We love getting the chance to sit down and talk with Disqus publishers about how they use our engagement products, what goals they have in mind for the future, and what they’re up to now.
As a non-profit with a unique and compassionate mission, Reboot the Future aims to build a generation of people who refuse to believe that the future is foreclosed. A generation who believes that we can re-orientate our choices, our institutions and our systems in the service of reciprocity, care and hope.
We spoke with Kim Polman, Co-founder and Chair, and their Programme Director, Rebecca Dove. Kim is also co-founder and Chair of the Kilimanjaro Blind Trust, a charity dedicated to improving literacy for blind and visually impaired children in Africa. She plays cello in various ensembles and organizes concerts. Kim also co-founded Reboot the Future foundation and has become a public speaker on important global issues, while Rebecca is responsible for designing and overseeing the foundation’s education, leadership and social action programs. Connect with Kim on LinkedIn here, or Rebecca here!
You can also follow Reboot the Future on LinkedIn here.
Today, they’re going to talk to us about integrating comments to bridge the divide between Reboot’s audience and resources. Check out our interview with Kim and Rebecca below!
SM: Tell us a bit about your role at Reboot the Future and how you got started?
KP: Reboot the Future is a small foundation with a huge ambition, we want a more compassionate and sustainable future. I co-founded the organisation in 2018, following the publication of our landmark book, Imaginal Cells: Visions of Transformation. The principle underpinning our work is a modern day version of the Golden Rule (Treat others and the planet as you would wish to be treated). This one simple principle is truly universal and which we are dedicated to spreading through our education, leadership and social engagement programmes.
SM: Reboot works with both educators to bring global issues into the classroom and also global leaders. Can you tell us more about each of those initiatives?
KP: We are working with young people and influential leaders to build a compassionate and sustainable future. We manage Global Dimension, the UK’s leading platform helping a network of 15,000 teachers to bring global issues into the classroom. Since the Covid-19 pandemic broke, we have been partnering on series of live-stream discussions exploring what #GoodAfterCovid19 looks like, supported by leading voices from across the worlds of education, business, arts, spirituality and the environment. We are also currently piloting our new initiative, Imaginal Conversations, which brings people together to have intimate but difficult conversations about the future.
SM: You just finished a website redesign, what are some new features that you’re excited about introducing?
KP: We are really excited to be relaunching Global Dimension in January as part of UNESCO’s celebrations for UN International Day of Education. The core purpose of the platform will remain the same – helping teachers to bring global issues and compassionate values into the classroom. Our new features will include improved user design, personalised content through user profiles, user recommendations, and ‘In Focus’ topics to help teachers react to current affairs. We are also delighted to be partnering with Disqus to introduce discussion forums onto Global Dimension.
SM: You previously did not run comments on your website. What made you decide to integrate a comments section now?
RD: As part of our research for the new Global Dimension website, we found out that many teachers are passionate about global issues and they look to each other for ideas and support, but are currently building connections in an ad hoc way online. As the UK’s leading platform for Global Learning, we wanted them to be able to do this on Global Dimension. The comments will enable teachers to feel more connected, to share ideas and best practice on what works (and what doesn’t!) in the classroom. This online connectedness is especially important now during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Global Dimension Website for Teachers
SM: You’re new to Disqus, what drew you to our product and how are you planning on using Disqus for your organization’s goals?
RD: Disqus provides all the functionality that someone would expect from a comments thread (like uploading rich media) without us having to build it from scratch and the fact it integrates with our user profiles means it works seamlessly with the rest of the experience on Global Dimension.
SM: What are your biggest initiatives for the beginning of 2021 ?
KP: We are really excited to be working with leading environmentalist and author, Jonathon Porritt, on a social engagement and educational campaign, targeting 14-18 year olds. The campaign aims to bring discussions of how we can reboot the future into classrooms across the UK. We will support this by launching a competition in July 2021 - where young people will be encouraged to submit a creative entry showing how they envisage the future in five years’ time.
SM: What are your favorite ways to engage with your audience and how does Disqus assist with that?
RD: Traditionally Global Dimension has been a one-way experience, where teachers come to find resources on global issues and then leave. We hope our new platform will turn Global Dimension into a live and diverse community. By enabling teachers to interact through Disqus, we will start to identify where the discussion hotspots really are, which can inform where we channel our support and resources. Also, by enabling teachers to connect more easily with each other, we hope they will start to see their collective power in realising a more hopeful future.
SM: Are other social channels like Facebook and Twitter important for your organization? How do you utilize them?
RD: As a small charity, our approach to social media has been largely organic. We have separate channels for Reboot the Future and Global Dimension which we regularly post on, with over 5,000 followers in total. Twitter and Facebook are teachers’ platforms of choice so we use them to keep our teacher community updated with the latest Global Learning resources, our forthcoming events, and campaigns. Recently we experimented with some new approaches including running adverts, polling, and talking head videos. It had a huge impact on our reach so we’re keen to expand this, especially now when it’s difficult to get cut-through in more traditional media.
SM: Email as an engagement channel is a critical component for all publishers. What type of content can subscribers expect to receive when signing up for your newsletter? Do you see email being a large part of your marketing strategy?
RD: Newsletters are a really important part of how we engage with our Global Dimension community. We have 15,000 teachers subscribed to our newsletter, and it’s free and anyone can sign up! We send out a newsletter every month with teaching tips, classroom activities, free resources and campaign ideas for the month ahead, to help teachers bring global issues to life.
SM: What other channels do you use to connect and engage your community?
RD: We have many different approaches to engaging our teacher community which continue to evolve. Our Global Dimension platform is the central hub and regularly updated with new content and resources. Our monthly newsletter and social media activity signposts teachers to the support we make available on Global Dimension. In the past year, we have also started running well-attended online events, including one on ‘How should schools reboot the future?’ and ‘How can teachers support student action on the climate crisis’, which we hope to do more of. We also publish and distribute our Global Learning Wall Planner to 5,000 classrooms annually.
We were thrilled to speak with Kim and Rebecca from Reboot the Future and enjoy learning about different ways they’ve developed a strong community on their site and how they communicate with their audience. For more information on Global Dimension and to sign-up, please go to www.globaldimension.org.uk.
We’re always on the lookout to host future Q&A’s with more Disqus publishers, so if you’re interested in participating please let us know in the comments section! 👇