The Big Bang: Parlay Universe 2.0

Hello Parlay Community!

We’re excited to announce the Launch of the Parlay Universe 2.0!

Before we get into the specifics of the new features that we created for our community of over 35,000 teachers around the globe, we’d like to talk a bit about the vision for the Universe more broadly and why this new release is so exciting.

Change from the Bottom-Up

Beyond the obvious transition towards remote learning, there is a fundamental shift happening in education. We are seeing a system-wide transition from a focus on content knowledge to skills mastery, and from teacher-driven learning to student-driven learning. Large culture changes like this take time, and always start from the bottom-up. Teachers who we work with from all over the world are regularly asking us to publish discussion topics that they have created for the broader community to use and discover. Enabling teachers to do this and to manage their own personal portfolios will allow for a plethora of new topics to be added to the Universe. This will give the community more topics to explore and discover – making it easier for other teachers to get started with Parlay.

Saving Teachers Time

The primary goal of the Parlay Universe is to save teachers time. Creating a great discussion topic can take upwards of two hours, and teachers already spend 30% or more of their time on administrative and planning work. This has become worse with remote learning. With over 1000 discussion topics (and counting), the Parlay Universe provides ready-made discussion topics that teachers can, with one-click, publish to their classrooms with full creative liberty to edit the topic in any way they see fit. The new community-created content in the Parlay Universe will increase the number of RoundTables dramatically over time. This will make it easier to discover topics of value for your students and save you time in lesson planning and assessment.

Building a Global Community

To the extent that it is possible, students should be provided a global education. They should have the opportunity to learn about other cultures, communities, and ideas different from their own. They should be able to connect and engage with other students from around the world. In the new Parlay Universe, teachers will be able to follow other educators from around the world, discover and use the content they are creating for their students, and even connect their students with other classrooms around the world (coming soon). 

What’s New?

1. Curating Portfolios

Teachers will now be able to publish RoundTables to the Parlay Universe without approval from the Parlay team. They will also be able to edit and tag their discussion topics for easier discovery in the Parlay Universe. You will be able to establish whether or not the topics you have created are public (discoverable by anyone in the Parlay community), unlisted (only visible with whom you share the URL), or draft (only visible to you). 

Example Universe Portfolio
Editing Topics Within Your Portfolio

2. Tracking Replications

All discussion topics in the Parlay Universe will now have a “replication” counter. As other teachers around the Parlay Community start to recognize and publish your discussion topic to their classrooms, Parlay will count the number of times that topic has been used around the community. This will also influence its ranking in search results, increasing the likelihood that it is used again. Finally, each teacher will have a total number of replications on their Parlay Universe portfolio – an aggregate of replications across all discussion topics that they have created in the Parlay Universe over time.

This prompt has 389 replications.

3. Bookmarking Topics

Have a topic that you want to use later? No problem. Teachers can now bookmark discussion topics which will save them to their personal portfolio under the “bookmarked” tab. You can revisit these at any time, and even discover topics that others have bookmarked when visiting their portfolio.

Bookmarking Topics

4. Improved Search

Search results in the Parlay Universe will now include relevant discussion topics, teachers, and collections. In addition, searches will now take the content of the discussion topic and the tags into consideration (instead of just the RoundTable Title). Discussion topics will also be ranked according to their replication count and whether or not the Parlay team has marked these discussion topics as “Parlay Certified” – a simple approval that means the structure and quality of the topic meets our standards of approval. Note – we periodically check discussion topics for certification.

Searching for Topics

5. Following Teachers

On Parlay you will now be able to follow teachers who teach subjects and publish content that are relevant to your classroom. You can also build a following! Once you start following teachers, Parlay will automatically create a collection of discussion topics that collects all the newest discussion topics from teachers that you follow in the Parlay Universe!

Following Teachers + Follow Collection

That’s a wrap! These new changes are just the beginning of a series of features for the Parlay Universe that will be made available to teachers in the coming year. If you have any questions, feedback or suggestions for further improvements please let us know!

Stay curious.