Happy New Year!

First and foremost, thank you to all of the teachers (and students) that were part of Parlay's first official Fall term. We've learned so much and made great strides working with so many of you to improve the tool. 

Because of your feedback, our development team has been working very hard these past 2 months to make Parlay better than ever. And we're excited to announce a host of new features that will help you create a more engaged, inquisitive and inclusive classroom community. Let's take a look!

1. New Course Layout 

What did we do? 

We’ve re-imagined the home page for your courses. Now, all RoundTables are on one central page, and your student reports are always accessible when you’re inside of a particular course.

Why did we do it?

Way. Less. Clicks. Creating a RoundTable is easier. Navigating between RoundTables is easier. Getting to student reports is easier. 

2. New Layout - Online RoundTable

What did we do? 

We turned the Online RoundTable into a “social media style” feed. You can now scroll through student responses. You can also give personalized feedback to each student  by clicking on the “Summary” button to go straight to their engagement report. 

Why did we do it?

Once again, less clicks! This familiar layout allows teachers and students to easily scroll through the whole conversation because all of the responses are in one place. 

3. Class Summary - Online RoundTable

What did we do?

You now have a really cool summary diagram of all student engagement in the Online RoundTable. It’s called a “Chord Diagram”. You can hover over each student to see a quick summary of their comments throughout the discussion.

Why did we do it?

Because it looks awesome and it’s fun to use. Also because it gives you a one stop shop for meaningful insights on how much each student has commented and with whom they interacted! Quantity + diversity of engagement.

4. "Rounds" - Live RoundTables 

What did we do?

This new feature gives you the ability to group students into multiple “Rounds” for the Live RoundTable. These Rounds can be used for different rounds of a debate, groups in a Fishbowl Discussion or questions in a Harkness Table.

Why did we do it?

Not every class discussion (or other live class activity) includes every student. Teachers were telling us that it’s challenging to identify and switch between only a few students that are participating when they had to choose from the whole class list.

5. "Agree/Disagree" - Live RoundTable 

What did we do? 

We removed student assigned points and replaced them with Agree/Disagree functionality. Now, students can react in real time to what’s being said by pressing the Agree or Disagree button (or nothing at all). Each ‘vote’ will last for 6 seconds, and the teacher will see the graph update in real time.

Why did we do it?

First, feedback from teachers and students suggested strongly that the points were too complicated. The cognitive load was too much while the conversation was ongoing. 

Second, it’s just more fun. 

Third, teachers have a new superpower - real-time understanding of class sentiment. If everyone agrees, you can ask a thought provoking question. If everyone disagrees, you can ask why. If the class is split, you’ve found a contentious issue and it’s time to dig in!

6. "HandRaising" - Live RoundTable

What did we do? 

Students can now “Raise” their digital hand. When they do, their name will pop up to the top of the list so it’s easy to find them them when they start to speak. Also, student names on this list are now organized in alphabetical order. 

Why did we do it?

First, many teachers asked for this feature after seeing how the “Nudge” works.

Second, this feature will provide some structure to the cadence of conversation and make it easier for the teacher to track speakers.

Third, discussions can be intimidating. Some students don’t always feel comfortable just jumping in when they’re first learning to contribute. Hand Raising gives them a private communication channel to let you know that they’d like to contribute. 

And that's a wrap! A huge thank you goes out to all of the teachers, students, and administrators that helped us shape this most recent release. We're so grateful to work with you all to build the best possible tool for creating meaningful class communities.

Give us a shout if you have any comments or questions!

Cheers,

The Parlay Team :)

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