How do we empower our community to make positive contributions online?

As a new Mamil, I have joined yet another social media platform, called Strava, to keep track of my activities, find routes and give/receive kudos for completing rides, runs and different challenges.

I will spare you, the reader of this post, of my Mamil outfit.

Unsurprisingly, I had to agree to Strava’s Terms of Service to sign up. This is a 14-page legally-binding document that outlines a bunch of no-no’s, like trying to reverse engineer the app. The ‘conduct’ section has rules ‘a’ through ‘t’. The Community Standards, however, read more like a “Philosophy” that is much easier to understand and reflect on.

Section 2 of Strava’s Community Standards could very well be a ‘just be nice’ booklet.

It feels that even social media platforms have understood that, while they still need to produce ‘legal documents’, that what users really need are guiding principles. The IT department at Nanjing International School has produced a document that looks more like the latter. Joe Barder, IT Director, and Tom Johnson, Tech Coach, explain:

We had been operating for many years with a set of Acceptable Use Guidelines that read like the 10 Commandments and was not really in line with our school mission as An Inclusive Learning Community. Additionally, it did not provide our students, teachers, or parents with any idea of what “acceptable use” meant outside of the classroom or by extension, outside of school.

Joe Barder and Tom Johnson developed NIS’s current Digital Citizenship Philosophy.
At NIS, the acceptable use policy is replaced with guiding questions that are part of the Digital Citizenship Philosophy. This provides a less prescriptive and more reflective approach to thinking about how we participate
in the digital world.

To make sure this document doesn’t just live on the school website, it was actually built around some Responsive Classroom strategies. So, the questions we ask (others or ourselves) are similar in the digital world to the ones on the playground during recess:

Is it safe? Is it kind? Is it helpful?

6 thoughts on “How do we empower our community to make positive contributions online?

  1. Hi Luiz,

    I didn’t know I needed the acronym MAMIL in my life until now. I have seen my fair share of bikers in lycra on Jeju-do. I think the lycra biking clothes and the expensive bike both show the seriousness of the biker athlete. Adding the Strava app to your phone completes the trifecta. Looking around my area, there are biking lanes and lots of people in lycra. Are there any MAMILs? Absolutely. As summer approaches, I expect to see more and more of them out and about, enjoying their mid life to the fullest. I can now point them out to friends using the appropriate term.

    Regarding your school’s digital citizenship philosophy, I like how succinct it is. The 3 categories of Kind, Safe, Helpful are similar to my old school’s positive discipline policy on student behavior in class and during break times.

    I think wording that is used throughout a school’s different spheres is helpful in the community remembering it and then knowing it. Especially where as I teach in a community that speaks a different language than what is taught in the school. I may take a look at my school’s key words in the mission and vision and try to summarize the digital citizenship policy to similar wording.

    Thank you for the idea and for sharing your school’s digital citizenship policy.

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