Teacher’s Choice: Favourite Parlay Features

Parlay features inspired by Teachers.

Parlay wouldn’t be what it was without our teachers! It was built on your feedback. 

Each one of the Parlay features has at one point been a suggestion or request that a teacher has shared with us in order to make the tool better. Student-driven discussions can seem like a foreboding task, but not with features like these!

In interviews we recently did with a number of teachers and students who use Parlay, they highlighted their favourite features and what makes them so useful for online or live discussions.

Keep reading to learn how you can use these features to increase student engagement in student-driven discussions, including activities you can use in your classroom.

Anonymous Identities

The Highlights:

  • Students sometimes feel uncomfortable sharing their ideas, anonymity helps to build confidence in students who otherwise might not share their unique perspectives. This can be helpful while they are developing their ideas, or getting used to participating and sharing their thoughts.
  • It provides a learning element. Every anonymous identity is a historical figure. Hovering over the figure gives some insight into who their figure is and what they did.
  • Teachers see increased participation from a wider range of students.
  • You are still able to see who everyone is, making assessment easy.
    • Challenge! Keep anonymity on when doing your assessment to get a new perspective on how you reflect and mark.

Another perspective:

Jake Miller's favourite Parlay features

Activity suggestions:

  1. Use anonymity to play 2 Truths, 1 Lie. This is a great ice breaker that will get students used to using Parlay, or to kick off the school year and create connections between the students.
  2. Mix it up! Have fun as a teacher by joining the discussion with your own secret identity. You can do this by making a student account and adding this account to the discussion. Once you’re in, you can leave comments or questions for your students. This is a great way to help encourage deeper conversations or prompt more unique ideas. You can guide the conversation without the pressure of being seen as the Teacher who’s telling them what to do. Teachers who have done this said that they had fun revealing their involvement at the end of the discussion and students appreciated the support.

Differentiating your Online RoundTable

The Highlights:

  • Use premade discussion topics from the Parlay Universe. It’s quick and easy to edit them! Include your own sentence stems, links, notes and more to make your discussion work for you and your students.
  • Incorporate different activities such as, low-stakes writing prompts or the Jigsaw Method.
  • After receiving feedback, students can go back and edit their posts helping them to learn as they go.
  • It is possible to add almost anything to your RoundTable discussion. This is a list of a few of the Edtech tools you can integrate into Parlay:
    • Google Slides
    • Flipgrid
    • Quizlet
    • Edpuzzle
    • Jamboard

One teacher in particular, Katie Burns, has created an engaging RoundTable about World War I Technology. It is a great example of what a RoundTable with Google Slides can look like. Amplify your RoundTables by incorporating tools you’re already using. The possibilities are endless!

Another perspective:

Activity suggestion:

  1. Create a Classroom Contract for Discussions and then detail them by including instructions in your RoundTable or by using features like Add a Response. For example, remind them to find someone they disagree with and respond to them politely with a question or sharing why they disagree. Or include 3 peer feedback questions–reminding students to leave comments on 3 of their peer’s responses.

Summary Data

The Highlights:

  • You can share the data with your students, helping to encourage them to participate.
  • Use the word cloud as a reflection to close out the discussion.
  • Reflecting on the data is another opportunity for students who didn’t participate to share their thoughts. Reflection questions help with this (you can include these in your RoundTable)!

Another perspective:

Activity suggestions:

  1. Take your Online RoundTable to the next level using the summary data to explore another angle of the discussion. For instance, if you discussed Why do we study Literature? As a class, review the summary data and have the students choose one interesting insight that they’d like to continue to explore in a Live RoundTable.
  2. Encourage students to review the summary data and come up with 1 way that they could do better in the next discussion.

Round Up

New and useful Parlay features are always being added to the tool to make it the most useful hybrid learning experience for you and your students.

We hope that the Parlay features mentioned by some of our top Teacher users become your favourite too! If you ever have an idea make sure to reach out to us through the chat bubble on our website. We’d be happy to chat.