA: As for the database team, we look at the whole transaction log and manage the various funds available to the users of the currency. We use AppScript to manage this database.

How can the digital currency be used in Liger?

SE: Eventually, the Liger school will actually let us create our own small business to earn some profit and to gain exposure as to how to run a business. This will help us get a better idea of what the real world is like.

SA: For now though, using a very practical example, if you are too busy with work and don’t want to cook, you can use the digital currency to pay someone to cook for you! Or, because there are restrictions on going out alone, we can use the currency to transfer funds to our friends who are going out on school excursions to get things for us.

How do you hope to see the currency developing in the future?

A: Two of the really exciting things that are coming up include starting a business with the potential to take a loan from the school.

And, one of our economic teachers is looking into how to use the currency as an independent economy for our school where we can simulate the markets going up and down in terms of the exchange rate for USD to a Pedro.

What do you see as the importance of teaching/learning coding?

SE: In the future, electronic devices will be used by everyone and coding will become a very important part of understanding how these devices work.
SA: And coding as well is something that could help improve what you do everyday. It could make what you do a lot easier and a lot faster. For example, Alli here uses a coded software to send out our science grades!

A: From a teaching perspective, I think coding is a tool that can help you achieve whatever you want and it’s a really fun, new way of thinking about the world. I think in the future, coding will almost become a basic pre-requisite knowledge that you’d need.

What advice do you have to give to fellow students/teachers who are thinking about starting a coding programme?

SA: I think I’d tell them that is a lot of fun, but its stressful at the same time. At the end though, learning how to code will help you solve problems better and you’ll get to learn a new skill!

M: I would tell them that if they have a chance to do it, just do it! Because even when we started this project, we didn’t know what exactly we were going to do. All we knew was that at the end, we could get a real currency. So I’d tell them, to just do it!

A: For teachers, I’d say that coding is becoming more and more essential and that honestly, anyone could learn how to code! Even to coach students in coding, you don’t necessarily need to know how to code yourself because there are so many resources available out there that could help.

Indeed, coding looks set to be a very important part of our future. For more information about Liger Learning Labs, check them out here!