Rethinking Universal Income for Digital 2020, human & creative education; driving Global Innovation

"NZ down to 26th, behind Estonia, in 2020 Global Innovation rankings - alarm bells sound in most education and knowledge categories - 2nd year running"

“The rates of social change, the movements of the world's people, industrialization, globalization, and militarization continue to escalate at an ever‐accelerating pace.

Educators face an unprecedented task. They must support people to become highly creative, collaborative, problem solvers, and critical thinkers. They must cultivate people's capacities to see the world from profoundly different perspectives. They must nourish people's capacities for connection and caring in a fragmented and divisive world. Nothing more is important” – Mark Field Belenky

Rethinking Universal Income to invoke Digital 2020, human and creative education - towards Global Innovation

At a time when world-wide Innovation was said to be flourishing, the disruptive impact of COVID draws attention to Belenky's statement and the importance of establishing a creative education system – an idea generation and talent development system – to resolve issues underpinning NZ’s continued slide on Global Innovation [GII] rankings (now down to 26th behind Estonia). Indeed, the profound question postulated, in this year’s study, with mass-debt and in NZ’s case, an unclear or even absent vision, “Who Will Finance Innovation?”

Extending the question to “in what way and how will innovation or even the implications of COVID and beyond be financed?” - given Unicef’s poverty, well-being and education report – “an unfair start”, with NZ ranked 35th out of 41 EU and OECD countries, cites poverty and well-being concerns. With a system that funds the denial of creative-education, it is unsurprising as just 64.5% children, at year 11, have basic proficiency in Reading and Math.

Both reports follow a trail of indicators that underpin the real danger of continuing entrenching mass-delivery traditional education (alienates 80% learners) in online-assessment and weak digital learning substitutes – both are key contributing factors in both community degeneration, increased youth unemployment (and disinterest), increased poverty, wellbeing issues and also stifled innovation progress. 


Of all the daily-1pm COVID stand ups, detailing case-numbers and varying degree's of new and emerging restrictions, attention has not been drawn to the absence of a vision - a way out of the crisis, hope and direction for the country and those affected (by the crisis and restrictions). 

Thus - to somewhat fill that void - If New Zealand is to compete in the Global "idea" economy with a compelling Innovation arguement, evidence continues to suggest today's NZ education system, the idea and talent supply line for the country, must deal with COVID by translating the creative potential of Digital 2020 into a talent-development eco-system. This means creating a fully integrated, idea’s based, leading edge industry practice model (in schools), with learners expressing their creative potential using game changing technologies via 1:1 humanistic and transformative learning methodologies – into nationally relevant outcomes. Sound hard?

It's not. It's a proven model. However, a fundamental rethink of education, community, regional innovation and social-funding models is required; particularly on the connection between the implications of persisting with regressive, hunger-games modelled school-community decile funding; which, with issues raised in GII and Unicef’s reports likely to be exasperate the “unfair start” with societal-ly constraining Universal basic incomes propositions. The opportunity, therefore, exists to invert the “logic” into creative and community-centred outcomes.

And, digressing slightly, yes, the latter being a real blow to impoverished communities, while noting the proponents favour funding Private schools with innovation projects.

This, in driving Digital Mastery, an alternative and proven creative paradigm that brings eco-system together and gives validity to regional innovation funds. As well, Schools can reap significant economic benefits addressing and “as-a-service’ national and international digital paradigm - from the heart of a classroom through to transformative communities – this will fill the current vision void assisting NZ’s entry into the idea economy and address major debt implications from COVID and beyond.

Will for Change, but what do we change? - isn't investing in technologies Online assessment going to deliver Digital 2020?

Answer: No.

However, where a growing ‘will’ for change does exist in Education, many schools remain in a state of paralysis. Many have not considered the fundamental change Digital 2020 represents (if done successfully). Many are grappling with the paradoxical calls to implement creative-crushing “online-assessment”, a culturally and creatively unresponsive system of academic sorting (the status quo), while being asked on the other hand to implement creativity-centred Digital 2020 (the transformative polar opposite of Online Assessment). Others, are being misled by unscrupulous vendors who push low-grade technologies or Cloud-only "cost saving solutions", disabling a schools ability to adopt culturally responsive Digital 2020 - placing schools in a real predicament and unable to answer Education Review board scrutiny. The community and national ramifications are as significant and now evident in international talent development data.

Whereas the school success (patronage and community presence being key considerations), investment and tech-choices couple with talent-development outcomes, transcending from schools to NZ, with these two of education are polar-different, successfully implementing Digital 2020 runs the real risk of resolving NZ’s education problem by returning education back to the learner (and communities). This is a major challenge as doing so fundamentally breaks the entire control structure that exists, persists and or manifests within education.

 In simple terms, Online assessment [OA] is easy, but entrenches a highly controlled model that streams, like a funnel, fewer and few into being successful with crude fact-fast learning with Q and A styled “learning. Creativity is suppressed. Churn is celebrated. Mass delivery is the method. The outcome, marginalises 80% of learners. Failed students are ‘withdrawn’. They seldom feature in statistics. The failures inherent in the model are swept under the carpet. It all looks good on the tin. Social funding is called for. The education problem ignored. OA is a damaging substitute that reinforces the obsolete traditional education models and the issues it generates.

Digital 2020 is harder, but is a trans-formative, creative education paradigm and enables 1:1 culturally responsive learning. Adopting and curating digital 2020 in schools requires leadership, collaboration, significant thought, dedication and commitment – the journey being a regenerative experience in and of itself for schools. Digital 2020 is a major opportunity. Digital 2020 is the system which may transform lives, educators, leaders, schools, communities, regions and offers schools ‘as-a-service’ international opportunities regardless of the ‘lock-down’ or border-state in NZ.

 The conundrum is such that success with Digital 2020 may penalize schools as they may loose major chunks of ‘priority-learner funding’ (which incentivises schools to avoid digital 2020). Digital 2020 carries no funding. Yet opting for “online assessment” places a school in a position of continuing to label or stigmatise’s learners for suffering traditional mass delivery education. Schools gain funding running ambulance at the bottom of the cliff programmes, often disguised as personalised learning programmes (at the end of the year), to spoon feed “priority learners” into “grades”; and thereby giving the false sense of security all is well.

However, with, again in 2020, red-alarm indicators, for most Knowledge Diffusion indicators, in the Global Innovation Index, for the 2nd year running (transfer of knowledge and capability from education, through layers of the system, into commodisable innovation exploits), all is not well.

 Where NCEA was deprived of a chance to work, for ideology sake, these split-directional factors are core to the major problem for both education and the Nation. E.g. a nation devoid of any socio-economic and or socio-industrial vision to transition the country into the idea-economy, through and beyond COVID (noting international and local data continues suggests struggles for a vision and plan existed well before going into COVID).

The questions for NZ therefore, are:

1.   how to establish an education paradigm that, quickly, galvenises the sector to create a talent-eco system based on 1:1 tailored, creative, higher order thinking, digital-competency based learning – abandoning post-learning assessment in favour of real-time progression based management of the paradigm (visa vie Digital 2020).

And, how to;

2.   deliver a grades based education model which maintains the funding benefits from the difficulties it creates while implementing a creative education paradigm (in NZ’s case, Digital 2020). 

Triple Loop for Digital 2020

Triple Loop is the model of education, and shift required, that supports creative learning by drawing a fundamental distinction between transactional "grades-based" churn in favour of humanistic development. Triple Loop in New Zealand terms is Digital 2020 for purpose-based learning which involves not post-learning assessment, but the continual or progression based cognitive and competency development of individual humans.

The Real Deal for Authentic Student-Centred Learning

Triple Loop and Digital 2020 rely upon the infusion “systems” thinking with “design” and “critical thinking”. Digital 2020, or creative-education, in leveraging Triple loop involves taking learners on a journey of critical “heuristics”. They empathise with the key issues of problems to develop an awareness of how, why and in what way stakeholders what is relevant to systems of interest. This is a powerful education construct in so far as developing learners to consider the deep and complex issues needed to navigate societies through COVID and beyond – in an idea economy.


Triple Loop, in contrast to direct-teaching, develops sustained, deep engagement and sophisticated thinking in all students. Confidence and creativity are hall marks of learning using systems-design-critical thinking where digital skills therefore are scooped up in the process of thinking and executing, but not as the output of a technology course, learning objective, lesson outcome or the final destination from a scheme of work, unit or activity. As a proven culturally responsive method;

  • Student’s intrinsic & extrinsic motivators are enhanced with the immediacy of real time teaching and learning intelligence [assessment].

  • This optimises learning and work quality, in the moment. Students gain deep expertise and insight so they can advance, think differently and address skill needs, in agile learning.

  • With process automation, cloud productivity, and mobility enablement, all students of all learning styles, backgrounds and traits, receive personalised 1:1, end‐to‐end support.

Triple Loop Frameworks, are designed to embed a strong alignment to industry and or societal connection into all school strategy, programme design, digital strategy, pedagogy and appraisal functions. Students design their project experience, but, with a carefully knitted together “container” of project objectives, they are not left to their own devices or left on their own to guess its operation. Using negotiation principles with the teacher, students evaluate how they see the vision, why and in what ware they need to think about design, process and execution of the “project”.

Students are empowered and their values transform through interdisciplinary “problems” that draw from the programme principles and actual real‐world community, business or situations. Research supports demonstrable evidence using Triple, proving this approach is a creative-construct where 90% of rich learning occurs. The proven outputs are currency, setting students apart, but enable multiple schools to, with “as-a-service” tech, curriculum and community involvement establish eco-systems for the National benefit. 


Yes, people can “be kind”, but societies need more than sentiment – particularly emerging from crisis. Given the factors raised win the GII and “unfair start”, it is important to recognise education is vital for change and based on enabling and empowering people to create or believe in purpose for vision. That is lacking today and in all COVID related messaging. 

The Digital 2020 difference is such that Creativity-geared education demands a race-to-top approach and transcends into results because:

"Triple Loop platforms, including Adobe Creative Cloud and these methods support authentic learner directed “digital mastery” through experiential and design-orientated journeys of discovery, failure and success – combined, they empower community, school and regional transformation with a symbiotic relationship between the synthesis of real concepts, with learning developed, seasoned and proven across complex problems using digital applications to express thinking and competency” – Paul McClean 2020

This means, importantly, the education change forced by COVID compels schools is about or to (re) define a particular response (if not done already) that fundamentally examines the belief systems, mindsets, choices and emotional maturity of schools. It is now more important than ever that ideology is dispensed with. This includes Universal incomes and Online assessment - both control mechanisms and instruments that surpress, not enable.

It is crucial that the moral obligation of education of or to prepare and equip learners with the thinking, creativity-centric behaviour and digital traits, needed to develop ideas for the Post-COVID idea economy - is mastered and tested.

NZ’s economic recovery requires a vision. NZ needs an instrument and the ability to emerge on the global innovation stage where each individual learner's futures is counter point to this and relies upon this. Handouts, subsides and bailouts only offer temporary reprieve, indeed if anything at all are a simply of dismay. They are only "good" until the money runs out which it has. This is the issue with the combined impact of “Universal Incomes” [UI] and “Online Assessment” [OA]. The money has run out [UI] and ideas are not and will not be created to generate the money [OI]. This mix of ideology presents very serious risks to NZ's already deteriorating Innovation outlook.

Succeeding with Digital 2020 is of massive importance and priority to the country.

Thus, schools that will succeed with this contribution will pursue digital mastery as an expression of being open and willing to embrace technology’s potential. They will adapt with iterative and collaborative processes, adopt strong technologies and ditch the gimmicks. They will reshape school data-systems and attract staff willing to take risks and make a real difference; that being to operate COVID education by re-calibrating education back to the learner interest.

Society now relies upon education to transform to produce talent who are creative, who set up for their own digital mastery and can regenerate industries and come up with new ones.

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