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Bobby McDonald is the Founder & CEO of Parlay, a Toronto Founder Institute edtech company building the future of classroom discussions for both in-class and online learners. Parlay is a discussion-based learning tool and global community of educators, who are reimagining class discussions for the 21st century through an educational approach that fosters critical thinking, communication, and engagement.

Rather than listening to a lecture to passively absorb information, Parlay is built upon the ideas of active learning through meaningful engagement. Summed up by CEO Bobby McDonald, the idea is this, 

More meaningful conversations about the events and ideas shaping our world, as they relate to what we’re learning, need to be had in education.

Watch below to see the full-length interview with Parlay Founder & CEO Bobby McDonald:

Some Key Topics Include:

  • How K-12 education has been disrupted by and is adapting to COVID
  • The Mission of Parlay and the educational philosophies behind active learning
  • Socratic Seminar and Liberal Arts educational models and values
  • Creating a global network database for facilitating topical classroom dialogue
  • Parlay CEO Bobby McDonald's insights into the future of online and hybridized learning

Asked about the merits of active learning and the educational philosophy underling the platform, CEO McDonald explains the ethos of Parlay this way,

It teaches them the skills of the future. It teaches them how to engage meaningfully with one another, so a lot of those social and emotional skills as well—like how to disagree with someone respectfully, that’s a pretty critically important thing. And it moves the needle more than a traditional learning on student outcomes and knowledge acquisition—so it’s just a better way of learning… And if you look at some of the ‘best institutions in the world’… a lot of those expensive prep schools with unlimited resources could do any kind of teaching and learning they wanted to, and there’s a reason why they settled on Harkness Tables and Socratic Seminars as their core instructional method.

Parlay has seen rapid growth in recent months, with 1400% growth in its user base this year, with now over 46,000 teachers on the platform, and revenue projected to increase 600% by end of year. The company is currently raising a seed round of financing - to learn more about how Parlay is changing 21st century classroom discussion for the better, visit their website here.


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Graduates of the Founder Institute are creating some of the world's fastest growing startups, having raised over $950M in funding, and building products people love across over 200 cities worldwide.

See the most recent news from our Grads at FI.co/news, or learn more about their stories at FI.co/journey

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