Around Town

A Locally Developed App Inspires Connections Between Kids and Parents

DinnerxChange makes after school conversations a breeze

The Bay Magazine ·

Technology and smartphones often get a bad reputation for making us less social; we spend more time on our screens and less time in real-life interaction. With a new app, Barrington residents Jarrid and Sylvia Hall are demonstrating how technology can create a bond between people instead of a border.

The aim of DinnerxChange is to give parents a “window” into their child’s day. Instead of wading through awkward conversations and one-word answers, the app allows parents to engage with their children with the help of hints, called “gabs,” that the child records during school. The process also gets teachers involved, who will approve the gabs and make notes themselves.

The Halls were inspired to start the app after struggling with awkward and short conversations with their kids. After using the program for a few weeks, they noticed a clear difference. “It went from stilted interrogations to really great dialogue,” says Jarrid. “When you reach that connection, it’s very energizing.”

After the Halls began using the program, other teachers and parents were interested in trying it out too, and the app grew to include new users. Parents who tried the app saw that their children were much more excited about their days, and one fourth grade teacher noted that the app not only leads to more engagement in the classroom, but helps them meet Common Core standards.

Though DinnerxChange is still in its experimental phase, the Halls see a lot more room for growth. The app will be involved in research about parent/teacher communication, and other professionals are interested in exploring the program’s benefits for children with learning or memory challenges. If you’re interested to see what kind of stories the app would inspire at your dinner table, you can join their expanded pilot program in the fall.


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