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Why We’re Building Parlay 2018-08-30T10:48:01+00:00

Our mission is to inspire a billion powerful minds through meaningful, measurable and inclusive discussions.

Part 1 - The Case for Discussions

Social Polarization

Functioning democracy depends on our collective commitment to the truth. It also depends on our willingness to understand complex issues from many different viewpoints.

Despite our historically unprecedented ability to connect with anyone instantly, individuals and communities with different perspectives are increasingly isolated from one another. Constructive and informed dialogue is deteriorating and society is polarizing as a result. 

Automation –> New Skills

We are in the midst of a technological revolution. Half of the jobs that exist today will be gone or automated in the next decade. 

In response, we must help the next generation develop a new set of skills and dispositions. They must practice and refine these capabilities as they go through school, so they are prepared to adapt and thrive in the fast-paced future. 

Discussions Teach Citizenship

We have all heard the expression “The Pen is Mightier Than The Sword”. Since antiquity, humans have understood the power of dialogue, debate and compromise (instead of violence) as the preferred path towards justice and prosperity.

It is imperative that we encourage the next generation to listen, empathize, reflect and compromise. Put another way, we need to teach them to have meaningful discussions before they head out into the world.

Discussions Teach Skills

There is a growing body of research that shows that class discussions (both online and in-class) improve student achievement, no matter the subject. Regular discussions also prepare them with the skills and dispositions they will need to thrive in a fast-changing world.

At Parlay, we believe that the growing and pervasive challenges created by Automation and Polarization can be addressed by encouraging the next generation to practice meaningful discussions.

Part 2 - The Challenges of Discussion

Here are three reasons why it’s difficult for teachers to facilitate high-quality class discussions on a regular basis:

Discussions are non-inclusive.

A handful of students often dominate discussions. Quiet students don’t always feel comfortable participating. When classroom activities don’t include everyone, it’s hard to justify doing the activity.

Discussions are hard to measure.

Who participated? Was it quality? Discussion is difficult to measure, making it time consuming and unreliable to assess. If it’s “not for marks,” students are less likely to give it their full attention.

Discussions are time consuming.

Teachers already spend over 1/3 of their time on administrative tasks. Preparing provocations, sourcing material and discussion questions and then reporting on discussions is time consuming work.

Parlay helps teachers address these challenges with a powerful combination of content, technology and pedagogy. 

Part 3 - The Parlay Approach

First, let’s define terms. When we say “meaningful, measurable and inclusive” here’s what we mean:

1. Encourage deep thinking and authentic communication.

2. Teach students to give and receive constructive feedback.

3. Make school feel “relevant” and connected to the real world.

1. Provide reliable and actionable insights into student engagement.

2. Help students understand their own participation and how to improve. 

3. Save teachers time & effort when planning and assessing discussions.

1. Every student has the opportunity to participate and contribute.

2. Students feel comfortable and eager exploring diverse ideas.

3. Students demonstrate positivity and compassion when engaging peers.

Parlay achieves these objectives using three unique modules that work together to create a revolutionary “Flipped Discussion” classroom experience.

Parlay Universe

Our growing library of discussion provocations, multi-media content and higher order thinking questions for a range of subject areas, topics and levels.

Online RoundTables

A collaborative online discussion module that encourages students to develop and publish their own ideas and provide constructive  peer feedback.

Live RoundTables

An interactive discussion activity that takes place in a live class setting. A great way to give all students a chance to contribute and measure participation in real time. 

Want to try Parlay? It’s free 😀